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.

Friday, January 30, 2009

ARROW Website Announced

I thought I'd pass along this announcement that I recently received this from Linda L. Buettner, Ph.D, LRT, CTRS, via the ATRA Educators listserve:

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the ARROW (Active Recreational Resources for Optimal Wellness) Initiative website! Educators please share with your students, alums, and outreach long term care programs in your area.

These materials were developed to help geriatric recreational therapists prepare for MDS 3.0, which will be beginning in October, 2009. Access to the materials is free and available to you at: http://www.uncg.edu/rth/arrow/arrow.html

If you are interested in obtaining Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for your work please follow the directions on the website.

Good luck in your quest to offer high quality evidence-based recreational therapy for your residents!


Linda L. Buettner, Ph.D, LRT, CTRS
Professor Therapeutic Recreation/Gerontology
RTH/Health and Human Performance
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Phone: 336-334-4131
Fax: 336-334-3238

Position Opening for an RT

From the Recreation Therapists of Indiana listserve comes this announcement of an opening for a RECREATIONAL THERAPIST:

ADEC is growing and expanding our services and would like you to come and join us. ADEC is a not-for-profit agency assisting clients through out Elkhart County (Indiana) with developmental disabilities to live independent lives. We currently have a Recreational Therapist and need to hire another one. We have seen how our clients benefit from these services as well as the huge need for this service in the community.

The Recreational Therapist will provide treatment and recreational activities to restore and rehabilitate the functioning levels of clients with developmental disabilities. The goal is to assist them in living more fulfilling independent lives. Programs will be based on the individual’s needs and interests and can be done in a group or individually. A bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from an accredited school is required along with a certification from the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. ADEC will assist you with the certification process.

Hours are mostly Monday – Friday 1st shift. Some flexibility needed for evening or weekend activities. ADEC offers excellent benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance after 90 days; retirement plans; and 3 weeks vacation during the first year.

To apply, send resume and cover letter to:

P.O. Box 398
Bristol IN 46507

Phone: 574-848-7451 Fax: 574-848-5917
E-mail: kendalll@adecinc.com
Contact: Lisa Kendall, Human Resources Specialist, 574-848-7451

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

IU Students Are a Joy to be With

I met this morning with students from Steve Lewis' R277 Introduction to Therapeutic Recreation class at Indiana University. As I anticipated, the students were a joy to interact with -- very attentive, very polite, and very bright. I really enjoyed being back in the classroom and hope the students gained from my guest appearance in their class.

Researchers Develop Camera for Visually Impaired

This morning I read an article in Campus Technology by Dian Schaffnauser on a camera that should help persons with visual impairments. It seems to be an exciting new development -- so I'm passing along part of the article (below):

A team of scientists at MIT has developed a camera that allows the sight-impaired to take and see photos. The recent demonstration of the device comes two decades after Elizabeth Goldring, a senior fellow at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and colleagues began work on a "seeing machine."

The results have evolved from Goldring's initial inspiration, a large diagnostic device costing some $100,000, to a $4,000 desktop version, to the current seeing machine, which is portable and inexpensive. "We can make one for under $500," Goldring said.

Although the device can be connected to any visual source, such as a video camera or desktop computer, Goldring, who is completely blind in one eye, especially enjoys using it with a photo camera. "When someone has a diminished sense, the inability to express yourself with that sense can be frustrating," she said. By taking photos, "I feel I'm able to express myself visually with my blind eye, and there's value in that, I think."

Plans are underway to test the device at the Low Vision Clinic at the Joslin Diabetes Center’s Eye Institute in Boston.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Compton Now at IU

Dave Compton is now on the job as Chair of the Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism at Indiana University. I had lunch with Dave today and learned that he has already begun to make strides at IU.

One thing he told me was that, despite the economic situation, IU continues to recruit a new RT/TR faculty member. Anyone coming to IU will be blessed to work with the current RT/TR faculty as Bryan and Marieke are the best.

I think Dave will be good for RT/TR at IU. His ties to public health and health promotion give him a perspective that should be supportive of RT/TR.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Great Quote from Gary Robb -- Read It

My friend, Gary Robb, retired from his position as Director of the National Center for Accessibility (NCA) last year. I just came upon a NCA website announcing Gary's retirement. The quote below was from Gary reflecting on his career. The wisdom provided by Gary's quote I thought could be very helpful to others -- so I'm passing it along.

Here is the quote from Gary Robb reflecting on his career:

"I have always believed and felt that whatever contributions that I have made have been mostly because of the people that I have been fortunate to surround myself with. Success, however that is measured, is not due to my brilliance or intelligence, but is due to my ability to get people to believe in me, my passion for my work and in the greater societal outcomes that we will eventually achieve. Nelson Henderson once wrote, "The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit." I at least feel like that is what I have tried to do. To put it another way (and I don't know who said this)--- You get the best efforts from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within. That is what I believe I have been all about."

Friday, January 23, 2009

University Program Closings -- A Concern

I've been thinking lately about the reduced numbers of university professional preparation programs in RT. I believe that the closing of university programs should be of great concern to those in the field -- particularly those in the states which have lost university programs.

I've been informed that the states of Georgia and Minnesota each only have one university that produces RTs. Further, I've been told that the lone universities in Georgia and Minnesota that prepare RTs each only have one RT educator. Do you find this troubling?

I wonder what can be done to support practitioners and the universities in these states? Perhaps ATRA Chapters in those areas can work to strengthen RT in their areas. Perhaps universities in neighboring states can help states which have lost professional preparation programs.

At any rate, I think the reduction in the numbers of university professional preparation programs is a topic that RTs should be talking about and coming up with ways to support practitioners in states that have lost university RT/TR programs. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jo Ann Coco-Ripp is Doing Good Things as WSSU

I had the priviledge of having breakfast this morning with Professor Jo Ann Coco-Ripp (at one of my favorite places, Cracker Barrel). I've known Jo Ann since her student days at the University of Utah but this was the first time we have been able to have an extended conversation.

Jo Ann is on faculty at Winston-Salem State University where she instructs in the RT/TR program. I was very positively impressed to learn what Jo Ann is doing with technology in her teaching.

For instance, she showed me a very small video camera that can directly connect to a computer. Jo Ann uses this camera in her therapeutic communications course to video student role plays of client interviews. These are then shown in the classroom and later sent out to students for their analysis.

Jo Ann also uses a number of web-based videos in her teaching. I told her that I hope that Indiana University will soon make the RTV videos available via online streaming.

It pleased me a great deal to learn of the level of instructional technology Jo Ann is using at WSSU. I hope other instructors are using today's technology to the same degree in their teaching.

I was also pleased to find that Jo Ann had developed a new assessment course that she is now instructing. I was able to share with her information on strength-based assessment that appears in the new (6th) edition of my Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques book.

There were other topics of mutual concern that Jo Ann and I discussed that I plan to share in future posts (e.g., need for strong Ph.D. programs, the reduced numbers of university RT/TR programs, the need to improve/standardize RT/TR curricula, the need for faculty training in teaching, and the need for universities to build library and teaching resources).

I feel good about what is going on in RT/TR at Winston-Salem State University as a result of talking with Jo Ann. I'm a member of the WSSU TR Advisory Group so I plan to remain in touch with Jo Ann and the WSSU TR program.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Workshop Concept a Good One for RT

Today I received the January 2009 E-Newsletter from Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis (MHAGI). There I read that MHAGI will conduct a workshop for groups. The workshop title is "Balancing Your Life with Stress Management and Yoga Workshop."

The first part of the one-hour workshop covers tips on stress management. The remainder of the workshop is doing yoga exercises.

Among yoga's benefits were listed the following:
* reduced stress
* sound sleep
* reduced cortisol levels
* lower blood pressure
* lower heart rate
* sense of well-being
* reduced anxiety & muscle tension
* increased strength & flexibility
* slowing aging processes

The brief article announcing the availability of the workshop did not indicate who would be leading the workshop -- which I would think would be important, don't you?

But the thing that came to my mind is that RTs should be providing such workshops. Holding such workshops could be a source of revenue for an ATRA Chapter or for ATRA for that matter. What do you think?

What is in the ACT KIT?

I recently received an announcement from DisabilityInfo.gov about an Assertive Community Treatment Knowledge Informing Transformation (ACT KIT). I had not previously heard of the ACT KIT. Have you? If so, how about commenting on this post?

Here is the information provided by DisabilityInfo.gov on the ACT KIT:

The ACT KIT offers information and guidance on providing comprehensive mental health treatment and support services to help individuals with serious mental illness stay out of the hospital and live successfully in the community. This information can help mental health providers develop community-based services that are better suited to the individual needs of clients.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Social Security Funding Going South!

Even younger Americans may start to become concerned about Social Security funding. From DisabilityInfo.gov comes this information:

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, welcomed news reports that President-elect Barack Obama wants to begin discussions on the future of entitlement programs, including Social Security. In a report on the financial health of the Social Security Trust Funds issued in 2008, Trustees indicated that, without changes, the Fund will be exhausted by 2041, and there will be enough money to pay only about 78 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits after 2041.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Looking Forward to Meeting R277 Students

Yesterday I received an email message from Steve Lewis, M.S., CTRS, who is instructing HPER R277, Introduction to TR, this term at Indiana University. Steve invited me to meet with his students later this month.

I was blessed by being able to instruct outstanding students at IU for 29 years. I can assure you that IU RT/TR students are among the very best in North America -- and probably among the best in the world!

Steve said the topic that day will be the RT Process -- of assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation -- often referred to as the "APIE" (pronounced "A-pie") Process.

I believe this is a central topic because the RT Process defines our profession. Without this systematic approach aimed at producing therapeutic outcomes there should be no claims made that RT is going on.

Simply providing recreation services to people with disabilities should not qualify as RT because it involves no systematic, planned intervention to bring about change in clients. Without the RT Process the profession there is no explicit therapetuic intent.

I'd better stop my rambling about the RT Process and save what I have to say for the IU students.

I can tell you (if it is not already apparent) that I'm already looking forward to meeting Steve's students and discussing the RT Process with them.

Danny Petty has Myspace Page for RTs

I just read an email message from Danny Petty, M.S., CTRS, of Hunington, West Virginia. Danny is an Indiana University alum having completed his master's degree via IU's distance learning program.

What is it about those RTs from West Virginia that has them using the latest technology to advance our profession? First it was Charlie Dixon, M.S., CTRS, who years ago began the RT/TR Directory and has been THE leader in the use of technology for RT. Now Danny has joined Charlie in employing technology to communicate with other RTs.

Below is part of the message I received from Danny. I'm passing it along in case you want to check out what Danny is doing with his Myspace page. Here is his message:

I keep a myspace blog on rec therapy. The younger generation often uses myspace. It is a great way to reach out to them.

I currently have about 1,500 people who are "friends" (connected to my myspace page). You may want to check it out...


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ATRA Midyear Forum in Washington, DC

ATRA Professional Issues Mid-Year Forum |
March 22-24, 2009 | Greater Washington, DC

Pre-Register by February 18

Professional Issues Mid-Year
The ATRA 2009 Professional Issues Mid-Year Forum is designed to feature Educational Tracks on three cutting-edge topics in the Recreation Therapy profession. Attendees may choose from the following Tracks:

TRACK 1 -- Public Policy
TRACK 2 -- Identification and Collection of Outcome Indicators
TRACK 3 -- Chronic Care

Don't miss the opportunity to participate in this Forum which will provide education and public policy experiences relevant to the RT Profession!!

Speakers include (in order of appearance):

GT Thompson, CTRS, U.S. Representative, Pennsylvania
Thomas K. Skalko, Ph.D., LRT/CTRS
Lisa Morgan, CTRS
Peg Connolly, Ph.D., LRT/CTRS
Laurie Reddick, MA, LRT/CTRS, CCLS
Mary Ann Keogh Hoss, Ph.D., CTRS, FACHE
John McGovern, J.D., President, Recreation Accessibility Consultants
Kristy Everette, LRT/CTRS
Michelle Barr, LRT/CTRS
Linda Buettner, Ph.D., LRT/CTRS
Christine MacDonell, Managing Director, Medical Rehab and International Aging Services, CARF
Norma J. Stumbo, Ph.D., CTRS
Nancy McFarlane, CTRS
Missy Armstrong Beyerlin, MS, CTRS

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Physical Training for Children with Osterogenesis Imperfecta

Research abstract published in the January NCPAD Newsletter:

Emerging Evidence in Health and Disability: Physical Training in Children with Osteogenesis Imperfecta
Van Brussel, M., Takken, T., Uiterwaal, C., Pruijs, H. J., Van der Net, J., Helders, P. J. M., et al. (2008). Physical training in children with osteogenesis imperfecta. Journal of Pediatrics, 152, 111-116.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a physical activity program on exercise capacity, muscle force, and subjective fatigue levels in children with mild to moderate forms of osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). Thirty-four children from 8 to 18 years of age were randomly assigned to either 12 weeks of graded exercise intervention or usual care. Outcome measures included exercise capacity (VO2peak), maximal working capacity (Wmax), muscle force, subjective fatigue, perceived competence, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Results showed that VO2peak, relative VO2peak, Wmax, and muscle force were significantly improved while subjective fatigue decreased significantly.

For the full abstract, go to http://www.ncpad.org/research/fact_sheet.php?sheet=667.

Book on Exercises for Persons with MS

From the January NCPAD Newsletter:

Book Review: Exercises for Multiple Sclerosis: A Safe and Effective Program to Fight Fatigue, Build Strength, and Improve Balance
Hamler, B. (2006)
Hatherleigh Press
Long Island City, NY

Written by Brad Hamler, a licensed post-rehabilitation specialist who has worked extensively with MS patients, Exercises for Multiple Sclerosis provides a tested program that is easy to follow and contains simple workouts adapted to many energy levels. It is specially designed to help you feel better and improve your daily symptoms, especially fatigue and mobility. It includes general information on MS as well as how daily exercise can help reduce your fatigue, how to increase physical strength while decreasing spasticity, how to compensate for loss of balance and coordination while walking, and why medical treatment is just not enough.

For more information, go to http://www.hatherleighpress.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781578262274 or contact Hatherleigh Press at 800-733-3000.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Position at Illinois State University

From Sandra Wolf Klitzing, Ph.D., CTRS, comes an announcement of an opening for the position of Director of the School of Kinesiology and Recreation at Illinois State University.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dates for ATRA Meetings

ATRA Mid-year,
March 22-24, 2009

Washington DC

ATRA Annual Conference
October 2-6, 2009

Minneapolis, MN

Palliative Care is Growing Area

What do you know about palliative care? I had heard the term but wasn't sure exactly what it was. From AARP comes the following story that describes palliative care:

Dr. Diane Meier, 55, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, is one of the leading exponents of a new and growing discipline known as palliative care. Palliative care means soothing the symptoms of a disease, regardless of whether a patient is seeking a cure. It’s a concept that’s totally transforming the way doctors and hospitals treat seriously ill patients. The idea of easing pain and improving the quality of a patient’s life may not seem radical, but classic medical training focuses on attacking the disease. Most doctors simply don’t have time to be supersensitive Marcus Welbys checking up on patients to see how they feel. Even if they do have the time, they lack the advanced training of palliative-care doctors and nurses to ease symptoms such as anxiety, pain, or severe nausea. Most are better equipped to deal with microorganisms than matters of comfort.

When people first hear about palliative care, they often confuse it with hospice care. It’s not. Hospice focuses on terminally ill patients: people who no longer seek treatments to cure them and expect to live about six months or less. Palliative-care teams—consisting of everyone from social workers to physical therapists—can follow patients for days, months, or years.

Thanks in large part to the training and outreach programs Meier runs as the head of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) in New York City, the number of hospitals with palliative-care programs has nearly doubled, from 632 in 2000 to 1,240 in 2005. Palliative care has the potential to change the way doctors and nurses address pain and emotional distress—not to mention how they help patients and families sort through their choices as life nears its end.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Best Value Colleges and RT

The Princeton Review just put out its list of the 100 "Best Value Colleges for 2009." The schools were selected based on surveys of administrators and students at 650 public and private colleges.

I was very glad to see several schools with RT/TR professional preparation programs made the list. Among them were my old school, Indiana University -- Bloomington.

Other colleges and universities with RT/TR programs making the top 100 list were: Florida State University (which made the "Top Ten" public colleges list), Cal State Long Beach, and the Univeristy of North Carolina -- Wilmington.

I don't believe I missed a school on the Princeton Review's list that has an RT/TR program but if I did please comment.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

A friend recently sent me information about a new paperback book by Lee Iacocca. The book is titled "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?"

I must confess reading about Iacocca's book made me wonder where all the leaders in RT have gone. At one time people like Jerry Kelley, Dave Park, and Gary Robb were seen as strong leaders for the profession. Then a later wave of leaders came on the scene lead by Ray West. But today I am not sure where the next wave of leaders for RT will come from.

One thing Iacocca said in his book was that he has learned that you can't sit on the sidelines waiting for someone else to take action. I agree.

Perhaps I can do my small bit to discover badly needed leaders in RT by asking the question: "Where have all the leaders gone in RT?"

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Today is the Day!

Congratulations to GT Thompson , M.S., CTRS, who is being sworn in today as a U.S. Congressman.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

As We Enter 2009, Thanks Again!

Dear RT Blog Reader,

As we enter into 2009, I want to again thank you for your continued interest in RT and the RT Blog.

While only a few tend to comment on posts on the RT Blog, I hear often from a number of you through emails or in person. I want to thank you for the great ideas and suggestions for the RT Blog. In 2009, I will continue to try to share information and ideas with you on the RT Blog.

Best regards,
Hoosier RT