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, July 21, 2009

Most Past Presidents Favor ARTA -- What About You?

Last year I conducted a "straw poll" of ATRA Past Presidents on a name change to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA).

13 of the 18 who were still members responded "yes" for the name change to ARTA. 4 voted "no." 1 abstained. Thus approximately three-quarters or 75% of ATRA Past Presidents were in favor of changing the name of ATRA to ARTA.

Many reasons for the name change to ARTA have been presented. Here are some:
1. The rationale is simple. To change the name of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association to the American Recreational Therapy Association makes the organization's name congruent with both the vision and mission of the organization. The Mission Statement reads: "The mission of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association is to serve as a member driven organization that collectively supports the recreational therapy profession. The Vision Statement reads: "The vision of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association is to be the premiere professional membership association representing recreational therapists, consumers and stakeholders."
2. Given that the mission, vision, budget and work priorities are dedicated to recreational therapy why wouldn't the name be changed to accurately reflect the focus of the organization?
3. With the current budget concerns changing the organization's name will provide more of a focus specific to recreational therapy that will help to focus future budget decisions and priorities for the organization.
4. The term "recreational therapy" offers a focus consistent with
the intent of the Medicare Project.
5. The designation of the profession as "recreational therapy" is
supported by the United States Department of Labor.
6. There exists a designation code for recreational therapy under
the classification of instructional programs (CIP codes).
7. The term, recreational therapy, is more consistent with a host
of environmental facets (i.e., the health care industry, health
accreditation, legislative language, sister allied health disciplines,etc.).
8. CMS and JC both use the term recreational therapy in the
regulations and standards of health care and treatment services.
9. The term recreational therapy reinforces the concept that the
Association cannot be all things to all people and therefore focus
should be congruent with the mission of the Association.
10. It can be argued that our lack of acknowledgement of the fact
that we are therapists has hurt us from many perspectives including
customer satisfaction, reimbursement, professional confidence, etc.
11. It is agreed by most that we need to make the change to RT. It's long overdue and the rationale is there.

Of course, there are reasons some oppose a name change. Among these are:
1. The profession doesn't need controversary at this time.
2. Some believe we have "more important" issues that demand our attention.
3. Many younger professionals have only known the term, "therapeutic recreation," so they are hesitant to change to a term unfamiliar to them.
4. The term "therapeutic recreation" is very broad so it can take in recreational therapy.

Many believe that using the term "therapeutic recreation" (instead of recreational therapy)has held back the profession's development. I really think that ATRA members should debate the need for a name change to ARTA. What comment do you have?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tribute to Judi Voelkl

I just came across this tribute to Judi Voelkl on the Academy of Leisure Sciences website. I wanted to share it with you. Here it is:

In Memory of Judith Voelkl, February 7, 2009. Today is a very sad day. A dear friend and colleague slipped away this morning, after a courageous journey with bile duct cancer. Judi's contribution to our profession is immeasurable. Her commitment to improving the quality of life of the elderly will continue to make a difference for years to come. Future generations will benefit from her scholarship at Clemson or read her name in our history but they will never have the honor that many of us have shared; being her friend! It is her excitement about anything pink, her contagious laugh, her giving nature and how she loved from the soul, I will remember. And to the very end she thought of others first. It is with great sadness I share this with all of you this day. Sandy Negley, University of Utah and Charlsena F. Stone, UNC-Greensboro

Death of Jean Mundy

I recently learned from Jean Folkerth that Jean Mundy had passed away. Jean was a long time professor at Florida State University and was best known for her book on leisure education.

Dr.Brown of the National Institute for Play

A former student, Nick, sent me an American Public Media radio interview with Stewart Brown, M.D. The interview was about play and was done for the program "Speaking of Faith." The interviewer was Krista Tippett.

I really enjoyed listening to the interview with Dr. Brown. It turns out he is a retired neurolgist/psychiatrist who has gained an interest in play. He has even done research on the lack of play as children of criminals who commit violent crimes. But it would seem that most of his knowledge of play is taken from animal play research of others. As I listened to Dr. Brown I could not help to wonder if he has become aquainted with studies done in recreation and leisure behavior.

Dr. Brown has started his own National Institute for Play. There is a website for the Institute if you want to check it out. I plan to try to find out more about the Institute and Dr. Brown and will let you know if I learn anything interesting.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Professor Julie Dunn Passed Away July 5th

I am sorry to report the death of Julie Dunn. The following appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat:

Dr. Julia Kennon Dunn, 56, of Tallahassee, Fla., passed away Sunday, July 5, 2009, at Big Bend Hospice. Shortly after her birth in Tallahassee, Julie's family moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., where Julie spent her early life. After graduation from Lakewood High, Julie returned to Tallahassee to obtain her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education, majoring in Therapeutic Recreation. Julie was a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority. A Doctoral degree from the University of Illinois completed her formal education. Her passion for learning and research continued while teaching at several universities across the country. Julie returned to Florida State in 1991 to join the faculty in the Recreation and Leisure Services Administration Program. She was active in both the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation and the American Therapeutic Recreation Association.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

800 Posts for the RT Blog

Did you know that the RT Blog has had 800 posts since its inception in April of 2006?

New Book Announced

I recently received an announcement from Sagamore Publishing that the 2nd edition of the book titled Professional Issues in Therapeutic Recreation is now out.The book is edited by Norma Stumbo.

Monday, July 13, 2009

IU News Release

Below is a News Release from Indiana University on the RTV videos:

IU Recreation Therapy Videos Available to Students, Therapists

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University has made the entire collection of 23 videos produced by the Recreation Therapy Video (RTV) Project available via streaming technology so they may be viewed by students on their home computers, in university classrooms and by recreation therapists in healthcare centers.

The video project, developed by David Austin, professor emeritus in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies, was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the RPTS department, which is part of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The instructional videos cover a wide variety of topics, including therapeutic communication, professional ethics, clinical supervision, interacting with persons with disabilities, recreation therapy practice models, behavioral observation, documentation and the history of recreation therapy.

"This is a very significant event not only for the IU recreation therapy program but for the entire profession," said Bryan McCormick, associate professor and coordinator of the therapeutic recreation specialization in the RPTS department. "These videos should be of use to recreation therapists and students preparing for careers in recreation therapy throughout the world -- or for anyone wishing to learn more about recreation therapy."

John Winninger, a senior producer/director with the IU Radio and Television Services, worked closely with Austin in producing the recreation therapy videos.

The video streaming was made possible through IUScholarWorks. IUScholarWorks is supported by the IU Libraries and the IU Digital Library Program -- a collaborative effort of the IU Libraries and University Information Technology Services.

IUScholarWorks is managed by Julie Bobay, associate dean for collection development and digital publishing with IU Bloomington Libraries and a driving force in bringing about the streaming of the RTV videos. IUScholarWorks Librarian Jennifer Laherty was instrumental in overseeing the digitizing of the RTV collection.

"IU is known for having one of the best university libraries and one of the best university technology environments," Austin said. "I'm very appreciative that IU Libraries and the Digital Library Program has shown such support of recreation therapy by making the RTV videos available to the world."

To view any of the 23 RTV videos viewers use the link https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/3378.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

RT/TR Week Reminder

In the July NCPAD News eletronic newsletter there appears a reminder that TR/RT Week is July 12 - 18.

Under the reminder is a link to an article titled "Introduction to Therapeutic Recreation Services" by Kristin Ruprecht, MS, CTRS, in which I am quoted as stating:

"TR is a purposeful intervention that uses recreation to bring about health restoration...(and) has the potential to enhance health or produce high-level wellness."

No reference is provided for the quote and I can't recall where it appeared -- but it not a bad statement if I say so myself! Ha.

Friday, July 10, 2009

ARTA in Our Future?

There has been talk of those in NTRS finally calling it quits -- as most of us did years ago. I know they would be welcomed into ATRA if they are CTRSs.

Perhaps it is time to signifiy that we are one strong professional organization and a time to change our name to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA).

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Descriptions of RTV Videos

I’ve posted detailed information on the RT Blog about three of the RTV videos. They are in the June achieves.

“Clinical Supervision” was described June 12.
“Portraits of Pioneers in Therapeutic Recreation” was described June 16.
“Professional Ethics” was described June 18.

I plan to provide additional posts describing other RTV videos in the future. In the meanwhile you may access brief descriptions of the videos. Go to http:www.indiana.edu/~iutr/

This is the IU TR website. On the left side you will see "Recreation Therapy Videos." Click on it and you will get a complete listing of the 23 videos with descriptions for each.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Link for Streaming Plus Descriptions of RTV Videos

Indiana University just sent out a news release on the streaming of the RTV videos. It contains the address of the link for streaming the videos but little in the way of detail on accessing them.

In this post, I'll repeat information about getting to the videos and provide information about descriptions of each of the videos.

The Link for streaming RTV videos:
(Go to the address shown. You will see titles of 23 videos listed. Click on the title of the video you wish to view. This will take you to a page for that video. Simply click on the address there to view the video.)

Descriptions of RTV videos:
(Go to the address shown. It is the IU TR website. On the left side you will see "Recreation Therapy Videos." Click on it and you will get a complete listing of the 23 videos with descriptions for each.)

New APA Publication Manual

Can you believe a new APA Publication Manual has come out? It seems like only yesterday that the 5th edition was being announced.

A brand new sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) is now available. It promises to have new guidelines, new sample papers, and new checklists, among other features.

Most RT publications follow the APA style so RT authors will need to obtain a copy.

The APA Publication Manual can be ordered from APA at (800) 374-2721 or www.apa.org/books. Most university bookstores and many regular bookstores (e.g., Borders)will also carry it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Social Networking Popular

I recently read in an APA publication that 35% of adults online have a profile on a social networking site, such as Facebook or Twitter. The source reported this is up from 8% in 2005. I've observed that many RTs are involved in social networking.

Curriculum Conference Agrees of Need for Accreditation

There were 70 attendees at TREC II, of whom about 40 were educators and 30 were practitioners and administrators. One significant item was the discussion that we need to have one accreditation agency. RIFs will be sent to the Council on Accreditation for Recreation Park resources & Leisure service (COA) and the commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

It would appear to me that perhaps those at the curriculum conference, before approaching accrediation bodies, needed to first decide whether RT was a separate, healthcare profession or simply an option within parks and recreation.

If RT is a specialization within parks and rec, it should be accrediated by COA. If RT is an allied health profession, it should be accrediated by CAAHEP. What say you?

Monday, July 06, 2009

TR Week Approaching

Don't forget. Therapeutic Recreation Week is coming up soon...July 12 - 18, 2009.

RTV Videos

Recently 23 RT instructional videos have been made available via streaming. To view any of the videos go to https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/3378

Simply click on the title you wish to view and the address will come up. Click on the address and the video will appear.

The videos were made by the Recreation Therapy Video (RTV) Project directed by Professor David R. Austin, Ph.D., CTRS, of Indiana University. Deb Getz, Re.D., CTRS, served as the project coordinator and John Winninger was the producer/director.

Topics of the RTV videos range from an introduction to recreation therapy, provided by “To Serve a Purpose,” to developing such skills as engaging in therapeutic communications, making client observations, completing documentation, giving and receiving clinical supervision, and understanding models of practice. Three separate videos extensively cover the history of recreation therapy and another presents pioneers in recreation therapy.

The list of videos available are:
1. Adaptive equipment
2. Case studies
3. Clinical supervision
4. Computer use in therapeutic recreation
5. Documentation and behavioral observation
6. Effective listening
7. Feedback in learning and performance situations
8. History of therapeutic recreation parts I, II, III
9. Individual program planning
10. Interactions with people who have disabilities
11. Models of practice : health protection/health promotion model
12. Models of practice : leisure ability model
13. Nonverbal communication
14. Portraits of pioneers in therapeutic recreation
15. Professional ethics
16. Professionalism in therapeutic recreation
17. Quality of life
18. Safe transportation : safely transporting clients
19. Therapeutic communication
20. Therapeutic recreation history : the formative years
21. Therapeutic recreation history: the modern era
22. To serve a purpose
23. Transfer techniques

Job Opportunity in Evansville, Indiana

From Jessica Puntney in Evansville comes this job announcement via the RTI listserve. Jessica writes:

Here is a description of the job we have available. It is a PRN position, but will have a significant number of hours and will probably turn into at least a part-time position in the near future. If someone wants to apply online, here is the link to go to the deaconess website where the job is posted:

Any applicants can cc their resume to Jessica Puntney when they send it it. If anyone has any questions about the position, they can contact me at Jessica_Puntney@deaconess.com or at (812)471-4579.

Here is the information on the Deaconess website:
Title Activity Therapist - DSS
Facility Deaconess Cross Pointe
Deaconess Health System, Evansville, Indiana

Primary Duties DSS Activity Therapist needed for our Adult Unit. Will serve as a member of the interdisciplinary treatment team, to provide therapeutic recreational and activity services to adult patients under Deaconess’ care for emotional or substance abuse problems.

Date of Listing July 1, 2009
Status DSS
Minimum Qualifications Bachelors’ degree in relevant field (e.g., recreational therapy, music therapy, or art therapy).

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Two Curriculum Solution?

In Mike Sutherland’s comment (July 2) he proposed two professional preparation programs – one for RTs doing clinical work and one for special/inclusive recreators. The two curriculum solution makes sense to me. How about you?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Have a Happy & Safe 4th of July

The RT Blog wishes everyone a happy and safe 4th of July. As we enjoy our freedoms, let's remember those who serve, past and present. The next time you see a Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman, member of the Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserves, thank them for their service.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

"Consensus Conference" Needed for RT?

A few years ago, occupational therapists held a "Consensus Conference" to identify and reach consensus on the key practice and research questions in OT. While participants had difficulity defining the term, occupation, they were able to identify key questions for their profession.

I don't know if RTs would have any more luck than OTs in defining our profession --but it seems that holding a "Consensus Conference" for RT might be a good idea. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

"Out of the Office" Messages -- Be Careful

I've been reading about people leaving messages on the web that they are out-of-town on vacation or attending a meeting. I used to do it myself when I'd leave an "Out of the Office" message for those who contacted me by email. Evidently this can be a bad idea.

One story I read stated: "Most people wouldn't leave a recording on a home answering machine telling callers they're on vacation for a week, and most people wouldn't let mail or newspapers pile up while they were away. But users of social media think nothing of posting real-time vacation photos on Facebook showing themselves on beaches hundreds of miles from home, or sending out automatic e-mail messages that say, "I'm out of the country for a week."

So I guess the message is that you need to be careful about "broadcasting" that you will be away from your house -- it could lead to unintended consequences. Isn't this sad.