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.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

RTI Conference in Evansville in November

The August, 2008, RTI Newsletter contained an announcment that the Recreation Therapists of Indiana Annual Conference will be held November 13 and 14 in Evansville at the Executive Inn.

The RTI President Laurie Lee is coordinating the RTI Conference. She has announced that reservations at the Executive Inn need to be made by October 13th in order to receive the discounted rate of $69.00 (plus tax) for a king or double. The toll free number for the Executive Inn is (877) 424-0888.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Party Schools" & "Stone-Cold Sober Schools"

The Princeton Review just came out with its annual ranking of colleges and universities. Two of the rankings are for "Party Schools"and "Stone-Cold Sober Schools." I've gone over these lists noting those with well recognized RT programs. Here is what I came up with:

'Party Schools" with well recognized RT curricula:
The highest ranking school with a well recognized RT program was Penn State University at number 3.

Others with well recognized RT curricula that made the list of party schools included: The University of New Hampshire (number 11); the University of Iowa (number 12); Indiana University (number 14); and the University of Tennessee (number 18).

"Stone-Cold Sober Schools" with well recognized RT curricula were BYU (at number 1) and Calvin College (number 10).

Faculty who believe their school deserved a higher ranking or those from schools that were left off either of the lists are encouraged to comment on this post!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Inclusion Supervisor Position Open in Carmel

The following position opening was distributed via the RTI listserve by Tess Pinter, CTRS, Recreation Manager, Carmel Clay Board of Parks and Recreation in Carmel, Indiana. For specific duties, I would recommend contacting Tess. Tess' contact information is:
P 317.573.5245
F 317.573.5254



Purpose of Position:

The purpose of this position is to facilitate the participation of people with disabilities or special needs into existing and new recreation programs serving in the Carmel/Clay community. This position requires the application of specialized therapeutic training to formulate and administer a broad recreation delivery of services for individuals with special needs without exclusion.

Qualifications Required to Perform Essential Job Functions:

 Bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation or a related field (Special Education, Psychology, Social Work, Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, or Recreation Administration).
 NCTRC (National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification) or comparable certification within six (6) months of employment.
 Minimum of one (1) year inclusion experience in a community setting preferred.
 Or any equivalent combination of education, training and experience that provides the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities for this position.

To be considered for the position, please send and cover letter and resume or an application to:

Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation
Lynn Russell, HR Administrator
1411 E. 116th Street
Carmel, IN 46032
E-mail: LRussell@carmelclayparks.com
Fax: 317-571-4136

Cuil Not So Cool

I checked out the new search engine Cuil (pronounced "cool") today. My first impression is that it really is not so cool. I found the information on recreation therapy to be incomplete. I think I'll stick to Google, at least for now.

CDARTA Provides Helpful Resource Page

The Cincinnati/Dayton Area Recreation Therapy Association (CDARTA) offers a helpful resource page on its website. "Recreation Therapy Links" lists a number of RT related sites such as those for ATRA, NCTRC, Therapeutic Recreation Directory, and even the RT Blog! Links to ATRA chapters are also provided.

The address for the CDARTA website is http://www.cdarta.com/links.htm

Monday, July 28, 2008

ATRA Ballot Out

The Official Ballot for ATRA's 2008-09 election is out. Members have until 8/8/08 to vote.

Missy Armstrong, MS, CTRS, is running unopposed for president-elect. Heather Sedletzeck, CTRS, is running unopposed for secretary.

Stephanie Courtney, MS, CTRS/ACC, Mary Ann Aquadro, Ph.D., CTRS, Tim Passmore, Ed.D, CTRS, and Dan Ferguson, Ph.D., CTRS, are candidates for member-at-large positions on the Board of Directors.

Madison RT Workshop a Success

I just received my copy of the August, 2008, RTI Newsletter. It contained a brief article indicating that the Madison RT Workshop, held in June, was a success. The Workshop attracted 57 participants from three states.

Professor Bryan McCormick, from Indiana University, served as the Workshop Coordinator for the second year. The Madison RT Workshop is provided by Madison State Hospital. It is held annually in the summer on the hospital's campus located in Madison, Indiana.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Disability Information Website

The link below is for a quarterly federal E-newsletter that contains many items related to education, physical activity, health, grants, funding webinars,and other disability issues. It is produced by Health and Human Services. You can subscribe at the site.


The current issue contains items such as:
Celebrating the ADA's 18th Anniversary
Federal Agency in Focus: National Council on Disability (NCD)
Stop Stimga
Including Individuals with Disabilities in National Service Programs
Special Olympics
Grants and Funding

Check it out -- and perhaps subscribe to it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mental Health Bill Making Progress

A news release from Mental Health America, dated July 16, 2008:

Mental Health America Applauds Senate, House Override of Medicare Bill Veto
Urges Quick Action on Mental Health Parity Bill

Alexandria, VA. (July 16, 2008)—Mental Health America today applauded Congress’ override Tuesday of President Bush’s veto of a Medicare bill that would significantly reduce a major barrier to outpatient mental health services for beneficiaries and urged quick action on a mental health parity bill.

“We applaud the members of Congress who voted to override the veto,” said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. “This bill is major step forward in eliminating discriminatory barriers that limit access to mental health care, with often tragic results. We now urge them to complete work on mental health parity legislation, which would make insurance discrimination against people with mental health conditions unlawful.”

House and Senate negotiators reached agreement on a policy framework for the mental health bill, but have yet to come up with a plan to fund the measure.

The Medicare bill would phase out the current 50 percent coinsurance rate for mental health services to the 20 percent rate beneficiaries now pay for other medical outpatient services. The disparity, which has existed since the inception of Medicare in 1965, is a major barrier to needed services.

West Virginia Includes CTRSs

I have received several messages indicating that the state of West Virginia will accept CTRS credentials as meeting the requirements for activity director positions in nursing homes and long-term care facilities in that state. This is good news. I can only assume that the work of ATRA and those who sent in letters paid off to make sure that CTRSs were included.

Openings in Oregon

I received the following message on position openings from Michael S. Ratliff, CTRS. Michael is the Director of Therapeutic Recreation at Oregon State Hospital. Her contact information appears below.

I just wanted to let everyone know that we have several Rehab Therapists spots open. Below is a link to the State of Oregon’s job posting. We are not having very many CTRS apply, which I would like to see improved. Please, pass on to anyone who might be interested.




Michael S. Ratliff, CTRS
Director of Therapeutic Recreation
Oregon State Hospital
2600 Center Street NE
Salem, OR 97301-2682

Office: (503) 945-2967
Nextel: (503) 932-8911

Position Opening in Illinois

The following announcment came on the Recreation Therapists of Indiana listserve. I don't have any first hand information on the opening -- just what appeared on the RTI listserve. Here it is:

A full time Recreation Therapist is needed at secure residential treatment facility in central Illinois. Details of the position can be found online at http://libertyhealthcare.com/upload/44.

For immediate consideration, email your resume to Ian Castronuovo at Liberty Healthcare at ianc@libertyhealthcare.com or call Ian directly at (800) 331-7122 etx 161.

Registration Info on TREC II

Announcment from: Tim Passmore, Ed.D., CTRS, Associate Professor
School of Applied Health & Educational Psychology
Oklahoma State University

TREC II is now available for registration at http://www.okstate.edu/education/trec/

June 18th thru 21st, 2009, educators and practitioners interested in therapeutic recreation curricula will join together on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The conference, which will occur over two full days on June 19th & 20th, is sponsored by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) and the National Therapeutic Recreation Society (NTRS), a branch of the National Recreation and Park Association. The conference will be hosted by the Therapeutic Recreation Association of Oklahoma (TRAO) and Oklahoma State University. The focus of this conference is to build upon the TREC 2005 conference document and to address new issues which have come to the forefront of the profession since that time. The potential for the publication of a refereed manuscript also exists for conference presenters and discussions are currently taking place with the editors of the TRJ to ensure the possibility of a special issue devoted to Higher Education. The Conference Program Committee, Chaired by Dr. Tim Passmore at Oklahoma State University will be sending out a call for papers within the next month.

For additional information or specific questions please contact Dr. Tim Passmore at tim.passmore@okstate.edu or Dr. Jerry Jordan at jerry.jordan@okstate.edu for additional information.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

FAX at Letter for West Virginia

From Charlie Dixon...

Hi Everyone…

Thanks for your support of the issue going on here in West Virginia. As many of you know the WV Dept of Public Health is proposing to change it’s Nursing Home Licensure Rule to exclude TRs from being a person qualified to be an activity director. The deadline to send in a letter of opposition is July 18… that this FRIDAY.

I just found out that we can fax in a letter!!! Call 304-558-2515 today and send them your letter of opposition to this proposed rule.

Even if you are not from WV this rule can have a far reaching effect and set a terrible precedence and can eventually bring about rule changes to your state. Lets stop it here in West Virginia.

Your letter can be short and sweet… just say that you are opposed to the removal of recreation therapist from section 7.8 of the Nursing Home Licensure Rule.

If you want to say more I have attached a copy of a letter drafted by Thomas Skalko. You can use this letter or personalize the letter.

Be sure to do this TODAY… call 304-558-2515.


Charlie Dixon
WVTRA Past President

Monday, July 14, 2008

ATRA Conference Sept 29 - Oct 2, 2008

I just received a reminder from ATRA tht the 2008 ATRA Annual Conference will be held in Reno, Nevada, September 29 - October 2, 2008. The conference hotel will be the Peppemill Resort Casino.

For information go to www.atra-online.com

Sunday, July 13, 2008

During RT Week Help Colleagues in WV

RT/TR Week is July 13 - 20, 2008. Happy RT Week!!

It seems to me that RT Week is a good time to think of colleagues. Our colleagues in West Virginia need our support now. You can perhaps make a difference for our colleagues and residents of long-term care facilities in West Virginia by taking a few minutes to write a letter in support of West Virginia accepting the CTRS credential for Activity Directors.

See yesterday's post for information and ideas for your letter. I'm sending my letter off in the mail today. I hope you will consider sending your letter soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

West Virginia RTs Need Your Help


Hi Everyone:

West Virginia recreation therapists need your help.

Bureau for Public Health Office of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification in West Virginia is proposing a new Nursing Home Licensure Rule which removes therapeutic recreation specialist as a qualified individual to work as an activity director in nursing homes.

A copy of the proposed rule and a copy of the current rule are available on the home page at http://www.wvtra.org.

This rule, although impacting only WV TRs, may be the beginning of changes that might happen in your state.

Although you may not be from WV, the rules committee is seeking comments from any interested persons.

The deadline for receipt of comments is July 18, 2008. Please send your response to:

Bureau for Public Health
Office of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification
1 Davis Square, Suite 101
Charleston, WV 25301-1799
ATTN: Deanna Kramer, RN, MS, NHA
Aimee Silva Jackson, Paralegal – Legal Division

This rule will have a significant impact on recreation therapists wanting work in nursing homes in the state of West Virginia. RT’s won’t be able to get work as an activity director based on their RT education. RT’s will have to take the 90 hour course in order to be eligible to work.

Charlie Dixon
WVTRA Past President

The following response was written by Thomas K. Skalko. You may want to use all or part of his response in your personal letter….

7.8. Activities
7.8.a. The administrator shall enjoy a full-time qualified professional to direct the activities program who:
7.8.a.1. Is certified by the national certification council for activity professionals (NCCAP), through any of the NCCAP’s approved certification tracks, as an activity director certified (ADC); or …

RESPONSE: Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialists are required to possess a minimum of a baccalaureate degree in recreational therapy or therapeutic recreation, complete a minimum of a 12 week internship (480 hours of direct supervision) in the practice of recreational therapy, and must pass a national examination developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It is also important to note that 76 % of CTRS work with adults and older adults in acute and long-term settings.

Currently, a person can become an activity director certified (ADC) with 12 semester credits in college as noted below:
Track 4
1. 90-Hour Modular Education Program for Activity Professionals Part 1 (C.C.1-11) and the 90-Hour Practicum (Basic Education Course). * 2. 90-Hour Modular Education Program for Activity Professionals Part 2 (C.C.12-20) and 90-Hour Practicum (Advanced Management Course). * 3. 12 semester college credits (cannot include #1 and #2 (must include an English PLUS 1 other required coursework area)). ...AND...
4. 6,000 hours activity experience within the past 5 years. ...AND...
30 clock hours (Body of Knowledge) within past 5 years.
The proposed language, as written, would eliminate a CTRS with a baccalaureate degree and all of the above.

Also note that in October 2009 the MDS 3.0 will be introduced nationally. Recreational therapy is listed in Section O. and will be a viable option for nursing home residents with special needs. For decades, recreational therapists have worked as Activity Directors and are also be available for Medicare eligible residents. Removing them from your state public health language will limit access to such services by the skilled nursing home residents. The CTRS is professionally trained to reduce behaviors in dementia, treat depression, and to help integrate residents back into the community. The elimination of the therapeutic recreation specialist/recreational therapist would effectively deny skilled nursing home residents of these valuable services.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Ideas on TREC II

I recently passed on my thoughts to Tim Passmore on what should happen at TREC II. I told him that we do not need more scholarly papers. What we need is a working conference to produce curriculum standards for our profession.

I told Tim, as someone commented on the RT Blog, we do not need “talk, talk, talk.” We need action that will produce long overdue curriculum reform.

Further, I suggested that there are two documents that can be used as the basis for curriculum decisions – the ATRA revised competency publication that Ray West, Terry Kinney, and Jeff Witman edited (I haven’t seen the final product but it should be ready to be published anytime.) and the NCTRC competency study publication.

I hope that others will send on their ideas on TREC II to Tim. Also, please do comment on this post. It is only by having our voices heard that change will occur.

Mental Health Medicare Bill Passes Senate

Release from Mental Health America:

Major Step Toward Meeting Mental Health Needs of Beneficiaries

Alexandria, VA. (July 09, 2008)—Mental Health America applauds approval by the U.S. Senate today of a Medicare bill that would eliminate a major barrier to outpatient mental health services for beneficiaries.

The legislation would phase out the current 50 percent coinsurance rate for those services to the 20 percent rate beneficiaries now pay for other medical outpatient services. The disparity, which has existed since the inception of Medicare in 1965, is a major barrier to needed services.

“We applaud senators who supported this action,” said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. “This is major step forward in meeting the mental health needs of beneficiaries and eliminating discriminatory barriers that limit access to care, with often tragic results.”

Medicare beneficiaries have an elevated need for mental health care. Twenty-six percent of Medicare beneficiaries have mental disorders, compared to 21 percent of the general population.

It is estimated that only half of older adults who indicate they have mental health problems receive treatment from any healthcare provider, according to a 2001 report of the Administration on Aging. However, they use a low level of outpatient services to treat mental health conditions, while use of more expensive inpatient mental health services is high.

Total health care costs are also higher for people with depression than for other older adults.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Jordan Comments on TREC II

In case you missed his comment regarding TREC II, Dr. Jerry Jordan said...

TREC II will be what TR educators make it. ATRA, NTRS and the host organizations OSU and TRAO are providing the opportunity for TR educators to come together to network and discuss issues confronting the profession. As has been mentioned in earlier blogs on this site, Therapeutic Recreation is in need of curricular reform. Without NCTRC we would have no standardization of TR curricula. TR educators need to step forward, embrace the current challenges confronting TR education and dare to make a difference. I believe that ATRA and NTRS stand ready to support the effort. I hope to see all of you in Oklahoma in 2009.

Make your ideas known as the program committee, chaired by Dr. Tim Passmore at Oklahoma State. Begin the process of building the TREC II conference program.

Tim Passmore may be contacted at tim.passmore@okstate.edu

Physical Activity for Those with Intellectual Disabilities

Another article (see last post) in the July/August issue (Vol. 39, No.7, pp. 62, 63) of the Monitor on Psychology is related to RT. It is "Changing Expectations: Getting People with Intellectual Disabilities on the Playing Field Improves Their Health -- and Changes how others Perceive Their Abilities."

The article mentions research that shows people with intellectual disabilites are about 20% more likely to be overweight and 30% more likely to be obese than people in general. Other research is discussed that displays advantages of sports participation for those with intellectual disabilities, including gaining self-respect and respect from others. I'd be interested in hearing from any RTs who have seen the benefits of sports and physical activities for their clients who have intellectual disabilities.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Mental Health & Aging in America

From an article, "Crisis in Care," by Diane L. Elmore that appeared in the July/August issue (Vol. 39, No.7, p. 23) of the Monitor on Psychology:

"About 20 percent of older Americans have a mental health problem, the most common being anxiety distorders, cognitive impairment and depression. These disorders can be linked to poor health, higher health-care utilization and cost, increased caregiver stress, and premature death from suicide or other causes. In fact, suicide rates for men 65 and older are higher than any other age group and are more than twice the national rate for all other age groups."

RT can do much to help older Americans deal with problems in mental health -- especially by treating anxiety and depression. RT can also be helpful to caregivers by providing stress management programs.

Monday, July 07, 2008

TREC II -- What Will It Do?

Mike Sutherland commented on the recent TREC II post that he wondered what would be on the agenda. I must admit that I had the same reaction to the post announcing the TREC II conference.

It would be my hope that the conference will produce more than some interesting papers on RT curriculum. The profession desperately needs to have greatly improved curriculum standards. It would be sad if the conference doesn't produce some solid, practical recommendations that will lead to some real strides in improvement in the professional preparation of RTs.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Curriculum Conference Announced

Tim Passmore sent this announcement along recently:

Therapeutic Recreation Educators’ Conference II
TREC II, June 18th thru 21st, 2009

Educators and practitioners are encouraged to save the dates in 2009 of June 18th thru 21st for the TREC II to be held on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The conference, which will occur over two full days on June 19th & 20th, is sponsored by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) and the National Therapeutic Recreation Society (NTRS) and hosted by the Therapeutic Recreation Association of Oklahoma (TRAO) and Oklahoma State University. The focus of this conference is to build upon the TREC 2005 conference document, to address new issues which have come to the forefront of the profession since TREC 2005, and to produce a written document for purposes of documenting the outcomes of the conference. The potential for the publication of a refereed manuscript also exists for conference presenters and attendees, discussions are currently taking place with the editors of the TRJ to ensure the possibility of a special issue devoted to Higher Education.

Please, look for future announcements regarding TREC II to be posted on the ATRA Educators listserv, the ATRA Website, the ATRA Newsletter, the NTRS Website, SPRE listserv, at the ATRA Annual Conference, and the NRPA National Congress. The hosts of TREC II the Therapeutic Recreation Association of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University are in the process of developing a website dedicated to TREC II for promotion, registration, and dissemination of both pre-conference and post conference information.

Please, contact Dr. Tim Passmore at tim.passmore@okstate.edu or Dr. Jerry Jordan at jerry.jordan@okstate.edu for additional information.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

RT/TR Week July 13 - 20, 2008

Charlie Dixon, in his Therapeutic Recreation Directory Newsletter, has reminded us that RT/TR Week is July 13 to 20.

For TR promotional products Charlie suggests going to www.recreationtherapystore.com.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Coping with Stress

From Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis
Mental Health Minute
: July 2008
Managing Life's Challenges

About Stress

Everyone feels stress. In small doses, stress may be good for you when it gives you a burst of energy. But too much stress or stress that lasts for a long time can take its toll on your body. Stress can make you feel run down, sad, nervous, angry or irritable. It can cause headaches, muscle tension, upset stomach, nausea, dizziness or feelings of despair, and may cause you to eat more or eat less than normal. In the long-term, stress can raise your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and reproductive problems and weaken your body’s ability to fight disease. It can also raise your risk of depression, which may in turn contribute to heart disease and diabetes. In addition, stress can make it harder for ! you to recover from a heart attack or keep your diabetes in check. So, managing your stress is very important. Take a look at the ideas below for healthy suggestions on reducing your stress.

Healthy Ideas to Manage Life’s Challenges

When we’re trying to manage life’s stressors, how we deal with these challenges can positively or negatively impact our mental health and our overall health and wellbeing. Finding healthy ways to manage life’s challenges can lower the risk of mental health and other health problems and help you feel better overall. Here are some ideas to think about.

· Relax your mind.Each person has his or her own ways to relax. You can relax by listening to soothing music, reading a book or doing a quiet activity. Also think about deep breathing, yoga, meditation or massage therapy.

· Exercise.Exercising relieves your tense muscles, improves your mood and sleep, and increases your energy and strength. In fact, researchers say that exercise eases symptoms of anxiety and depression. You may not even need to exercise intensely to get the benefits of activity. Try taking a brisk walk or use a stationary bike. See what it takes for you to feel better.

· Connect with others.You don’t have to cope with stress or other issues on your own. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, support group or counselor can make you feel better. Spending time with positive, loving people you care about and trust can ease stress and improve your mood.

· Get enough rest.Getting enough sleep helps you recover from the stresses of the day. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Visit the Sleep Foundation at www.sleepfoundation.org for tips on getting a better night’s sleep.

· Help others.Helping others builds social networks, improves self-esteem and can give you a sense of purpose and achievement.

· Know your limits.Let others know them, too. If you’re overwhelmed at home or work, or with friends, learn how to say “no.” It may feel uncomfortable at first, so practice saying “no” with the people you trust most.

· Keep a journal.Writing down your thoughts can be a great way to work through issues. Some researchers have reported that writing about painful events can reduce stress and improve health. You can also track your sleep to help you identify any triggers that make you feel more anxious.

· Watch your negative self-talk.! Try not to put yourself down. For example, if you don’t make it to the gym this week, don’t call yourself lazy. Instead think about the specific factor that may have kept you from going to the gym. “I wasn’t able to work out because I had to work late hours this week; but next week, I’ll make it a priority to go.” The problem is temporary and can be overcome.

· Get involved in spiritual activities.Studies have shown that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, such as g! reater coping skills, less anxiety and a lower risk of depression. Spirituality may provide a sense of hope, meaning and purpose in life, a way to understand suffering and illness, and a connection with others. Religious and spiritual practices, such as prayer and meditation, can evoke positive emotions that can lead to better health.

· Write down three good things that happen to you each day for a week.Also write down why each good thing happened. Thinking about the good things in your life and expressing gratitude may actually help you feel happier.

Remember, it’s OK to ask for help. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope, consider contacting a mental health professional.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Check This Out

If you haven't checked out "The Recreational Therapy Profession" on Health Professions Network website, you may wish to do so. Go to http://www.healthpronet.org/ahp_month/07_04.html