RT Blog

Location: Indiana, United States

I became a Professor Emeritus after serving 29 years as a recreational therapy faculty member at Indiana University. I'm a long-time Hoosier, having grown up in Hanover, Indiana. My RT practitioner work was in psych/mental health. After completing my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, my first faculty position was at the University of North Texas. RT has been a wonderful profession for me as I have had the opportunity to serve as an author and national leader.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

ATRA RT Student Program Announced

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) just announced the Peg Connolly Scholarship program for 2007. RT students may apply with the support of RT faculty at their college or university. The application deadline is March 30, 2007.

The Connolly Scholars program provides outstanding students the opportuity to attend ATRA's Annual Conference. It is a "working scholarship" in that the Scholars assist ATRA staff in running the conference. Detailed information may be found at http://www.atra-tr.org/conference/pegannouncement.htm

Monday, January 29, 2007

SIU has Graduate Assistants for 2007-08

Professor Marjorie Malkin has announced that Southern Illinois University (SIU) will have graduate assistantships available for RT students to work on their master's degrees. This assistantship opportunity is a very good one. SIU has been well known for its graduate program for a number of years and they happen to have an outstanding RT faculty.

The RT program at SIU is in the Department of Health and Recreation. Professor Malkin may be reached at mmalkin@siu.edu

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Active Mind Delays Alzheimer's

There is new animal research that has found that learning slows down the build-up of protein plaques and tangles in the brain that are related to Alzheimer's Disease (AD). While the study was done with mice, it does suggest that having an active mind may delay or even prevent AD.

This is another piece of research that supports the need for RTs to provide opportunities for clients in long-term care to maintain active minds and to keep learning. It seems clear that older people can learn and that such learning can be good for them in many ways, including delaying or preventing AD.

The citation for the research is: Lauren M. Billings, Kim N. Green, James L. McGaugh, and Frank M. LaFerlaLearning Decreases Aß*56 and Tau Pathology and Ameliorates Behavioral Decline in 3xTg-AD Mice J. Neurosci. 2007 27: 751-761; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4800-06.2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007

What is Going on in Curriculum Reform?

Back in December there was a great deal of interest and activity to get things moving in terms of RT curriculum reform. There were three posts on the RT Blog related to curriculum reform -- on December 12, 16, and 20. I've lost track of what, if anything, is going on in this area. Does anyone know what is happening with RT curriculum reform?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Students Using RT Blog

I just received an email message from Professor Frank Brasile. For those who do not know Frank Brasile, he is an ATRA Past-President and long-term leader in RT. In his message, he mentioned that students in his Trends & Issues course at the University of Nebraska Omaha regularly read the RT Blog.

I'm really pleased to know that students from Nebraska are reading the RT Blog. I wonder how many other students check in on the RT Blog from time-to-time? If you are a student and you do regularly check out the RT Blog, your comment would be welcomed!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

National Walk for Epilepsy in DC March 31

The Epilepsy Foundation has announced the "National Walk for Epilepsy" will be held Saturday, March 31, 2007, on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and Online throughout the nation. Greg Grunberg, of NBC's "Heroes," is the chair for the National Walk for Epilepsy.

It would be great if DC area RTs participated in this event. Perhaps CHARTA can become involved. Informatoin about the National Walk for Epilepsy may be found at www.walkforepilepsy.org

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Positive Feedback & Recreational Therapists

I recently read an article by Shelly L. Grable and Gian C. Gonzaga titled "Will You Be There for Me When Things Go Right? Supportive Responses to Positive Event Disclosures." It appeared the November, 2006, issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(5), 904 - 917.

The research was done on dating couples and studied how they reacted to discussions of positive and negative events with their partner. Responses to positive event discussions were related to the level of perceived social support from the partner. Thus, supportive responses to sharing positive news helped build relationships. It was reasoned that "sharing positive events provides prime opportunities to obtain understanding, validation, and caring" (p. 4). It is hypothesized that such exchanges play a large role in developing and maintaining healthy relationships.

I couldn't help but wonder if one of the reasons clients tend to like recreational therapists a great deal is because of the positive emotional responses provided when clients share positive news about themselves. RTs tend to be very positive in their responses so it would make sense that shared positive emotions between RTs and their clients build strong ties. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Baskets Sought from University RT Clubs

Nancy McFarlane, CTRS, recently put out a call for student TR/RT Clubs to provide a gift basket of items to be auctioned off during ATRA's Mid-Year Professional Issues Forum to be held in Washington, DC, March 11 - 14, 2007. Money raised from the auctioning of the baskets goes toward RT research funded by the American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation. Student leaders should check with faculty or contact McFarlane for details. She may be reached at Nancy.McFarlane@va.gov

Monday, January 15, 2007

Positive Psychology Article

I recently ran across an article on positive psychology that others with interest in the topic may wish to read. It is "What (and Why) Is Positive Psychology?" The authors are Shelly L. Gable and Jonathan Haidt. The article appeared in the Review of General Psychology, Vol 9 (2), June, 2005, pp. 103 - 110.

The more I learn about positive psychology, the more I believe that recreational therapists are applied positive psychologists.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Benefits of Daily Physical Activity

A list of benefits of physical activity appear on the American Heart Association web site, along with other information for getting started exercising and for eating well. I've listed the benefits below. The address of the American Heart Association web site is www.americanheart.org/start

The Benefits of Daily Physical Activity

Reduces the risk of heart disease by improving blood circulation throughout the body
Keeps weight under control
Improves blood cholesterol levels
Prevents and manages high blood pressure
Prevents bone loss
Boosts energy level
Helps manage stress
Releases tension
Improves the ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well
Improves self-image
Counters anxiety and depression and increases enthusiasm and optimism
Increases muscle strength, increasing the ability to do other physical activities
Provides a way to share an activity with family and friends
Establishes good heart-healthy habits in children and counters the conditions (obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, poor lifestyle habits, etc.) that lead to heart attack and stroke later in life
In older people, helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging and maintains quality of life and independence longe

Thursday, January 11, 2007

MS Due February 14th for ATRA Annual

Norma J. Stumbo, current editor of ATRA's Annual in Therapeutic Recreation, recently put out a reminder that manuscripts should be submitted in APA style format by February 14, 2007. Stumbo's email address is nstumbo@uiuc.edu

Student Summer Opportunity in Romania

Professor Dan Fergeruson is still in the process of putting together a group of students to go to Romania this summer to work with orphan children with disabilities and other children and elderly folks providing recreation programs. The program is sponsored by Pittsburg State University and has been going for several years. The program runs from June 14 to August 9 (57 days) and students receive credit as well as have the opportunity to visit beautiful places of natural, historical and cultural significance such as Dracula’s Castle, Bicaz Gorge and the 500 year old painted monasteries of Bucovina. If interested, students may contact Professor Ferguson at ferguson@pittstate.edu, or (620) 235-4911.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Web MD Article on Benefits of Dance

On November 26, 2007, there was an RT Blog post "Waltzing to Health Research." This post discussed research related to the benefits of dancing for those with heart problems. There was a follow-up article published today on Web MD. The January 9, 2007, article is "Waltz Your Way to Better Health." Sometimes you can keep ahead of other media by reading the RT Blog.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Mental Exercise Research & Recreational Therapy

Research has suggested that middle -aged and older people (ages 65 - 90) can benefit mentally from mental exercise, much like physical workouts lead to physical fitness. Interventions targeted memory, reasoning, and speed of processing.

While many recreational therapists may have seen the positive effects of mental activity on their clients, it is good to have empirical research evidence to backup claims. Perhaps RTs may wish to use the research evidence to support their interventions with clients.

The research appeared in the December 20, 2006, issue of JAMA. The lead author was Sherry L. Willis of Penn State. See http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/296/23/2805

For a Washington Post article on the research, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/19/AR2006121901431_pf.html