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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Past-Presidents Favor Name Change

If you are pondering the name change issue, you may want to know that 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.

Name Change Vote Dec 4 - 18

ATRA Members will have the opportunity to vote on the name change to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA) December 4th to 5:00PM December 18th, 2009. Voting will occur electronically.

Only members of ATRA will be able to vote so if you are not now a member you may wish to join in order to have your voice heard on the name change.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Austin & Crawford Now Out in Chinese

I just received a box from Pearson Education publishers and opened it not knowing what might be inside. To my surprise I found three copies of the 3rd edition of the Austin & Crawford book Therapeutic Recreation: An Introduction -- in Chinese!

I had no idea that the book was being printed in a Chinese Traditional translation. It is wonderful to have an RT book being used in China and displays to me how our profession is growing. Pretty exciting!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1st. The World Health Organization established World AIDS Day in 1988.

This annual observance provides governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations, and individuals with an opportunity to raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic.

Turkey Day

Hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We just returned to the Hoosier state after visiting our daughter and her family in North Carolina. On our trip back to Indiana we saw our first snow of the season in the mountains of West Virginia -- really pretty.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Glossary of RT & OT Available Online

Just a reminder that the Glossary of Recreation Therapy and Occupational Therapy is now available at no cost via IUScholarworks at http://hdl.handle.net/2022/6474

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Danny Pettry Comment on Name Change

In case you missed Danny Pettry's recent comment, he said:

"I just read the association newsletter with the comments from members regarding the name change. I found it to be very interesting. I felt it has a strong favor for the change."

AAPD Summer Internship Program

Each year the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) hosts two Summer Internship Programs for College Students with Disabilities in Washington, DC, providing paid travel to and from DC, paid fully-accessible housing and living stipends. AAPD is now accepting applications for the 2010 Summer Internship programs. Application deadline is January 8, 2010.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Support for Exercise and Mental Health

I just ran across a literature review article that provides empriical evidence for exercise programs in mental health care. The article is "Exercise: A Neglected Intervention in Mental Health Care?"

The article appeared in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 11, 476 - 483, in 2004. The author is P. Callaghan.

I review the literature on the value of physical activity in treatment in the 6th edition of my book, Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques, if you are interested in further reading.

Recreation Therapists of Indiana Election Results

From Julie Foster come the election results for RTI.The board for 2009-10 is as follows:

President: Mindy Hawkins
President-elect: Marieke Van Puymbroeck
Treasurer: Laurie Lee
Secretary: Melissa Stinson
Members-at-large: Jenny Weber, Erin Smith, Mandy McQueeney, David Zapata

NTRS Hasn't Been Dissolved

NTRS president Brent Wolfe (Assistant Professor at Georgia Southern) contacted me to clarify that NTRS has not been dissolved. He indicated that NRPA has asked NTRS for a restructuring plan but no decisions have been made.Brent also clarified that the new ATRA definition of RT was not developed in cooperation with NTRS but was developed separately by ATRA.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

RT is probably more to the point...

Below is a post I made today on ATRA's Members' Forum:

In my continuing quest to locate information on RT vs. TR I came across an interview with Dr. Bernath Eugene Phillips (early advocate for our profession) by Jeff Mansfield.

In this interview Jeff asked Bernie which term he preferred, recreational therapy or therapeutic recreation.

This is what Dr. Phillips replied: “Well, I think recreational therapy really is probably more to the point because therapeutic recreation, anything can be therapeutic or not therapeutic and what's therapeutic mean?”

The complete interview, titled “My Dinner with Bernie,” may be found on Charlie Dixon’s TR/RT Directory.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

From Disability.gov comes this announcement:

The International Day of Persons with Disabiliites takes place on December 3, 2009. This annual observance promotes an understanding of disability issues, the rights of persons with disabilities and the gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Activities Directors' Quarterly Issues Call for MS

The Activities Directors' Quarterly for Alzheimer's and Other Dementias has issued a call for manuscripts. The Activities Directors' Quarterly publishes articles, lesson plans, program outlines, commentaries, and studies related to activities-based programs and research.

Manuscripts may be sent to Deborah Rines, Editorial Coordinator, at adq@pnpco.com or deborah_rines@pnpco.com

Professor Linda Buettner, Ph.D., LRT, CTRS, serves as Editor-In-Chief of the Activities Directors' Quarterly.

AJRT Seeking Manuscripts

American Journal of Recreation Therapy, an independent double-blind peer-reviewed print and online journal, welcomes original research manuscripts that contribute to the field of therapeutic and recreational therapies in the management of rehabilitation and quality of life for disabled persons of all ages. The journal also receives and publishes original papers regarding all uses of recreation therapy, as well as articles on the legal and regulatory issues surrounding this important field.

Manuscripts are accepted for review as original clinical or basic science research, case reports, clinical reviews, literature reviews, practical application, inservice updates and letters to the editor. Manuscript submission is handled electronically. To submit a manuscript, please follow this link to http://ajrt.allentrack2.net. For additional author guidelines and instructions please visit the journal's webpage, www.recreationtherapy.org .

American Journal of Recreation Therapy is the journal of record in the field and features a distinguished Editorial Review Board led by Editor-In-Chief, Professor Linda Buettner, PhD, LRT, CTRS.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Danny Pettry's Book on IU Alumni List

On the Indiana University Alumni Association nonfiction list of books written by Indiana University alumni is Danny Pettry's Discover Hidden Secret Wisdom. Danny received his M.S. from IU through IU's therapeuic recreation distance learning program.

Addresses for RTV Videos and Glossary of RT & OT

Just in case you need the addresses for the RTV videos and the Glossary of Recreation Therapy and Occupational Therapy -- both of which are available via IUscholarworks. Here are the addresses:

23 RTV videos are available via streaming at http://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/3378

My Glossary of Recreation Therapy and Occupational Therapy is available at http://hdl.handle.net/2022/6474

Monday, November 16, 2009

Call for Presentations

Oregon State Hospital's
Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists
Present the

Therapeutic Recreation Forum
April 22, 2010

We are currently working on our annual conference for Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS), called the Therapeutic Recreation Forum. It has a long history of being well attended and has been a primary source for continuing education for the entire Northwest region's CTRS professionals. We have set a date of April 22, 2010 and a downtown Salem location. Presentations will be 60 or 90 minutes.

We seek presenters to offer education that will increase our ability to be effective practitioners of Therapeutic Recreation. We seek a wide range of topics and interdisciplinary input. If you have such a presentation, please submit a proposal. Proposals should include a brief speaker's bios/résumés, a session outline, session outcomes and goals, and other general information about the sessions. Deadline for proposals is Wednesday, January 13, 2010.

Send Your Proposal to:

Kurtis G. Drake, MS, CTRS
Rehabilitation Therapist
Oregon State Hospital
2600 Center Street NE
Salem, OR 97301-2682
(503) 945-0981

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Researcher Tindle

I had good luck in finding the research study cited in the Parade article mentioned in the post of a few minutes ago. The research was published in Circulation, Volume 120(8), 25 August 2009, pp 656-662. The title of the article is "Optimism, Cynical Hostility, and Incident Coronary Heart Disease and Mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative."

In locating the article I learned that Dr. Tindle has also conducted studies on guided imagery, mindfulness meditation, and other complementary therapies that may be of interest to RTs.

Optimism Powerful Medicine

Did you see the article in today's Parade magazine titled "Why Optimism is Powerful Medicine"? It reports research on the power of optimism in affecting health. The article does point out that pessimists can learn to become optimistic.

I have written that RTs can play a large role in helping clients to become more optimistic. See my chapter on control in Conceptual Foundations for Therapeutic Recreation by Austin, Dattilo and McCormick.

Dr. Hilary Tindle is listed as the lead author of the research study. I'll see if I can locate anything on the origional research and will pass it along if I can. Martin Seligman is quoted extensively in the Parade article.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why ARTA Rather Than ATRA

I've thought through my personal position on the ATRA name change to ARTA. I've decided that my position is simple. Recreational therapy is a term people understand. People never have been able to relate to the term therapeutic recreation. All philosophy asside, I think ARTA will serve the profession much better than ATRA has.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Glossary of RT & OT Now Available from IUScholarworks

This is to know announce that my Glossary of Recreation Therapy and Occupational Therapy is now up on IUScholarworks. IUScholarworks is a free service made available by the Indiana University Library.

The address is http://hdl.handle.net/2022/6474

IUScholarworks is the same service that has made the RTV videos avaiable.

I hope faculty will tell their students that the Glossary of RT & OT is now avaiable as at no cost to them. Hopefully, practitioners will let other RTs know that they can now access the Glossary at any time.

I'm really excited to make my Glossary available to anyone who wishes to access it. I am very appreciative that the Indiana University Library is willing to make it available through IUScholarworks.

David R. Austin, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Indiana University

Monday, November 09, 2009

RTI Reminders

A couple of reminders. The ballot for the RTI Board election is due by Wednesday. And the RTI Annual Conference begins Thursday.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Just Posted on ATRA Members' Forum

In response to a post by Norma Stumbo, I just posted the following on ATRA's Members' Forum:

Wow, Norma really gave it all she had in her recent post! While I have great respect for her efforts on behalf of our profession, I found her presentation of the implications of using the expression recreational therapy to be misleading in several respects.

I do believe she largely built “straw men” arguments against RT and then knocked them down. For example, she stated RT implies a medical model approach. This simply is NOT true. The use of the term RT does imply a systematic approach that involves assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation. On the other hand the term therapeutic recreation is often construed (especially by OTs and others who oppose us) to mean simply the delivery of recreation services to persons who are disabled.

Another assertion is that RT implies “a strict focus on the client’s deficits and limitations instead of also leveraging the client’s strengths….” Nothing could be further from the truth. RT has always employed a strength-based approach focusing on clients’ strengths and abilities.

A third misrepresentation of RT is that the focus of recreational therapy is only on “functional ability” to the neglect of community reintegration and building social skills, including leisure skills. She even goes so far as to raise whether this will “shut us out of jobs? Out of a future.” Come on! Most would acknowledge that one of the hallmarks of RTs has always been their holistic approach that goes far beyond functional abilities. And employing such scare tactics about people’s jobs is a bit much. I believe that the use of the term therapeutic recreation has slowed down the growth of our profession and that using the term recreational therapy will lead to increased credibility being given to our profession.

The statement that there would be a large financial cost for the name change is simply not true according to what those in ATRA have stated (see Kelly’s post). And I sincerely believe that the thousands who call themselves recreational therapists will join our professional association once they see it as an organization that actually represents them and their profession.

Finally, in the post it was stated that “The overwhelming majority of educators and university administrators support the use of therapeutic recreation” but there is no source cited for this statement. I do not believe it is true. The vast majority of educators I have spoken with FAVOR the name change.

I could go on in discussing what I believe to be other misunderstandings of recreational therapy contained in the post. I would rather ask ATRA members to read the positive posts of nationally prominent leaders such as John Jacobson, Peg Connolly, Thom Skalko, Ray West, and Vicki Scott -- all of whom endorse the name change.

There are many reasons to support the name change to ARTA. If you look back historically you will realize that our wonderful profession has not grown as it should have while we stuck with the TR term -- a term that has not served us well. It is time for change!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Scott Favors ARTA But Will Support Our Association No Matter the Vote

I wanted to share what I think is an excellent post from Vicki Scott, M.S., CTRS, that appeared on the ATRA Members'Forum. Vicki wrote:

There have been many eloquent speakers post their thoughts on the name change to date so I will be brief. Since I started in the field in the 70's I have been a recreational therapist because that was the term that the consumers understood whether they were patients, co-workers on the team, administrators or legislators. The emphasis being on the therapy aspect in returning patients to independence. Therefore I think that our professional association should reflect this name and I would like us to think about taking it even further to become the International Recreational Therapy Association.However the vote turns out I will continue to support our profession by being involved in the organization.

RT Blog Has Had 900 Posts

This post is the 900th post on the RT Blog! I never would have thought that there would be so many posts when I began the RT Blog. Thanks for sending information for the RT Blog and for reading the RT Blog!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Many Support Name Change to ARTA

What do David Austin, Frank Brasile, Peg Connolly, John Jacobson, Dave Park,Danny Pettry, Thom Skalko, Mike Sutherland, and Ray West have in common? These are some of those who have already publicly supported the name change of ATRA to ARTA. I just learned that my long-time friend Vicki Scott supports the name change as well.

It seems to me that there is a strong movement toward the name change to ARTA. Do you agree?

ATRA Leader John Jacobson on Name Change

There was a post from John M. Jacobson on the ATRA Members' Forum that is worth reading. Here is what John said:

I commend the Board of Directors for using this forum for active membership discussion, and for not taking an stand on the issue at this point. The discussion has been great and is bringing me out of retirement, well for the moment.

When this issue first came up many years ago, I remember writing a letter to then ATRA President Thom Skalko urging that the name not be changed, but remain ATRA. I was very wrong.

Alot has happened since then. Thanks to alot of dedicated people in our profession, our profession has really evolved. When I first started practicing, my title was "Rec Specialist", then "Therapeutic Recreation Specialist" in the VA, which soon changed to Recreational Therapist. In my career, I have been heavily involved in working on a national level with APTA, AOTA, CARF, etc. No one can refute that we are now largely known as "recreational therapists", and we practice "recreational therapy". It is a term well understood and known by our important external customers. As others have pointed out, it does not matter which word is first. Just look at the first words for physical, occupational, and speech therapists. What is important is that therapy is next to it.

When a person not affiliated with our profession hears the word "therapeutic" it brings to mind the definition "...is good, helpful, healthful". It is a vague word meant to be that way. A dog can be therapeutic. Alot of people not trained or certified can do therapuetic recreation. But "therapy" by definition means "treatment of illness, disability". What we do is therapy. We treat patients or clients whether in a facility or in the community.

I understand it is often difficult to make changes. Our professional organization has been "ATRA" for 25 years. But we must make this change, and change our name to the American Recreational Therapy Association to truly reflect who and what we are. I doubt that any costs will be substantial in this day of quick, immediate and easy electronic changes. That should not be a concern. In the long run, it would be pennies worth their weight in gold.

When the vote occurs, I hope all members will take the time to think about the issue, and make an informed vote.

My best to all.

John M. Jacobson

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Heather Sedletzeck Sends Good News

From Heather J. Sedletzeck, CTRS, comes this good news:

Hey All,

I was reviewing the newest Indiana First Steps program - Personnel Guide that came out in August and noted that Recreational Therapy is now a listed service in the manual! yahoo!!!! It wasn't in there prior to this update so something we have done has been right! I have 5 staff (including myself) certified at this point with more to come. I hear that my competitors who do home based therapy in the state are certifying their staff as well. This is a GREAT gain for Recreational Therapy in this state and will hopefully lead to increased recognition throughout the country in the area of Early Intervention Practice!

Chalk one up for Indiana! ha ha!

Have a great day!!!

Heather provided this link to a website that provides further information:


Heather J. Sedletzeck, CTRS, President
RT Solutions Inc.

Support for Peg and Ray

I just voiced my personal support on the ATRA Members' Forum for the message provided by Peg Connolly and Ray West. Here is what I posted:

I greatly respect and admire Peg Connolly and Ray West for admitting they made a mistake when initially adopting the use of TR in the name of our association. We have paid dearly for that error over more than 25 years.

As a founding member, past board member, past-president, and Distinguished Fellow of ATRA, I can testify that our profession has suffered for not adopting the use of RT in the name of our professional association. It is time we followed the sage advice of Peg and Ray, as founders and the first presidents of our association, to adopt the name change to ARTA.

David R. Austin
ATRA Founding Member

Connolly & West Support Name Change

Peg Connolly and Ray West have indicated their support of the name change to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA). Here is what they have said:

As the first presidents of ATRA, in 1984-85 and 1985--86, we want to provide members with our shared perspective and support for changing the name of the organization to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ATRA).
In 1984 if the group of founders of the organization would not have been concerned about the potential survival of a new professional organization we would have probably chosen the name American Recreational Therapy Association in 1984. This was something we struggled with at the time. We felt it important to truly represent our profession and it should have probably been recreational therapy. But, in hind sight, we did not take the bold action we should have back in 1984. Now, we think it is long overdue that the name of the organization should reflect and promote the goals, mission and priorities of the organization to stakeholders in the industry that employs professionals to provide the services. Which is why we support the change of the organization to the American Recreational Therapy Association.

Since it's inception ATRA has been focused on the promoting and advancing the understanding of the profession in the "education, rehabilitation, habilitation and medical treatment of individuals in need of services (ATRA Membership Recruitment Brochure, 1984). The correct and prevalent term used for the type and focus of the services our professionals provide in health care and human service agencies is recreational therapy. Since promoting and advancing the recreational therapy profession in health care and human service agencies is the primary purpose and priority of ATRA and this is reflected in the mission, vision, values, definition and in the organization's budget priorities and focus we believe the name of the organization should reflect this priority and focus and be changed to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ATRA).

Besides thinking about where we work (which is primarily in health care agencies according to recent research (Riley and Connolly, 2007), the title recreational therapy has been the official title of the profession used not only by the Department of Labor but also as designated in the U.S. Department of Occupational Titles. We believe most professionals working in health care refer to themselves as recreational therapists. We further believe that the stakeholders in the health care and human service industry primarily use and understand the term recreational therapy.

So to enhance understanding and increase support for the recreational therapy profession and the services which competent, qualified and credentialed recreational therapists provide, we believe the name of the national professional association representing us should be consistent and should be changed to ARTA, We feel this name change is in the best business interests of the professional association, the profession and the recreational therapists who provide quality recreational therapy services in health care and human service agencies.

Peg Connolly and Ray West

Monday, November 02, 2009

Heewon Yang is College Teacher of the Year

I just learned that Professor Heewon Yang was honored as "College Teacher of the Year" for his college at Southern Illinois University. This is great news and I am sure the award is very much deserved.

Heewon did his Ph.D. with us at IU. All of us faculty thought he was a wonderful graduate student and our undergraduate students found him to be an excellent teacher even back then. Congratulations Heewon!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

ARTA is a Business Decision Says Skalko

Below is the most recent post on the ATRA Members' Forum regarding the name change. Thom Skasko authored it. I'm passing it along on the RT Blog for those who may not have read it. Here it is:

I would like to encourage that members vote to change the name of the Association to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA).

As a Founding Member of the Association, I am inclined to engage in a historical perspective of the Association and it’s evolution, but that is less important than why the name change is a critical business decision that needs to happen now. I base much of this position on my years of experience in public policy.

A review of the Association’s mission, vision, and definition all reflect the commitment to the provision of recreational therapy services as a treatment modality, regardless of where it is practiced.

It is time for the Association to make a sound business decision consistent with health care practices today and to adopt the name, the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA).

Answer the following questions:
What do you call yourself in your work place? Some call themselves a TR but in an ATRA membership survey as early as 1992 (See Skalko, 1992 May/June, ATRA Newsletter) the majority of practitioners in the Association called themselves “Recreational Therapists”.
What was the title of the ATRA Medicare Project? Answer: The ATRA Recreational Therapy Medicare Project. The reason that term was chosen was because that is the title of the profession/services the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses.
What is the title used by the Federal government for our discipline? Answer: Recreational Therapist. See the U.S. Department of Labor for titles. In addition, recreational therapist is under allied health disciplines.
What association represents recreational therapists? Answer: The American Therapeutic Recreation Association. Shouldn’t the Association that represents recreational therapists adopt consistent nomenclature with it’s constituents?

This is NOT a philosophical decision. This IS a business decision. If 85% of recreational therapists work in health care environments and if the Federal Government lists us as recreational therapists (CMS, Department of Labor), and if the vision, mission, and definition of the Association reflects recreational therapy, we should make a sound and congruent business decision.

And, yes, individuals delivering services in community parks and recreation can also provide treatment/intervention services as well as other integrative services and are recreational therapists.