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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Info on ATRA Definition from President-Elect

I just received an email from Missy Beyerlin-Armstrong, ATRA president-elect....who will become president in a few days at the ATRA Annual Conference in Minneapolis. Missy informed me that the definition mentioned in the post earlier today was approved by the ATRA Board on 10-29-07.

The definition evidentially grew out of a Task Force of ATRA/NTRS/NCTRC that developed language used in state credentialing processes.

I don't know why it took me so long to recognize ATRA had adopted a new definition but I am glad to know when and how it came about. Thanks, Missy! And I know all will wish Missy the best as she enters into her year as ATRA president.

Have You Seen ATRA's Definition of RT?

Has anyone else noticed the definition on the ATRA website? The definition statement reads:

"'Recreational Therapy' means a treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition."

My initial impression is that it is a pretty good definition. I wonder who developed it? Any reactions to this definition?

Danny Pettry to Post on ATRA Conference

I just saw this announcement on Facebook from Danny Pettry and I am passing it on via the RT Blog:

ATTN: Recreational Therapists: Follow my blog. I’ll be posting entries about the ATRA conference this week. So, stay turned for fun stuff at this link: http://hiddensecretwisdom.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


If NTRS no longer exists, I wonder what will happen with the Therapeutic Recreation Journal? If NRPA gives it up, should ATRA take it over?

Years ago we had TRJ as our quarterly, refereed journal and, in addition, we had a second annual publication. The annual contained articles that were invited.

This seemed to me to be an ideal situation. We got the research from TRJ and current literature synthesis and opinion articles in the annual publication. Both types of writing are needed to advance the profession.

I hope that ATRA will inquire about taking over TRJ and consider turning the ATRA Annual into the publication of invited articles by the top people in our profession.

Monday, September 28, 2009

No More NTRS

I recently visited the NRPA website. I couldn't find any mention of NTRS anywhere on the website. A national figure told me that NRPA is dropping all branches (including NTRS).

Top TR Websites

Both Charlie Dixon's TR/RT Directory and Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care websites recently listed the "Top TR Web Sites," using Alexa as thier source. NCTRC was the top website in terms of traffic, followed by NYSTRA, CATRD, and ATRA.

It is logical that NCTRC might have the most traffic. But it is strange to me that NYSTRA and CATRD would have more interest than the ATRA website. I wonder why this is so?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

RTV Links Seem Okay

I just checked all the links for the Recreation Therapy Videos (RTV). All seem to be working just fine.

The address to access the 23 RTV videos via streaming is:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Report on Health Care for People with Disabilities to be Released

From Disability.gov comes the announcement that the National Council on Disability (NCD) will release its latest report, The Current State of Health Care for People with Disabilities, on its website on September 30, 2009. The report focuses the nation's attention on the health care disparities experienced by people with disabilities, and provides recommendations that can help eliminate health care inequities for people with disabilities.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Regional & State Conferences Coming Up

I just received Charlie Dixon's TR Directory Newsletter. In it he lists several upcoming regional and state RT meetings. I thought I'd pass these on in this post -- and, by the way, thanks to the New England Therapeutic Recreation Association for holding their fall conference on my birthday, October 16th!

The New England Therapeutic Recreation Fall Conference will be held on October 16th in Sturbridge, Mass.

The Illinois Recreation Therapy Association Annual Conference will be October 26 & 27.

The West Virginia Therapeutic Recreation Annual Conference will be held in conjunction with the WVRPA Conference November 3-5 in Charleston, WV.

Information on these conferences can be obtained by going to each organization's website.

Way to Go Danny!

I just saw on Facebook that Danny Pettry, M.S., CTRS, is now an Amazon Bestseller! Today, Discover Hidden Secret Wisdom was ranked in the top 50 books for self-help at Amazon.

The complete title of Danny's book is Hidden Secret Wisdom: A Recreational Therapist's System on How You Can Become Great at Anything!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

RTV Links Being Checked

I just received an email from IU Library administrator Julie Bobay that they are checking out the Recreation Therapy Video (RTV) links to make sure they are all in working order. I'll keep you posted on this.

RTI Conference Preregistration is Now Open

The 2009 Recreation Therapists of Indiana (RTI) Annual Conference will be held November 12 & 13 at the Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel at 11925 N. Meridian St., Carmel, IN 46032.

Preregistration is now open. Register by October 10th to receive a discount. See the RTI webpage for a registration form.

To receive the conference room rate at the Renaissance, call the hotel by October 21st. The number is (317) 816-0777.

Please direct any questions to RTI President Julie Foster at ctrsjulie@embarqmail.com

Monday, September 21, 2009

Links to RTV Videos

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the Recreation Therapy Videos (RTV) are available to be used in teaching and continuing education. They are available from Indiana University via streaming.

In checking them recently I found a few of the links were broken when I clicked on the titles of certain videos. Most links are okay but some didn't work when I tried them. I've asked the IU Library to check on this and fix any broken links. Hopefully, this will be done soon.

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

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Winston-Salem State TR Advisory Group

Last week it was my pleasure to meet as a member of the Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) TR Advisory Group. The meeting was lead by the TR Program Coordinator, Cynthia Stanley, Ph.D., LRT,CTRS. Other TR faculty attending were Jo Ann Coco-Ripp, Ph.D., CTRS, and Catherine Eilenberger, Ph.D.

Professor Himanshu Gopalan, Re.D.,the Associate Chair of the Department of Human Performance and Sport Sciences also attended. I've known Professor Gopalan for a number of years as he earned his doctorate at IU.

I have to admit it was good to be on a university campus and to become involved with the growing TR program at WSSU. There is a lot going on at WSSU, including the Homecoming event mentioned in an earlier post today.

Attention WSSU TR Alums

On October 30th Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) will hold a "Homecoming" event for graduates of the WSSU TR program. WSSU alums should contact department faculty for details.

The idea of holding homecoming events for alums of RT/TR programs seems like a good one. Please let the RT Blog know of any such events so information can be posted.

Friday, September 18, 2009

ATRA Deadline Extended to TODAY

I haven't had access to my email for a couple of days. I just read my email and discovered that ATRA had extended the deadline for conference registration to midnight tonight.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 15th is ATRA Registration Deadline

Today is the last day to get the reduced registration fee for the ATRA Annual Conference. So if you are going to ATRA, you should register today.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Research on Benefits of Physical Activity

Indiana University recently posted information on a study lead by Professor Bryan McCormick that suggests people with serious mental illnesses can benefit from low levels of physical activity. Even meager levels of physical activity can improve the mood of people with serious mental illnesses (SMI) such as bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia.

The study, published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry, both reinforces earlier findings that people with SMI demonstrate low levels of physical activity and supports the consideration of physical activity as a regular part of psychiatric rehabilitation. Physical activity was defined as any form of sustained movement, such as walking for transportation, gardening or formal exercise.

"We found a positive association between physical activity level and positive mood when low to moderate levels of physical activity are considered," said study author Bryan McCormick, associate professor in IU's Therapeutic Recreation Program. "Physical activity interventions that require lower levels of exertion might be more conducive to improving transitory mood, or the ups and downs people with SMI experience throughout the day."

I'm pleased to see this research that provides empirical evidence for practice in RT. This is exactly the type of research needed to advance RT. Congratulations Bryan and colleagues!

To read the full article:
"Predicting Transitory Mood From Physical Activity Level Among People With Severe Mental Illness in Two Cultures," International Journal of Social Psychiatry. 2008, 54: 527-538.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Impressed by UNCW

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the campus of the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). I want to tell you I was really impressed. It is a beautiful campus with many new buildings. Currently a new nursing building is under construction. It is bound to be among the best in the United States.

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to visit my old friend Terry Kinney, an RT professor who heads the Department of Health and Applied Human Services (HAHS) at UNCW. Terry is one of the top people in our profession and has attacted a strong recreation therapy faculty that includes Candy Ashton and Dan Johnson.

I must say that UNCW appears to be a great place for students to study recreation therapy. The campus is wonderful and the RT faculty is a fine one.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

ATRA Name Change to ARTA -- Please Comment

I was glad to see Mike Sutherland's comment on the September 2nd post regarding the ATRA name change to ARTA. I hope others will join Mike in commenting on the proposed name change.

Monday, September 07, 2009

It is Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day from the RT Blog! Enjoy!!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

ATRA Newsletter has Announcement on RTV Videos

In reading over the latest ATRA Newsletter I was pleased to see the announcement that the Recreation Therapy Videos (RTV) are available from Indiana University via streaming. A total of 23 RTV videos may be accessed.

Here is how to access them. To view any of the RTV videos viewers use the link https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/3378

Once at the link, simply click on the title of the video you wish to view. This will take you to the page for the video where you just click on the address and the video will come up for viewing.

Gonzaga da Gama Passes Away

I just read in the ATRA Newsletter of the death of Dr. Gonzaga da Gama (1962 - 2009). Gonzaga was an Associate Professor at San Jose State University. The tribute to Gonzaga indicated he died of a heart attack on June 29, 2009, while traveling abroad.

It was my pleasure to get to know Gonzaga. I found him to be a fine person who was very caring and committed to his students and profession. He will be greatly missed.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Veterans Summer Sports Clinic

The second annual National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic will be held from September 20-25 in San Diego. The clinic is aimed at introducing recently-injured Veterans to adaptive sports and renewing their self confidence through sporting activities. Events at this rehabilitation clinic include adaptive kayaking, sailing, track and field, cycling and surfing, using venues throughout San Diego, including the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

ATRA Name Change to ARTA to be Proposed

I recently learned that Dr. Frank Brasile will formally propose a name change for ATRA at the Annual Conference in Minnesota. The proposed name is the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA). Following the proposal there will be a period for consideration before an eletronic vote of the members is conducted. During this time articles will appear in the ATRA Newsletter on the topic of the name change.

Last year I conducted a "straw poll" of ATRA Past Presidents on a name change to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA). Of the 18 who were still members, 13 responded "yes" for the name change to ARTA, 4 voted "no." One abstained. Thus approximately three-quarters or 75% of ATRA Past Presidents were in favor of changing the name of ATRA to ARTA.

Reasons for Change to ARTA
There are many reasons for the name change to ARTA that 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.

Reasons Not to Change the Name
Of course, there are reasons some oppose a name change. Among these are:

1. The profession doesn't need controversy 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.

I hope that there is wide discussion of the name change among ATRA members. I will plan to regularly have posts on the RT Blog regarding the proposed name change. Please do comment should you wish to express your view on the name change.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

NIH Loan Repayment Program

Thanks to Professor Norma Stumbo for forwarding this information to be posted on the RT Blog:

Participants Receive Up to $35,000 Annually – Deadline is December 1, 2009

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) repays outstanding student loans through its extramural Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs). The LRPs target researchers who are or will be conducting nonprofit biomedical or behavioral research, and the application cycle opens September 1. The five extramural LRPs are Clinical Research, Pediatric Research, Health Disparities Research, Contraception and Infertility Research, and Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds. Applications will be accepted online until 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on December 1, 2009, at www.lrp.nih.gov

Please share this e-mail with researchers in your organization who may benefit from this career-enhancing opportunity. The December 1 deadline will approach quickly.

BENEFITS: New LRP contracts are awarded for a two-year period and repay up to $35,000of qualified educational debt annually. Tax offsets also are provided as an additional benefit. Participants may apply for competitive renewals, which are issued for one or two years. Undergraduate, graduate, medical school, and other health professional school loans qualify for repayment. An NIH grant or other NIH funding is not required to apply for or participate in the LRPs.

ELIGIBILITY: Applicants must possess a doctoral-level degree (with the exception of the Contraception and Infertility Research LRP); be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident; devote 20 hours or more per week to conducting qualified research funded by a university, nonprofit organization, or federal, state, or local government entity; and have qualified educational loan debt equal to or exceeding 20 percent of their institutional base salary.

AWARDS: Each year, some 1,600 research scientists benefit from the more than $70 million NIH invests in their careers through the extramural LRPs. Twenty-six percent of awards are made to individuals within one to five years of receiving their doctoral degree. More than 75 percent of awards go to individuals within 10 years of receiving their doctoral degree. Approximately 40 percent of new applications and 70 percent of renewal applications are funded.

QUESTIONS? Visit the LRP website at www.lrp.nih.gov for more information and to access the online application. For additional assistance, call or e-mail the LRP Information Center at (866) 849-4047 or lrp@nih.gov

Activity Therapy Conference -- and Concept

Did you know that the Michigan Activity Therapy Conference has been going on for 52 years? I must admit that I knew nothing about it until I saw it listed in the TR Directory Newsletter.

I am intrigued by the idea of an activity therapy conference involving not only RTs but therapists from sister professions such as occupational therapy, music therapy, and art therapy. What a great concept.

It makes my mind spin to think of the possibilities that could result if RTs, OTs, MTs and art therapists formed a professional organization. How about the American Activity Therapy Association (AATA)?

When I first entered the profession, RT was a department in the Activity Therapy Service of the state hospital, along with music therapy, occupational therapy, and vocational/industrial therapy. I've always thought that the concept of activity therapy was a good one.

What do you think? Any comments?

Where is the ATRA Newsletter?

I just received an eletronic copy of Charlie Dixon's TR Directory Newsletter which prompted me to wonder -- where is the July/August ATRA Newsletter?