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.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Surprised by Lack of Comment

I know a large number of individuals read the RT Blog because they tell me. I just learned over Thanksgiving that even my nephew (who is not associated with RT) occasionally reads the RT Blog!

Therefore, I am surprised that someone has not commented on the new NCTRC standards that were recently announced (see posts on November 21st). As I stated earlier, I believe that the new requirements are not giant leaps forward but are at least moving us in the right direction. What do you think? Any comment?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

World AIDS Day December 1st

I recently found this information on World AIDS Day:

According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.2 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. During 2007 some 2.5 million people became newly infected with the virus. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.
Around 95% of people with HIV/AIDS live in developing nations. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.

Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Turkey Day to all from the RT Blog!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tai Chi Improves Sleep Study Finds

A recent study by Professor Michael Irwin of UCLA found that taking Tai Chi classes for 25 weeks produced significant improvements in the quality of the sleep of a group of older adults.

The citation for the study is: Irwin, M.R. (2008). Improving sleep quality in older adults with moderate sleep complaints: A randomized controlled trail of Tai Chi Chih. Sleep, 31(7), 1001.

Tai Chi has the potential to bring about a number of health related outcomes. For further information on the use of Tai Chi in RT see the section on Tai Chi in the facilitation techniques chapter in the book Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques by David R. Austin (Sagamore Publishing, Inc.).

Good for NCTRC!

The new requirements announced today by NCTRC are a good step forward. While a small step, it is in the right direction of increasing the rigor of our requirements.

I personally found it interesting that one of the requirements is increasing the minumum number of RT courses to five. Establishing a minimum of five RT courses is something I proposed in a talk I made at the 2000 ATRA Annual Conference held in Cincinnati, Ohio. I wonder if Bob Riley (NCTRC Executive Director) was there that day?!

While the requirement of five RT courses is still inadequate, every little bit of improvement in our standards is a good thing.

New NCTRC Certification Standards

NCTRC today put out this announcment:

NCTRC Announces New Certification Standards Changes

At a recent meeting conducted in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the NCTRC Board of Directors voted to approve the following changes pertaining to the NCTRC Certification Standards:

That the number of Therapeutic Recreation courses required for NCTRC professional eligibility be increased to five courses with each course being a minimum of three credit hours. The implementation date would be January 1, 2013.

That content specific Therapeutic Recreation coursework be required as part of the NCTRC professional eligibility requirements. The specific course content will include the following areas: a/ Assessment; b/ TR Process; and c/ Advancement of the Profession. It is recommended that each content area be addressed by a specific TR course and that, at a minimum, at least 50% of the course be devoted to the designated content material. The implementation date would be January 1, 2013.

That the NCTRC field placement requirement be increased to a minimum of 14 weeks and 560 hours. The implementation date would be January 1, 2013.

That the Academic Field Placement Supervisor be an active CTRS at the start of the field placement experience, and required to sign the final Field Placement Verification Form signifying that the candidate completed all stated components of the NCTRC field placement requirements. The implementation date would be January 1, 2013.

The above changes were recommended to the NCTRC Board by the NCTRC Job Analysis Professional Eligibility ad hoc Committee in its written report to the Board. The recommended changes, as outlined above, were based upon a thorough review of the 2007NCTRC Job Analysis study results and current practice in the field of TR/RT.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jerry Kelley Visit

My old friend, Jerry Kelley, and his wife stayed with us for a couple of days this week. Jerry was on Karl Minninger's staff at one time (Minninger was a famous psychiatrist who developed the Minninger Clinic and who was an early advocate of RT). Jerry also started the Midwest TR Symposium, was an NTRS President, and certainly played a key role as a national leader for RT back in the 1970s.

I was really glad that IU faculty Bryan McCormick, Marieike VanPuymbroeck, and Lisbeth Berbary took the opportunity to meet Jerry. And, by the way, Jerry was very impressed by the IU faculty.

It was great to see Jerry and to talk over the "good old days." Though retired now, Jerry is still a strong supporter of RT.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Compton to Indiana

While I haven't seen an announcement, it must be official that Dave Compton is to be the Chair of the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies at Indiana University because Dave was in Bloomington last week meeting with faculty and getting ready to assume his duties in January.

CTRA Conference Seeking Presentations

From our friend, Jerry Singleton, has come the announcement that the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association 13th Annual Conference will be held May 12 - 15, 2009, in Calgary, Alberta.

There has been a call for presentations that are due by January 15, 2009. The format for the submission of presentations is too extensive to post here but I would guess that the format will be provided if anyone interested sends a message to the address for submissions. That address is: CTRA2009@alberta-tr.org

D of D National Resource Directory

I haven't had the time to examine the contents of the new directory announced today but RTs who work with armed service personnel or veterans probably will want to look it over. Here is an annoucement from the Department of Defense that may be of interest to at least some RTs:

Department of Defense Launches National Resource Directory For Wounded Warriors, Families And Caregivers

The Department of Defense today launched the National Resource Directory, a collaborative effort between the departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs.

The directory is a Web-based network of care coordinators, providers and support partners with resources for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, their families, families of the fallen and those who support them.

“The directory is the visible demonstration of our national will and commitment to make the journey from ‘survive to thrive’ a reality for those who have given so much. As new links are added each day by providers and partners, coverage from coast to coast will grow even greater ensuring that no part of that journey will ever be made alone,” said Lynda C. Davis, Ph.D., deputy under secretary of defense for military community and family policy.

Located at http://www.nationalresourcedirectory.org , the directory offers more than 10,000 medical and non-medical services and resources to help service members and veterans achieve personal and professional goals along their journey from recovery through rehabilitation to community reintegration.

“The VA is extremely proud to be a partner in this innovative resource. This combination of federal, state, and community-based resources will serve as a tremendous asset for all service members, veterans, their families and those who care for them. The community is essential to the successful reintegration of our veterans, and these groups greatly enhance the directory’s scope,” said Karen S. Guice, M.D., executive director, federal recovery care coordination program at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The National Resource Directory will prove to be a valuable tool for wounded, ill, and injured service members and their families as they wind their way through the maze of benefits and services available to them in their transition to civilian life. The Department of Labor is pleased to have the opportunity to work with our partners at DoD,” said Charles S. Ciccolella, the assistant secretary of labor for the veterans’ employment and training service.

The National Resource Directory is organized into six major categories: Benefits and Compensation; Education, Training and Employment; Family and Caregiver Support; Health; Housing and Transportation; and Services and Resources. It also provides helpful checklists, Frequently Asked Questions, and connections to peer support groups. All information on the Web site can be found through a general or state and local search tool.

The National Resource Directory’s launch in November is a key feature of Warrior Care Month.

YMCA, Hospital Facility = RT Opportunity?

In today's Indianapolis Star there is an article titled "YMCA, hospital plan Avon facility." The YMCA official termed it "a one-stop-shopping health-care facility with comprehensive health care under one roof." It is planned for Avon, Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis.

The facility is projected to have an indoor aquatics center, wellness center, dance/aerobics studio, gym, teen center, indoor climbing wall, outdoor sports fields, walking trails, and an outdoor education center. It is anticipated the center will focus on serving youth.

Reading about this planned facility made me think about how RTs might be the ideal staff. Afterall, RTs deal with the entire health care continuum from near death at one end to high level wellness at the other. It would make sense for RTs to take the lead at a health care facility that had both rehabilitation and health promotion programs.

Does anyone know of other instances where RTs are involved with a "one-stop" health care facility?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kim Clarke Wins RTI Award

From Recreation Therapists of Indiana President Laurie Lee via the RTI listserve:

Just wanted to share for those who were not at the Evansville Conference, the winner of our David R. Austin Award this year was Kim Clarke, for her time and dedication to the profession of Recreation Therapy and to RTI.

Kim is a strong leader in RTI and her participation is greatly appreciated.


p.s. This is a wonderful selection. Kim Clarke is truly the consummate professional!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"World Tour" Announcement -- Well, Hardly

You may have seen Mike Sutherland's comment to my post on the recent RTI Conference. In it Mike asked if I would be interested in giving a Keynote Address at the spring CDARTA Conference.

If you read this, Mike, know that I would be honored to do a Keynote for CDARTA. We would just have to firm up a date.

I have enjoyed giving Keynote Addresses for the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association and the Recreation Therapists of Indiana this year. I also spoke in Judi Voelkl's class at Clemson earlier this fall and have been invited to do a telephone lecture for a university class this spring.

These speaking engagements do not exactly constitute a "World Tour" (like rock stars do to promote their music) but my book Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques will soon be coming out so I will be happy to promote it! :-)

I would be more than happy to give talks to other groups if the date is open for me. Just let me know at daustin@indiana.edu

Friday, November 14, 2008

Enjoyed RTI Conference

It was good to get down to Evansville for the Recreation Therapists of Indiana Annual Conference. It was my honor to give the Keynote Address for this year's conference. My title was "This I Believe about Recreation Therapy." I enjoyed sharing my thoughts and it seemed that most of those attending were interested in what I had to say.

It was fun to see a great number of our former IU students and others that I have gotten to know over the years. It was also good to spend time catching up with Bob Glaser, who lives in Evansville. Bob and I worked together at the Evansville State Hospital in the 1960s.

Laurie Lee, RTI President, did a great job in putting together the RTI Conference. I'm glad to see our state RT society doing well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TR Processes and Techniques Annoucement

Sagamore Publishing today announced the approaching publication of Therapeutic Recreation: Processes and Techniques, 6th Edition, by David R. Austin, Ph.D., CTRS. The announcent read:

Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques, 6th edition, presents a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to therapeutic recreation. This book addresses the actual practice of TR using practical examples and learning exercises. Therapeutic Recreation covers examples in both theory and implications, and is a great resource for students and practitioners alike.

ISBN: 978-1-57167-547-7 * Pages 542 * 6x9 Paperback * 2009

Available December, 2008

5 Ways to Make Exercising More Fun

From today's Indianapolis Star comes a list of five wasy to make exercising more fun, prepared by Barb Berggoetz. Here it is:

1. Write down reasons to stay in shape. Every time motivation lags, read over the list.
2. Reward Yourself. Make rewards correspond to the size of the goal.
3. Put Variety Into Your Workout. Include cardivascular exercise, strength-training, and flexibility. Mix in workouts with friends, nature walks, and dance classes.
4. Chart Your Progress. Use a calorie-counter or heartrate monitor to measure how hard you work. You may want to log your workouts.
5. Use Visualization. Think about your body getting smaller; picture what motivates you.

These are tips RTs can use for themselves or pass along to clients who are beginning exercise programs.

Happy Veterans Day!

Have you hugged a Veteran today?

American Diabetes Month

The American Diabetes Association has proclaimed November to be American Diabetes Month. The website for the American Diabetes Association is

Physical Training for Persons with Mental Illness

While suffering from a small sample size and high drop out rate, a study published in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal suggests physical training programs may produce positive effects for persons with serious mental illnesses. Participants in the study did lose weight and showed improvement on other physiological measures(although the findings were not statistically significant). Participants did report that the program contributed to their perceived sense of well-being.

The full citation for the study is: Skrinar, G. S., Huxley, N. A., Hutchinson, D. S., Menninger, E., & Glew, P. (2005). The role of a fitness intervention on people with serious psychiatric disabilities. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 29(2), 122-127.

Openings in Indiana

From Mandy D. McQueeney,CTRS, comes this job annoucement:

Meaningful Day Services, Inc. is seeking CTRS's to provide home-based services to people with developmental disabilities. Will consider therapists for hire who will take January or May certification exams.

2 Full-time positions: Indianapolis, surrounding areas (Marion, Hamilton, Hendricks, and Johnson counties)

1 Part-time position:
Ft. Wayne area (Allen and Dekalb counties)

1 Part-time position: Greater Louisville area (Clark and Jefferson counties)

***Potential for full-time employment with part-time positions.

Job responsibilities:

Conduct individualized assessments
Write treatment plans and quarterly reports for each client
Provide 1:1 treatment weekly or biweekly
Attend interdisciplinary meetings
Train direct care staff
Attend company staff meetings
Participate in marketing events to promote TR services

Medical Insurance
Stipend for therapy supplies/activities
Opportunities for CEU's at company staff meetings
1 paid conference per year
Opportunities for professional growth (Be a mentor or project manager)
Moving assistance for out-of-state hires

Please contact me directly if you would like more information regarding the positions. You may apply online at www.meaningfuldays.com. May schedule interviews at upcoming RTI conference. Please submit resume to mdmcqueen@comcast.net by Wednesday, November 12, if you would like to be considered for interview at conference.

Mandy D. McQueeney, BS, CTRS
Director of Recreational Therapy
Meaningful Day Services, Inc.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Harvard Publication on Optimism & Health

Optimism and Your Health
From Harvard Health Publications

From Harvard Health Publications comes the following on optimism and health that should be of great interest to RTs who help their clients toward assuming optimistic views.

The article states:
"According to a series of studies from the U.S. and Europe, the answer is yes. Optimism helps people cope with disease and recover from surgery. Even more impressive is the impact of a positive outlook on overall health and longevity. Research tells us that an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years."

Of course, additional research is needed on the connection between optimism and good health.

The Harvard publication closes with the following:
"Personality is complex, and doctors don't know if optimism is hard-wired into an individual or if a sunny disposition can be nurtured in some way (My view is that RTs do nurture optimism!). It's doubtful that McLandburgh Wilson was pondering such weighty questions when he explained optimism in 1915:

'Twixt the optimist and pessimist / The difference is droll / The optimist sees the doughnut / But the pessimist sees the hole.'”

Returning to My Roots

The Recreation Therapists of Indiana (RTI) Annual Conference will be held this Thursday and Friday in Evansville. I feel honored to be have been invited to give the Keynote Address at the Opening General Session.

In Evansville, at the Evansville State Hospital, I really learned what recreation therapy was all about when working under Al Grubb. Al was a Board Member of the National Association of Recreational Therapists (NART) and served as NART's Executive Director (a part-time position).

Al liked to term RT a "tool for treatment." At Evansville RT was just that.

There we had a well developed assessment program, sophisticated treatment planning, and many fine therapy programs. Fortunately for me,at the time I worked there, Evansville State Hospital also had some excellent recreational therapists, occupational therapists, and music therapists from whom I was able to learn how to be a therapeutic agent.

When I was at Evansville I must confess that I didn't know just how lucky I was to work under Al Grubb in such a well conceived program. But that experience provided me with a wonderful foundation for my career in RT.

My guess is that others have enjoyed similar growth experiences in working under senior therapists in well designed programs. If so, please do comment.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Paralympics on TV Sunday


NBC Sports will present 2008 Paralympics, a documentary narrated by Bob Costas, on Sunday, November 9 from 2:30 - 4:00 p.m. ET.

12 Warning Signs of Health

I recently ran across an old file that had the "The 12 Warning Signs of Health." The list is several years old -- but still worth sharing. Here it is:

The 12 Warning Signs of Health

1. Persistent presence of support network.

2. Chronic positive expectations; tendency to frame events in constructive light.

3. Episodic peak experiences.

4. Sense of spiritual involvement.

5. Increased sensitivity.

6. Tendency to adapt to changing conditions.

7. Rapid response and recovery of adrenaline system due to repeated challenges.

8. Increased appetite for physical activity.

9. Tendency to identify and communicate feelings.

10. Repeated episodes of gratitude and generosity or related emotions.

11. Compulsion to contribute to society.

12. Persistent sense of humor.

From: Nathan, A.A. (2003). The art of recreation therapy: Using activities as assessment tools. San Francisco: Study Center Press, p. 39. (Original source listed as: Collected from bulletin board, Waldport, Ore: author unknown).

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Voted Twice!

I voted two times...once in the general election and once in the NCTRC election. Have you fully exercised your right to vote?

NCTRC will be conducting the 2008 Board of Directors Election from November 3rd - December 1st, 2008 online this year.

GT Gets 57% of Vote

This morning I read that with 99% of the precincts reporting in District 5 in Pennsylvania, GT Thompson has 57% of the vote. Nice going GT!!

Faculty Opening at EWU

I received the following announcement of a faculty opening at Eastern Washington University. Here it is:

Assistant Professor of Physical Education, Health and Recreation
Therapeutic Recreation (Tenure Track)

Responsibilities: Eastern is a regional, comprehensive university that expects all faculty to demonstrate teaching excellence, professional growth and service to the university, profession, and the community. The candidate will teach undergraduate courses in Therapeutic Recreation, General Recreation and
related areas. The successful candidate will serve as the advisor for all declared majors in the Therapeutic Recreation program, recruit majors, and meet accreditation and certification standards. The successful candidate is expected to develop and maintain strong community and clinical relationships, serve on department, college and university committees, as well as maintaining an active role in the professional organization, develop a focused line of research and seek extramural funding for research or programs. Starting date: September 2009.

Qualifications: Earned doctorate in Recreation or related field; ABD considered if candidate presents strong evidence of a plan to complete dissertation and all other qualifications are met. Candidate must have doctoral completion by November 1, 2010 to be reappointed to a third year. Two years clinical experience as a CTRS; evidence of effective teaching and advising in higher education; evidence of scholarly activities in basic research, preferred. Preference will be given to candidates who can contribute to the teaching and research agenda of a multidisciplinary department that also includes physical education, community health, exercise science, and athletic training, and who have an interest in and potential for collaboration with university-wide multidisciplinary programs. The candidate must have a wellness lifestyle that reflects the philosophy of the PEHR Department. Certification as a "CTRS" through National Council on Therapeutic Recreation is required.

We seek a new colleague who is an engaging teacher and scholar with a strong commitment to undergraduate education and research. Committed to the creation of an inclusive, supportive community for all its members, we seek faculty members who have professional or personal experience and interest in culturally diverse groups. Our department has a strong commitment to multicultural and international education and opportunities exist for curriculum development and reform in these and other areas. We place a premium on the ability of our faculty to serve as role models, advisors, and mentors to our students including first generation and non-traditional students and the ability of faculty to work and innovate in collaborative and cross- or multidisciplinary settings.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

GT is Projected Winner in PA!

I just read a projection that GT Thompson (with 59%) is the winner in his Congressional district in Pennsylvania. Congratulations GT!!

This is wonderful news for all us RTs that, for the first time in history, one of our own will be serving in the US House of Representatives. I don't think anyone else could represent our profession better than GT!

I hope all RTs will join me in letting GT know just how proud we are of him! Way to go GT!!!!!!!!


Hope all RTs will exercise their right to vote today -- and best of success to Glenn "GT" Thompson, CTRS, who is running for Congress in the Fifth District in Pennsylvania!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Note to Educators

Posts on October 30th and October 31st concerned interviewing tips. I think most educators would agree it is their duty to teach students how to interview for internships and professional positions. Hopefully, the two posts on interviewing tips will be used by students to better prepare them for interviewing.