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.