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.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hope to Share Info Soon

Right now two professional developments are "in the works" for me. I'll let you know about them just as soon as things are finalized -- which should be soon.

And there is a third development in process that holds great promise. I'll let you know about all of these as soon as I can.

I'm glad that I still have somethings to get excited about -- even though I'm retired from IU!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Commendable Effort by ATRA

I just received an email message from ATRA with several updates. One part of the message dealt with job loss. I believe ATRA's effort to reach out to members is admirable. The message follows:

Dear ATRA Members:

In these difficult times, the ATRA Board hears that some of its members have lost their job due to a reduction in force. These events concern our Board and the ATRA Association. As the national professional Association representing recreational therapy/therapeutic recreation, we would like to ask that if you or anyone you know has lost their job due to the economic times, regulatory policy, or other hardship, please let ATRA know the story. While we cannot create positions, we may be able to offer networking support or a listening ear.

ATRA is concerned for the welfare of our members, tell us your story and we will try to reach out. Please contact the national office at 601-450-ATRA (2872) or via email. One of our Board members will be in touch to listen to your challenge and to explore a means in which we may assist.

ATRA Newsletter Out Next Week

Danny Pettry, M.S.,CTRS,asked when the next ATRA Newsletter would be coming out. I have been wondering the same thing myself.

I checked with the ATRA Office where they reported the Newsletter will be out next week.

Deadline Extended to April 14

Mental Health America is a leading nonprofit dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives. With a century of service to America and more than 300 affiliates nationwide, they represent a national movement that promotes mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation-everyday and in times of crisis. I thought some might be interested to read an announcement from the organization. It follows:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 25, 2010)-Mental Health America encourages journalists and media professionals to submit national, state, local and student news and feature stories in print, online radio, television and film for the 2010 Media Awards.

Details, including categories and a downloadable entry form, are available at http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/about-us/pressroom/media-awards/2010-media-awards. The deadline for submissions has been extended to April 14, 2010. This year, the number of categories has been expanded to include national websites, local/regional websites and blogs.

Each June at its Annual Conference, Mental Health America recognizes excellence in reporting and portrayals of mental health issues from the previous year.

Entries are judged by a committee of peers selected by Mental Health America for their knowledge of mental health issues, demonstrated excellence in reporting and editorial experience.

Mental Health America will notify winners by the second week in May and will honor those winners at a Media Awards luncheon on Saturday, June 12, 2010, during the 2010 Mental Health America Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. For questions or additional information, contact mediaawards@mentalhealthamerica.net.

Contact: Steve Vetzner, (703) 797-2588 or svetzner@mentalhealthamerica.net

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Get Fredrickson's Positivity

I was at Borders yesterday and found that Barbara Fredrickson"s book, Positivity, is now out in paperback. I would urge all RTs to get a copy because it takes her positive psychology research and puts it into useful form -- that can easily be applied in recreational therapy.

Because it is in paperback, the cost of the book in only $14.00 but if you go to Borders in the next few days you may be able to take advantage of the "educators' discount" promotion. Using my educators' discount, I paid only $10.49, with tax, for the book.

While I would categorize Positivity as a psychology book, my Borders had it in the self-help section. I hope you will find it and read it as it is a great book that has much to say to RTs.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Faculty -- Listen Up!

Faculty who have not urged their star students to apply for a Peg Connolly Scholarship need to do so quickly. March 31, 2010, is the deadline for RT/TR students to apply for a Peg Connolly Scholarship for the 2010 ATRA Annual Conference.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Got in My ATRA Membership

I received a notice in the mail from ATRA reminding me it was time to pay my membership dues. In fact, the letter stated it was a second reminder. I honestly can't recall getting the first notice -- but I have to assume one was sent to me. At any rate, I wrote out the check for my membership dues and mailed it in.

Going through this process reminded me of the importance of each of us continuing to support our national professional association. It is a matter of professionalism to be a member of a professional society.

I believe we should be members of both our national and state professional associations. I'm proud to say that I am a Founding Member of both the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) and the Recreation Therapists of Indiana (RTI).

ATRA Members' Forum

If you are like me, you may forget to go to the ATRA website to check the Members' Forum. The Members' Forum provides members opportunities to post information and for other members to comment on the posts.

One forum is dedicated to educators. There are others as well, such as ATRA Affiliate Chapters, Public Policy, Past Presidents, and ATRA Fellows.

A problem with the Members' Forum is that it is not easy to locate. You have to first click on "Networking." Then a list of Networking areas will come up.The list includes the Members' Forum. Click on it to get into the Members' Forum where you will see the various forums, including the one for educators.

Perhaps you will want to go to the ATRA website to check out the Members' Forum for yourself, if you haven't done so or haven't checked on it for awhile.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Call for MSs: Activities Directors' Quarterly

Linda Buettner, PhD, LRT, CTRS, Editor-in-Chief of the Activities Directors' Quarterly for Alzheimer's and Other Dementias has issued a call for manuscripts.

Activities Directors Quarterly specializes in providing meaningful therapeutic activities for the care of older adults in long-term care settings with Alzheimer's disease as well as all types of dementia.

Activities Directors' Quarterly publishes articles, lesson plans, program outlines, commentaries, and studies related to activities-based programs and research which would be of interest to activities directors, occupational therapists, and other professionals in long-term care, transitional care, and assisted-living facilities.

Dr. Buettner has stated:
Our goal is to provide relevant, high quality information from diverse sources and to serve as effectively as possible the needs of those involved in activities programs for people with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias. If you have information, articles, or manuscripts that would help us achieve these goals, we would like to hear from you.

Send your manuscripts to adq@pnpco.com

Character Strengths and Disorders Research

An article in the Journal of Positive Psychology (January 2006, 1(1), 17 – 26) by Peterson, Park, and Seligman has possible implications for RTs. The title of the article is “Greater Strengths of Character and Recovery from Illness.”

The authors concluded the following:
“In sum, the bad news is that illness and disorder take a toll on both strengths of character and life satisfaction. The good news is that these effects only last until the crisis runs its course and recovery occurs. Recovered individuals may then show
elevated strengths of character that contribute to renewed life satisfaction. Bravery, kindness, and humor are associated with a return to life satisfaction
in the case of physical illness, as are appreciation of beauty and love of learning in the case of psychological disorder. We suggest that deliberate interventions
to increase these particular strengths may help people flourish following a major health crisis.” (p. 25)

Deadline for Peg Connolly Scholarships

Heather Sedletzeck, CTRS, sent out a reminder that March 31, 2010, is the deadline for TR students to apply for a Peg Connolly Scholarship for the 2010 ATRA Annual Conference.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

IU's Marieke Van Puymbroeck Conducts Stroke Research

This morning's Bloomington Herald-Times newspaper contained a front-page story on Marieke Van Puymroeck's research on a rehab program for TIAs. For those who don't know Marieke, she is a professor of therapeutic recreation at Indiana University.

It is exciting for me to see the research of one of our own featured in a newspaper story. I've already sent Marieke an email message of congratulations.

To provide a sense of her research, in this post, I'm including the information that follows -- which was taken from an I.U. press release on Marieke's research:

Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA) are often called “mini strokes” for good reasons – the short-term symptoms can mimic a stroke and up to 10% of first-time sufferers often experience full-blown strokes within as little as 90 days. Despite the well-known statistics, no post-TIA regimen exists to help prevent future strokes -- but this might be changing.

Indiana University researcher Marieke Van Puymbroeck has discussed preliminary—and promising -- findings that a modified version of cardiac rehabilitation was effective at addressing some of the risk factors for stroke in just six weeks. The most common risk factors for stroke – hypertension, physical inactivity, elevated lipids and diabetes – also are leading risk factors for heart disease.

Van Puymbroeck, one of four researchers discussing TIA-related research during a press conference at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2010, is teaming up with Bloomington Hospital, in Bloomington, Ind., to look for a possible post-TIA treatment. She said more research and treatment options are needed to help people who experience a TIA reduce their risk for stroke, which can be debilitating and deadly.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Maureen Fleetwood (1956 - 2010)

It is with great sadness that I have to report that Maureen Fleetwood passed away peacefully on March 10, 2010. Maureen was a wonderful RT who was held in the highest regard by all who knew her.

Her obituary stated Maureen was energetic and was a postive influence on those who knew her. It went on to say: "Her boundless spirit and capacity to give selflessly to others are the lasting impression she leaves with those she touched." All of this is certainly true. Maureen was one of the brightest and most perceptive persons I've had the pleasure to know. And she was certainly one of the most giving people I've ever known.

Maureen obtained her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Therapeutic Recreation from Indiana University and held positions at Valle Vista, Hooverwood Nursing Home in Indianapolis, and Bloomington Hospital. She was a member of the Clinical Faculty of Indiana University and a founder of the Recreation Therapists of Indiana.

I will greatly miss and forever fondly remember Maureen Fleetwood.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I just came to know that the AAHPERD Annual Convention will be held this coming week (March 16 - 20) in Indianapolis. It will be the 125th AAHPERD Annual Convention.

Here the AAHPERD Annual Conventions is just up the road and I wasn't aware of it. This displays to me just how much our profession has changed over the years. I attended several AAHPERD Conventions earlier in my career -- but times have changed for the better in that we RTs now have focused meetings to attend.

Canadian ATRA Symposium in October

Glenn Skimming, from the Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association, has contacted me about speaking at the ATRA Annual Provincial Symposium to be held in Calgary, Alberta, October 15 and 16, 2010. I'm excited to receive the invitation and look forward to once again visiting Canada and joining our neighbor's to the North for the Symposium. I'll fill in RT Blog readers with more details as they emerge.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

McCormick Awarded Fulbright

Bryan P. McCormick, Ph.D, CTRS, Coordinator of Therapeutic Recreation at Indiana University has been awarded a Fulbright Award for a Combined Research/Lecturer Award Fall 2010 assigned to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Kragujevac, Kragujevac Serbia.

The title of Dr. McCormick’s research is “Social context and schizophrenia in a changing system of services: The role of urbanization in the functioning of Serbians with schizophrenia.” McCormick will begin his research during the fall term of the 2010-11 academic year.

Congratulations, Bryan, on this high award!

Call for Presentations Now April 15th

The ATRA website indicates that the call for Annual Conference papers deadline has been extended! Submissions are now due by April 15, 2010.

ATRA's 2010 annual conference will be held September 12-15 in Spokane!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

New Disability Status Report

Norma Stumbo sent the following along for posting on the RT Blog:

Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute (EDI) will host a free online webinar on March 17th from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EDT to present the findings of the 2008 Disability Status Report. The free webinar will explore recently released 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) data related to disability and employment, education, poverty, household income and labor earnings.

WHO: Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute
WHAT: Free Online Webinar on Disability Statistics
WHEN: March 17th from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EDT
WHY: Cornell University researchers will present the latest information and issues associated with disability statistics and the circumstances that people with disabilities face.
WHERE: To register for this free webinar, please go to: www.DisabilityStatistics.org

Significant changes were made to the 2008 ACS survey, including a completely new set of disability questions. These important changes will be discussed, along with several new topics, including health insurance coverage and veterans service-connected disability-rating.

Cornell research found that in 2008, 39.5 percent of working-age (21-64) people with disabilities were employed, compared with the 79.9 percent of people without disabilities. Moreover, researchers found that 25.3 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities lived in poverty, compared to 9.6 percent of those without disabilities. These dramatic discrepancies are longstanding and continue to separate Americans with disabilities from their peers without disabilities. The relevance of these statistics to the process of developing and maintaining policies that relate to people with disabilities in the United States cannot be overstated.

The Employment and Disability Institute at the Cornell University ILR School has been funded in this effort by the U.S. Department of Education National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) (Grant No. H1338B980038) for a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Don't Throw It Away!

While I was thinking about RT history, I ran across an announcement from a profession interested in retaining historic information.

In their announcement they reminded us that almost any valuable historical information, in almost any format, can be of value and can be saved. If you have materials in any of the following forms, it can be digitized: DVD, CD, VHS, beta, reel-to-reel films, film-strips, slides, audio cassette tapes.

The ATRA achieves are the natural place to maintain historic RT documents but I don't believe ATRA is ready to receive information at this time. But do save it because it is too valuable to be lost.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Collect Oral Histories for RT?

I am familiar with a couple of oral history projects that are underway – one with retired faculty at I.U. and one with pioneers in vocational rehab. Knowing about these oral history projects made me wonder why we in RT haven’t collected oral histories from some of the pioneers in our profession.

As a part of the Recreation Therapy Video (RTV) federal video project, we were able to interview several pioneers, including Al Grubb, Lloyd Roberts, Dave Park, and Gary Robb. Their remarks appear in two of the history RTV videos. It would be good however to have further reflections from these men, along with others.

Perhaps I can complete interviews with some of the leaders from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. One person I would enjoy interviewing is Jerry Kelley, who was a prominent national figure in our profession in the 1960s and 1970s. I may take my video recorder the next time I see Jerry.

Perhaps you know some of the early leaders in our profession. If you do, I hope you’ll think about interviewing them.

I am more than open to developing a set of interview questions to use in oral history interviews with RT/TR pioneers if anyone else is interested. I'll see what I can locate in terms of the interview questions I.U. is using and if I can find them, I'll pass them along on the RT Blog.

Where Are the Profs?

One of the issues that came up in my discussion with the GVSU students on Thursday was the need for improving RT/TR curricula. I am extremely frustrated by the lack of progress in the area of curriculum reform.

It really concerns me that university faculty have not stepped up to the plate in terms of improving our curriculum standards. At the same time, OT has gone to a master's degree as a minimum requirement. PT has moved to a practice doctorate. Yet, we can't even bring about any significant curriculum reform at the bachelor's degree level!

This is a sad state of affairs. Just where are the profs?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Interview with Grand Valley State University Students

I just completed a telephone interview with Denise, Marilynn, Lindsay, and Christa --all TR students of Professor Kari Kensinger at Grand Valley State University. I found the students a delightful group with whom to interact.

I only wish we would have had more time to discuss their questions in more depth and that I could have learned about their views on the topics they raised.

I must admit that one of the things I really miss in my retirement is getting to regularly interact with TR students. It was good to be asked by the GVSU students to talk with them about my views. I really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Today is End the R-word Awareness Day

(The following was taken from Disability.gov)


End the R–word Awareness Day encourages people to pledge their support at www.r–word.org with the goal of ending society's use of the word "retard(ed)" in a derogatory manner. Source: Special Olympics (http://www.specialolympics.org/spread-the-word-to-end-the-word.aspx) February 24, 2010

The R–word was first recorded in 1426 as a verb meaning a "fact or action of making slower in movement or time." It was not until 1895 that people began using the term as a noun. Source: Mental Health Care Inc., Historical Terms for Mental Retardation (https://www.mhcinc.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=10353) 2010

On July 25, 2003, in celebration of the 13th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 12994 renaming the President's Committee on Mental Retardation to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Source: President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, Reports to the President, A Charge We Have to Keep, 2004

"The name change is not just cosmetic. Words are powerful. Changing them can make a difference in people's attitudes, understanding and self-esteem." Source: President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, Reports to the President, A Charge We Have to Keep, 2004

1000 Posts on the RT Blog

The next post on the RT Blog will be 1001! It hardly seems possible that that many posts have been made. Thanks to all who follow the RT Blog.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Award Nominations Deadline Extended

I just noticed on the ATRA home page that the deadline for ATRA award nominations has been extended to July 1, 2010.

Monday, March 01, 2010

ATRA in Spokane...Newletter Anticipated Anyday

ATRA has announced its 2010 Annual Conference will be held September 12-15, 2010, in Spokane. A tentative program and pre-registration should be available by June.

Jean Folkerth informed me that the next issue of the ATRA Newletter is scheduled to come out around the first of March - so we should find the Newsletter on the ATRA website any day.

Stumbo Announces Annual Call for Manuscripts

Editor Norma Stumbo has announced a "Call for Manuscripts" for the Annual in Therapeutic Recreation - Volume 19.

The deadline for submission is March 8, 2010. The new 6th edition of the APA Style Manual will be the accepted format.

The formal announcement follows:

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association is pleased to invite the submission of manuscripts for the Volume 19 of the Annual in Therapeutic Recreation, the official research journal of the association. The purpose of the Annual is to further advance the body of knowledge of the therapeutic recreation profession by creating new knowledge and understandings in practice and in education. The Annual publishes a wide range of original, peer-reviewed articles such as:

• Evidence-based practice/Empirical studies
• Systematic reviews
• Application of theories or models to practice and education
• Program or service evaluations/Case studies
• Methodological reviews
• Current issues and trends in service delivery or education
• Innovations in service delivery or education
• Practice protocols