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, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Guide on Exercise for Older Adults

Your Everyday Guide: Exercise & Physical Activity has been published on the web by the National Institute on Aging. The Guide seems to be very complete and contains information on planning a physical activity program and on sample exercises.

It may be accessed by going to: http://www.disability.gov/health/specific_populations/older_adults

I would think that RTs working with older adults will find the Guide to be very helpful.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

100 Million Blogs

I just recently read that it is estimated that there are 100 million blogs now in cyberspace. With all those to choose from, I'm glad you sometimes check out the RT Blog!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

RT Asessment Instrument for Clients with Brain Injury

Danny Pettry, M.S., CTRS, sent this to the RT Blog for posting:

Congratulations to Ashley Christin, CTRS.

She just got a new job working with adults with brain injuries! Very pleased to hear this good news.

She hasn't started working yet because the company doesn't have recreational therapy - until now! She is one of a few rec therapists who'll be developing the service.

She was wondering if people knew any assessment tools that could she could use to evaluate clients.

Any help would be appreciated. Please comment.

Justice Department to Participate in Community Integration Case

From Disability.gov:

The Justice Department has filed a brief as a friend of the court in Marlo M., et al. v. Cansler, et al., a community integration case in federal court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The government supports the two plaintiffs, individuals with a developmental disability and mental illness, who are seeking to block the state of North Carolina from making major reductions in services offered to them, which could also affect people in similar situations.

I wonder if any RTs in North Carolina are familiar with this case?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What Will Occur with Those Favoring RT?

With the results of the name change vote, I wonder what actions will be taken by those who believe the term recreational therapy best represents what they do and that the term is the best one to use to interpret our profession to others?

Will they just accept that they will have to use the term TR? Will they still use RT but belong to a national organization using TR in its title? Will another professional society emerge that uses RT in its name?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Results of Name Change Vote

There will be no name change for ATRA. Election results sent out to ATRA members indicated 40% voted for the name change and 60% against it.

It is distressing to me that only 23% of the members voted. This makes me wonder how well informed the membership was about the election.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Use of Pedometers produces Health Benefits

A study on walking recommends using a pedometer to measure 3,000 steps in 30 minutes, five days per week. The study was published in the December issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volumn 37, Number 2.

The results from the study provide guidelines for RTs with walking programs or who counsel clients to begin walking programs.

Last Day to Vote for Name Change

Just a week to shop for Christmas and the last day to vote for the name change.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tomorrow Last Day to Vote for Name Change

A friendly reminder that tomorrow is the last day for ATRA members to vote on the name change.

For your information, 10 Distinguished Fellows have indicated support for the name change. They are:

David Austin
Frank Brasile
Peg Connolly
Mary Ann Keogh Hoss
John Jacobson
David Park
Thom Skalko
Glen Van Andel
Ray West
Pam Wilson

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Interviewing Tips

I just saw 5 interviewing tips from Debbie Shalon via Careerbuilders.com which I thought might be useful to RTs and RT students. I've translated them from business terms to RT terms. Here are the 5 tips:

1. Research the agency. Know as much aboutg the agency as you can find out. Certainly visiting the agency's website is a must. If you are a student preparing to interview for a job or internship, talk to faculty who may have knowledge about the agency and the RTs at the agency.

2. Thoroughly aquaint yourself with the job description. Even if you are a student looking for an internship, you should find out what key skills are emphasized in the job description.

3. Be prepared for various types of interviews. Telephone interviews and face-to-face interviews are the most common. Jot down questions for the interviewer and have them by the phone for the telephone interview so you are prepared when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. You should also role play both telephone and face-to-face interviews.

4. Be passionate. Show you care about the position and becoming a part of the agency. You should be able to tell agency personnel that you've researched available positions or internships and believe their agency is the best place for you.

5. End strongly. In ending the interview, quickly summarize how you will meet the agency's needs. Express sincere interest in the position. Ask what the next step is. Finally, thank the interviewer for his or her time and ask for a business card.

Just a Couple More Days to Vote

The name change vote ends December 18th. So please exercise your right to vote if you are an ATRA member.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Educators: Where are You?

Just what is happening with RT faculty? I observed a lack of participation of RT educators in the ATRA name change issue. We are down to a handful of universities with Ph.D. programs in RT. Very little seems to have resulted from the summer educators’ conference. ATRA has indicated it won’t be sending anyone to the Allied Health Educators Summit this summer in Chicago. What has happened to the ATRA educators’ list serve that permitted regular communications among faculty?

Where is the leadership from university faculty that was so prominent in the 1970s when RT was attempting to establish itself as a profession? Faculty then were willing to “go the extra mile” for their profession. For example, I can recall that when our national organization didn’t have the financial resources to send a representative to a meeting that a faculty member would get his or her university to pay the expenses or would personally assume the expenses.

Faculty involvement seemed to have begun to decline soon after the Post-Doctorate Institutes for faculty held in the mid-1980s. In fact, it is my view that faculty have not taken any substantial leadership within our profession for a number of years.

The most evident example is that faculty have not stepped forward to improve curriculum. Instead, they have let NCTRC call the shots. I’m glad NCTRC exerted itself or we might not have had any advancement in terms of curriculum. The point is that faculty should have been out front in the area of curriculum reform and they have not been.

Where are you RT faculty? Do you lack an organized means to join together for the betterment of the profession? Do you not understand your roles as leaders within our profession? Do you lack the leadership skills to help lead the profession? Or do you simply not care what happens to our profession?

I must confess that I am perplexed and disturbed by the lack of involvement by faculty. Do others feel the same?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Distinguished Fellow Supports Name Change

Add Glen Van Andel's name to the list of ATRA Distinguished Fellows(ATRA's highest award) who support the name change to ARTA.

Thus 10 Distinguished Fellows have indicated support for the name change. They are:

David Austin
Frank Brasile
Peg Connolly
Mary Ann Keogh Hoss
John Jacobson
David Park
Thom Skalko
Glen Van Andel
Ray West
Pam Wilson

Friday, December 11, 2009

Name Change Election Continues

I've cast my vote for the name change to ARTA. Sure hope you will too if you are an ATRA member. The election continues until December 18th.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Allied Health Education Summit, May 19 & 20

I just saw the following announcement. I thought I'd share it in case others know about the HPN and would like to share what they know. I must admit that I wasn't familiar with HPN -- but it would seem RTs should be involved.

Please comment if you know about HPN. Here is the announcement:

A summit meeting sponsored by the Health Professions Network (HPN), "Educating the Allied Health Workforce of the 21st Century," will be held May 19-20, 2010 in Chicago.

With the impending surge of baby boomers turning 65 and changes in the US health care system, it is critical to ensure an adequate supply of trained health professionals.

At the summit, allied health program directors, administrators, school officials, and others involved in educating allied health professionals will join together to discuss common issues and identify best practices in allied health education.

Watch the HPN Website for summit details.

Mental Health Research Findings Available

Mental Health Research Findings is published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

It reports that one in four adults in the USA suffers from a mental disorder in any given year. Of course, that is one of many, many pieces of information contained in the Mental Health Research Findings.

RTs working in psych/mental health may wish to take a look at the Findings.

To access the Findings go to:

A Link on Sports/Recreation for Those with Disabilities

A link for those with interest in sports and recreation for persons with disabilities is:

It currently contains information on the National Center on Accessibility (ACA) located at Indiana University.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Past-Presidents Support Name Change to ATRA

The following ATRA Past-Presidents have supported the name change to ARTA:
Peg Connolly
Ray West
Mike Rhodes
Karen Grote
Carmen Russionello
Thom Skalko
David Austin
Frank Brasile
Pam Wilson
Diane Etzel-Wise
Laurie Jake
Melinda Conway Callahan
Nancy McFarland
Bryan McCormick
Marcia Smith
Mary Ann Keogh Hoss

Friday, December 04, 2009

Name Change Election is Now On

I just cast my vote for the name change to ARTA. Sure hope you will too if you are an ATRA member.

Distinguished Fellows Support Name Change

The following ATRA Distinguished Fellows (ATRA's highest award) have supported the name change to ARTA:

David Austin
Frank Brasile
Peg Connolly
Mary Ann Keogh Hoss
John Jacobson
David Park
Thom Skalko
Ray West
Pam Wilson

Recreational Therapy Foundation Formed

I recently saw in the ATRA Newsletter that the Recreational Therapy Foundation has been formed. Information taken from the Newsletter on the RTF follows below.

I couldn't help think that if we term our foundation the Recreational Therapy Foundation that to be consistent we should term our organization the American Recreational Therapy Association.

Here is the information on ATF:
In the last 2 years, the American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation has undergone a major transformation and overhaul. In recent years, ATRF, like ATRA, was challenged
in a variety of ways. The organization needed more continuity to function effectively, and was encumbered with a large board structure that didn’t serve the
organization well. Members of the former ATRF board of trustees became involved in the recent changes in the Foundation, and voted to create a new foundation and
migrate the existing ATRF funds to the new foundation.From there, much work commenced. From the list of Board of Trustees of ATRF, a small working group of 8-10
people saw an opportunity to create a new foundation with a leaner, better structured and more focused organization.

This new organization, which is now called the Recreational Therapy Foundation (RTF) has been developed and is now an independent organization.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Southeast RT Symposium Scholarships

From Wayne Pollock, Ph.D., CTRS, comes this announcement:

Dear Colleagues,
The Southeast Recreational Therapy Symposium (SRTS) is pleased to announce that we will be offering up to six scholarships for students and/or first year practitioners for the 2010 symposium. We hope that our April symposium dates will make it more convenient for students and educators to attend. This year's symposium,"2010 SRTS: Continuing Focus on Competent Practice”,will be held at the Grand Stand Resorts at Barefoot in North Myrtle Beach,South Carolina, April 7-9. A scholarship introductory letter and application are attached. Further information can be found at the SRTS web site:http://www.musc.edu/srts/

Thank you for sharing this information with any RT students and/or
practitioners. Please encourage students to apply for a scholarship and we hope to see many of you in North Myrtle Beach.

Wayne Pollock, Ph.D., CTRS

The Southeast Recreational Therapy Symposium (SRTS), Inc. is excited to offer scholarships for the Southeast Recreational Therapy Symposium to be held April 7-9, 2010 at the Grand Stand Resorts at Barefoot in North Myrtle Beach, SC. The theme for this year's symposium is " 2010 SRTS: Continuing Focus on Competent Practice”. In addition to the student scholarships, SRTS is pleased to again offer a scholarship for first-year practitioners.

The scholarships are intended to make the Symposium available to those students and first-year practitioners who 1) have a need for financial assistance, and 2) demonstrate potential to use the knowledge gained to enhance professional practice. The scholarships are "working" scholarships. Those who receive scholarships will assist with various aspects of administering the Symposium. SRTS believes this experience will further enhance the student’s or the practitioner’s professional competencies. The scholarships will provide complimentary registration and housing, but will not cover meals (except any included in the registration) and transportation.

Below is the application form. Please distribute this information to those who may be interested and may benefit from this opportunity. The deadline for applications is February 1, 2010. Those selected for the scholarships will be notified by March 1, 2010.

If you have questions about the SRTS Scholarships please call or write. Please return completed applications to Beth Weiser, Chair-Elect, SRTS Board of Directors at the address listed below:
Beth Weiser
323 Riverland Drive
Charleston, SC 29412

Cliff Burnham
Chair, SRTS Board of Directors

Scholarship Application



YEAR IN COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY _______________________________________________

DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCES (Experience as a club officer, committee chair, memberships in college/university, state, national organizations, etc.)



1. A cover letter which describes your need and your qualifications for the scholarship. Also describe how you will use the knowledge gained at the Symposium.
2. Resume
3. One copy of an Official Transcript
4. A letter of recommendation from a faculty or an employer/supervisor.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ray West's View on the Name Change

Since we are near the time when voting on the ATRA name change will begin, I want to offer some final thoughts I have in support of the motion to change the name of the organization to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA).

While I very much appreciate all of the thoughtful and heartfelt comments so many have posted, it seems the focus of comments has moved towards our personal opinions and loyalties and away from what is the best "business" decision regarding the name of the organization in the market place of health care and human services and facts that support this decision. Our beliefs and loyalties are very important and they drive much of what we do, but if we vote on whether to support or not support changing the name of the organization based mostly on the discourse among those who have posted to the ATRA Members’ Forum or based primarily upon our personal opinions or loyalties we risk making a mistake with a very important decision for the future of this organization and its voice as a national professional organization. In other words we run the risk of making a decision based upon personal beliefs or loyalties or talking among professional colleagues that may be inconsistent with our marketplace and employers. The results can be devastating to the organization and the profession it represents.

Several have commented on the desire to have “one voice for the profession”. Since 1966 we have had the National Therapeutic Recreation Society (NTRS) to represent the interests of “therapeutic recreation” and it looks like some form of this organization will be around for some time in the future to represent “TR”. ATRA was founded to represent the needs of recreational therapists in health care and human service agencies that could not be adequately represented by NTRS and it has done well with the resources it has available. Consider where recreational therapy might be today if we didn’t have ATRA for the past 25 years. The role and value of two national organizations representing “therapeutic recreation” has been debated the entire history of ATRA. Many joint efforts between the organizations to have “one voice for the profession” on particular issues of mutual concern have met with very limited success. It is time to change the name of ATRA to ARTA so the name is consistent with the purpose, mission, vision, values, definition and resource priorities of the organization. Having two national “TR” organizations is unnecessary, redundant and confusing. If ATRA became ARTA it would reduce confusion by having only one organization representing TR, NTRS. ARTA would represent RT as ATRA does today. ARTA and NTRS could still work together on issues of mutual interest to attempt to present “one voice for TR”, when that is in the best interests of the organizations. With ARTA we would have a name for the organization that is not only consistent with the current focus, priorities and resource allocations of ATRA, but also consistent with all stakeholders (including health care policy makers) use of the term ‘recreational therapy.’

In the 25 year history of ATRA we have seen the numbers of members grow when the organization was new and then decline, we have seen the numbers of those certified by NCTRC grow and then decline, we have seen the numbers of those employed as recreational therapists, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, and the number of recreational therapists employed in hospitals steadily decline over the past thirty years. During this time, we have also witnessed the numbers of other allied health disciplines grow to meet increased demand for their services. We have also witnessed the financial health of their professional organizations, which has not only sustained the organizations in challenging times, but also advanced their interests in the marketplace and with employers and other stakeholders. Can we afford to allow this professional decline of recreational therapy to continue?

It can be debated whether changing the name to ARTA will affect the numbers of members or the financial health of the organization or the organizations’ ability to support and advance the interests of recreational therapists in health care and human service agencies, but, are our personal opinions, personal preferences or loyalties for the term recreational therapy or therapeutic recreation, our dream of ‘one profession’ or the desire to maintain the status quo going to continue to limit the opportunity to explore change that may very well improve the organization and the support for members and the profession? Can we afford the risk of not trying something different to improve the national organization representing recreational therapists in health care and human service agencies? Can we afford the risk associated with continuing to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results that we have not seen in the entire history of NTRS and ATRA? Can we continue to allow personal opinions and loyalties to limit us from making a “business” decision that may enable us to better reach our potential to help more patients and consumers? What do we really risk by changing the name to ARTA and trying a different approach to advance the recreational therapy profession? Maybe we risk our future, by not changing to ARTA.

I am voting for ARTA with the hope of an improved future for recreational therapists in health care and human service settings.

Ray West, ATRA Past-President and Disguished Fellow

Where Are the Profs?

I support the name change to ARTA. I know that many other faculty also support the name change. Yet I have seen little activity by faculty in terms of expressing their opinions on the name change.

I hope that within the next few days that more faculty will post thier views on the name change on the Members' Forum.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

World AIDS Day

Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day.