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, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Ray West's Message to ATRA Board

I asked Ray West if I might post his response on the proposed ATRA "model" on the RT Blog and he gave me his permission. It appears below:

ATRA Board of Directors,

I have offered comments on this model before and the model hasn't changed much since my last comments. See the attached message. What has changed is there is no need for ATRA to establish this model. This model was Initially proposed when the ATRA Board of Directors was considering a 'merger' with NTRS, which was not possible, and now NTRS is no longer a branch of NRPA. There is no value in establishing this model, it will not attract membership (anyone can join ATRA now) and it will likely drive membership away from ATRA. The proposed model is what contributed to the ineffectiveness and eventual demise of NTRS and what helped to establish ATRA. The model is theoretical, not factual, and it is not an accurate reflection of the profession or of practice.

Specifically, slide 5 is more misinformation that seems to reflect little understanding of where most practitioners work or what most practitioners do in their daily work. This type of misinformation significantly undermines the work of the Public Policy Team with CMS and will hurt efforts to have CMS improve regulations or guidance regarding recreational therapy practice.

Slide 6 is simply not accurate. Look at NCTRC and DOL statistics that describe where practitioners work and what they do.

Slide 7 is not consistent with the ATRA definition of recreational therapy. Treatment services do not "define and promote..." Recreational therapy is the use of structured interventions, by qualified and competent recreational therapists, to restore, remediate and rehabilitate specific aspects of patients'/clients' physical, cognitive, social and emotional functioning to improve functioning and independence in life activities. Recreational therapy, as defined by ATRA, is consistent with the CMS definition of active treatment. The proposed model represents the type of inconsistent communication by some in the profession that reflects a lack of understanding of health care which results in limited recognition and limited support of recreational therapy by JC, CARF and CMS. If this model is applied it will further diminish CMS, JC, and CARF recognition and support of recreational therapy. The result will be a loss of recreational therapy positions in health care settings.

Slide 9 implies that there are enough ATRA members interested in recreation and inclusion services to create a bureaucratic structure to respond to both types of services (recreation and treatment). If implemented this model will create an inefficient and ineffective manner of operation that will reduce resources and focus on recreational therapy which has far greater needs and greater numbers of practitioners that those who work in recreation settings.

This model persists in describing that it will 'unify' the profession when in reality this model is what divides the profession. There is substantial professional literature and health care literature to support the view that the proposed model is not consistent with practice in health care settings and divides the profession. Advancing recreational therapy services in health care settings is what the focus of ATRA should be and why ATRA was created.

Why does the ATRA Board of Directors continue to demonstrate more support for the Joint Task Force views in advancing the proposed model than it does for ATRA Past Presidents' views on this model?


Ray E. West, LRT/CTRS
ATRA Founding Member, ATRA Past President and ATRA Distinguished Fellow

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Productive Scholars Remain So throughout Their Careers

I just read an article in the October issue of American Psychologist titled “The Graying of Academia: Will it Reduce Scientific Productivity?” The answer is a resounding NO!

Productive researchers stay productive until they decide to stop their work. If we can apply these findings to RT, with the aging population of RT scholars, it is good to learn that those who have been productive are expected to remain productive even late in their careers.

Friday, October 29, 2010

ATRA Board Appears to Fail to Listen

ATRA Past-Presidents have told me that the current ATRA Board disregards their advice. I am sorry that this is the case because the past-presidents have gained a great deal of wisdom from their experiences and have much to share with today's younger, less experienced leaders.

It is apparent to me that the current ATRA Board should consult with the early past-presidents of ATRA and the Founding Members of ATRA to gain insights on how ATRA came about. I believe this would be helpful and if today's board did this they might quickly drop the proposed "model."

Position Opening in Indiana

RT Solutions, Inc. is seeking a CTRS for a part time position. This position does have the potential to become full time.

The position is for a home-based therapist to deliver services to clients with developmental disabilities. We serve clients of all ages and abilities! The service area for these positions is Vigo, Sullivan & Clay Counties.

RT Solutions Inc., has been providing Recreational Therapy services in Indiana under the Medicaid waiver for 7 years. We pride ourselves on providing the most cutting edge treatments the clients we serve.

For more information about our company, please check out our website at: www.rtsolutionsinc.com

If interested in the above listed positions, please send your resume and references to: Heather Sedletzeck at heatherctrs@bizma.rr.com

Potential for interviews to be conducted at the Recreation Therapists of Indiana Conference, November 4 & 5, 2010!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ATRA Model Should Not be Accepted

I have expressed my view to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association leadership that the proposed model for our association should not be accepted. In fact, the notion of the model should not be taken forward and should be put to rest now.

Being "all things to all people," as stated by then NTRS president Gary Robb in the 1980s, is not a good idea and in no way defines our profession. And this is exactly what the proposed model does.

We should not repeat the mistake that was made when NTRS attempted to be "all things to all people." This approach was a major factor leading to the formation of ATRA. ATRA should now consider its roots and avoid making the same mistake. (For more detail on the formation of ATRA please see my early history of ATRA available via the ATRA website.)

I hope that whether you agree with me or not, that you will contact the ATRA Board to provide your view on the model -- and while you are at it please suggest that much more public debate transpire prior to any vote being taken on the proposed model. There is no rush at all for us to adopt the model and so much debate is needed prior to considering what I am sure is a bad idea.

RT for Persons with Diabetes

Recently I've read newpaper accounts that state as many as 1 in 3 American adults may have diabetes by 2050. This would be a threefold increase. Today an estimated 24 million Americans have diabetes.

What does this say to RTs? I'm not an expert on diabetes but I would think that RTs who work in this area should step forward to take the lead in developing interventions for those with diabetes. And researchers should then test the interventions to determine their efficacy.

It seems to me that RT exercise programs for persons with diabetes could be developed and tested and the results published so that RT is seen as an option in treating diabetes. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CTRA Issues Call for Presentations

The Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association (CTRA) recently announced a call for presentations for the 2011 CTRA Conference to be held May 25-27 at Whistler, BC. The announcment follows.

The British Columbia Therapeutic Recreation Association (BCTRA) and the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association (CTRA) are proud to host the 15th Annual CTRA Conference. This conference will provide the power to excite and re-ignite your TR passion. Please join us this spring at the Four Seasons in Whistler!

Give credit to the process. Whether it’s the process of planning interventions, gathering evidence through research, exchanging ideas, or forming a professional college, each process holds significant power. There is power in the process of assessment, research, multidisciplinary team approaches, diversity sensitivity, documentation, certification, advocacy, evaluation, standards of practice, and many other TR practices. Please help us share this power with professionals across the nation.

The 2011 Conference Committee invites students, educators, therapists, and allied health professionals to submit presentation proposals relevant to evidenced based best practices; innovative programs, assessment; facilitation techniques, treatment interventions; management issues, theories/models; research; and other strategies that advance and develop the practice of the therapeutic recreation profession relating to our theme. Multidisciplinary team and other collaborative approaches for presentations are encouraged.

NOTE: Presenters are responsible for their own meals, accommodation, transportation, CEU fees, registration (at a reduced speaker rate), and a minimum of 50 handouts.

Email submissions by midnight Friday, November 5th, 2010

Thank you for your interest in presenting at the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association’s Annual Conference. Speakers will be notified by email in December 2010.

CTRA 2011 Call for Presentations kduckworth@cw.bc.ca

AJRT Call for MS

The American Journal of Recreation Therapy has issued a call for manuscripts.

The 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.

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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quick Update on Alberta

I must say that I really enjoyed speaking at the 2010 Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association Symposium held in Calgary October 14 - 16. It was a great experience for me and the Alberta RTs were a delightful audience -- extremely sophisticated and very responsive.

When initially contacted to speak, I thought I was being invited to do the Keynote Address. It turns out that I was the only speaker but I was well assisted by four reaction panels that reacted to my readings from my new book, Lessons Learned: An Open Letter to Recreational Therapy Students and Practitioners. In addition to delivering the Keynote Address, I also presented on my Health Protection/Health Promotion Model and implications of the model for practice.

The attendance at the ATRA Symposium was the largest ever for the event. They had to find extra chairs to accomodate everyone. I think, all in all, the symposium was a highly successful event and I was glad to be a part of it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wonderful Canadian Experience

Hi. Just returned from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where I was the featured speaker at the Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) Symposium. It was a wonderful experience being there.

I'll fill you in with posts in the next few days. But it was great interacting with our Canadian RT friends! And it was the largest ATRA Symposium ever held!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

ATRA has Student Webpage

I recently received an email message announcing that ATRA is starting a new webpage for students. This seems like a good idea. Congrats to ATRA for coming up with this new service.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Pre-Registration for RTI Conference

The Recreation Therapists of Indiana (RTI) remind potential participants that they may pre-register by going to the RTI website and clicking on "events."

The 2010 RTI Conference is to be held in Logansport on November 4 and 5. To register at a reduced rate, pre-register at the RTI website by October 16th.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Some RTV Videos Should Have Higher Useage

There were several Recreation Therapy Videos that I thought might have been viewed more than they were. I am particularly concerned that "Professional Ethics" had a useage count of only 89 and "Clinical Supervision" had a count of only 102.

Ethics should be a prime concern in RT professional preparation and yet the count for the ethics video was only 89. Why is it so low when this is a vital topic for students to learn about? It is not due to the quality of the video as it is among the best in the series -- done with an ethics professor from the IU Medical School.

Equally troubling is the relatively low count for "Clinical Supervision." In several research surveys, it has been found that the topic of clinical supervision is perceived to be an important one for students to study. These same surveys have shown that university instruction in clinical supervision has been lacking. Yet, faculty apparently are not taking advantage of the free RTV video on clinical supervision. Why do faculty seemingly continue to neglect this vital topic?

I sure hope that the next count reveals more use of the RTV videos on ethics and clinical supervision!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Counts of Use of RTV Videos Published

The Indiana University Library has released counts for the use of the Recreation Therapy Videos from June, 2009, through September, 2010.

Not too surprising was that the introduction to RT video, “To Serve a Purpose,” was the most viewed (550 times). Other titles with high counts were: “Therapeutic Recreation History: The Modern Era” (539), “Transfer Techniques” (509) and “Effective Listening” (509). It was interesting to me that perhaps the most complete video, “History of Therapeutic Recreation, Parts I, II, and III,” had a count of only 161.

Of course, I personally would have liked to have seen a higher count for "Models of Practice: The Health Protection/Health Promotion Model." But that's just me!

Below are the counts on the streaming of the 23 RTV Videos.

1. Adaptive equipment 356
2. Case studies 194
3. Clinical supervision 102
4. Computer use in therapeutic recreation 159
5. Documentation and behavioral observation 172
6. Effective listening 509
7. Feedback in learning and performance situations 67
8. History of therapeutic recreation parts I, II, III 161
9. Individual program planning 179
10. Interactions with people who have disabilities 106
11. Models of practice : health protection/health promotion model 196
12. Models of practice : leisure ability model 179
13. Nonverbal communication 104
14. Portraits of pioneers in therapeutic recreation 88
15. Professional ethics 89
16. Professionalism in therapeutic recreation 113
17. Quality of life 143
18. Safe transportation : safely transporting clients 90
19. Therapeutic communication 128
20. Therapeutic recreation history : the formative years 472
21. Therapeutic recreation history: the modern era 539
22. To serve a purpose 550
23. Transfer techniques 509

The web address for the RTV videos is:

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week is the first week in October. There are many ideas on celebrating MHAW in the Guide.

To access the Guide, please go to the following link:

Monday, October 04, 2010

Spokane: Great or a Bust?

Initial reports out of Spokane were very positive about the ATRA Annual Conference. Recently I head from a participant that only about 300 members attended in Spokane, that many presentations were not well done, and that the logistics were not good.

I am now wondering which assessment is the most on target. Any comment?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Website on RT in MDS 3.0

From Lin Buettner, Ph.D., LRT, CTRS, comes this announcement via the ATRAnet:


Hi Everyone, We have put together a website with lots of information about RT in MDS 3.0 (see above). Includes the clarification letter from CMS,PowerPoint presentations, instructions on completing Section O., and lots of good information from the Geriatric Treatment Network. I am currently taking too much time everyday with phone calls and emails about MDS 3.0 so this seemed to be the best solution.

I am happy to add materials if you have anything that might be helpful to RT practitioners throughout the country. It is very important that they begin taking orders and providing therapy now. The first look back period took place in September (see website). This means CMS is already collecting data.

Thank you for your help in getting the word out!

Have a great weekend. Lin

Michael Crawford at University of Nebraska Med Center

I had a phone call this morning from Michael Crawford, Re.D., CTRS,who is the Director of Recreational Therapy at the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Michael and I go way back. He is a former doctoral student of mine from IU.

Among other things, Michael talked with me about his internship program. I believe Michael told me that he has had more than 25 RT interns in his program. I mention this because I would think that any student in our profession seeking an outstanding internship site should look into Michael's program.

BYU Loves Ramon!

I just heard from Ramon Zabriskie that he has been promoted to (full) Professor at BYU. This is terrific news and a wonderful achievment! Way to go Ramon!!