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, November 28, 2010

World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Positive Psychology Article Published in AJRT

An article by David Austin, Bryan McCormick, and Marieke Van Puymbroeck, “Positive Psychology: A Theoretical Foundation for Recreation Therapy Practice,” just appeared in the recent issue of the American Journal of Recreation Therapy (Vol.9, No. 3, pp. 17 – 24). The article explains positive psychology and its relationship to RT. If you are not familiar with positive psychology, the article provides a foundation for understanding it and how it may influence RT practice.

Another source of information on positive psychology is my new book, Lessons Learned: An Open Letter to Recreational Therapy Students and Practitioners. It contains a chapter that provides an introduction to positive psychology and its fit with RT.

Still another source is the 6th edition of my book, Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques. It contains 10 pages on positive psychology and RT (pp. 40 – 50).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Over 1,200 Posts on the RT Blog

I just noticed that there have been more than 1,200 posts made on the RT Blog since it began in April of 2006. All posts are archived on the RT Blog site.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Glossary of RT and OT Available at No Cost

A quick reminder that the IU Library allows free access to the Glossary of Recreation Therapy and Occupational Therapy (authored by David Austin).

The Glossary is available at:

Friday, November 19, 2010

University Position Openings

I've seen a couple of faculty positions recently listed that, while not stipulating RT, may be potentials for RT faculty. Temple has a faculty position open in the Department of Rebabilitation Sciences. The Department of Recreation and Park Administration at Eastern Kentucky University has a tenure-track assistant/associate professor position opening.

Also, at the University of North Csrolina Wilmington there is an opening for the founding dean of the College of Health and Human Services. And Middle Tennessee State University has a chair's position open.

Training Available on New Accreditation Program

Here, below, is an announcement from Jean Folkerth via the ATRA listserv:

There has been a lot of speculation and many questions about the new ATRA sponsored RT accreditation program through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The American Therapeutic Recreation Association is pleased to present a three part webinar series on this new accreditation program.

• Session A1: Introduction to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE) Friday, January 7, 2011 Time: 12:00 – 1:00 EST
An overview of academic accreditation of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs(CAAHEP) and the evolution of the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CAAHEP)

• Session A2: Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education Friday, February 18, 2011 Time: 12:00 – 1:00 EST
This session will offer an in-depth review of the Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education.

• Session A3: CARTE Procedures for Accreditation Friday, March 18, 2011 Time: 12:00 – 1:00 EST
The procedures for accreditation of recreational therapy education will be reviewed. Participants will engage in a review of the procedures and process for seeking accreditation of recreational therapy education and the self study process.

Costs are $40 a session for ATRA members and $65 a session for non-members. There are also special rates for people who sign up for all three sessions and special rates for a group of people.Registration information is available through the ATRA website beginning in December 2010.

Jean Folkerth, Re.D., CTRS

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Physical Activity and Professional Prep

Today I read a newspaper article on the benefits of exercise for the 77 million Baby Boomers, many of whom are challenged by disabilities and obesity. As I read about being active as a key to the aging Baby Boomers being as healthy as they can be, I thought of recent comments on the need to strengthen and standardize university RT curricula. I sure hope that our universities are preparing graduates in RT with the backgrounds and knowledge to deliver physical activity programs.

Years ago many RTs came out of college with degrees in physical education and, therefore, provided many physical activities for clients. It seems to me that we, as a profession, have gotten away from our P.E. roots as we have developed into a true profession with our own university professional preparation programs.

I hope that today’s university faculty have an appreciation of the need for their students to develop knowledge and skills to conduct physical activities for RT clients and will make sure that curricula offer opportunities for our students to develop themselves to deliver physical activity programs.

To me, strong professional preparation is the very foundation of our profession. Without well prepared RTs our profession will not flourish. In fact, it will decline. It is past time that our educators take their roles in curriculum development seriously and act to bring about some real curriculum reform not only in the area of physical activity but across the entire spectrum of professional preparation.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanks Charlie!

Thanks to Charlie Dixon, M.S., CTRS, for his mention of my book, Lessons Learned: An Open Letter to Recreational Therapy Students and Practitioners in his most recent "Therapeutic Recreation Directory Newsletter."

Charlie goes so far as to note: "This is an excellent read -- every recreation therapist, either starting out or a veteran, should read this wonderful book." I really appreciate those kind words about my new book from someone like Charlie!

And Charlie even provides a link for the Kindle version of Lessons Learned. Thanks, Charlie!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

3rd Annual TR South Florida Conference

From Allyson Dedic, CTRS, via the ATRAnet Listserv comes this announcement:

Just a reminder about our 3rd Annual TR South FL Conference that will be held next May in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The cost for this 3 day conference is only $100! There will be a networking social/vendor exhibit along with many other opportunities to network and meet more professionals.

We already have some great speakers that are very prominent in South Florida and will provide insight to professionals across the country!

We are still accepting speaker proposals, vendor placement and sponsorships! Again, we ask for your help to spread the word to your contacts… it is our vendors and sponsors who keep our costs so low! We also like to promote small businesses and have provided some new opportunities for them to network!

Visit our website at www.whitehallboca.com/conference.html or email/call me directly!

Allyson Dedic, CTRS

Monday, November 15, 2010

New TRJ Editor Selected?

I heard through the grapevine that Dr. Marcia Carter will assume the position of Editor of Therapeutic Recreation Journal. Does anyone know if this is true?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Free RT Resources from IU Library

I joined Professor Marieke Van Puymbroeck in teaching her class at IU Wednesday night. During the class I mentioned the RTV videos and my Glossary were available free of charge via streaming from the IU Library.

I also gave Marieke's students the address for the RT Blog and told them the info on the RTV videos and Glossary would appear on the RT Blog. So here it is.

First, the IU Library offers free access for video streaming any of the 23 Recreation Therapy Videos produced through a federal grant directed by David Austin and coordinated by Deb Getz.

To access the videos go to:

Second, the IU Library allows free access to the Glossary of Recreation Therapy and Occupational Therapy authored by David Austin.

The Glossary is available at:

Florida TR Institute Seeking Speakers

Cory Kapes, MS, CTRS, has announced the "Therapeutic Recreation Institute" is to be held August 27-29, 2011, in Orlando, Florida. Below follows part of his announcement:

We are doing this in partnership with the Florida Parks and Recreation Association (FRPA). FRPA will be holding their annual conference in Orlando, Aug. 29 - Sept. 2. Since the space will already be open for programming, they have offered it up to us, along with administrative support, to make the TR Institute happen. You will NOT need to be a member of FRPA, or any organization, to register. By sharing resources we feel we can offer a great opportunity for education and networking at a very reasonable price.

We are seeking presenters for the Institute. We have so many talented people in our profession doing incredible work everyday. Please consider taking this opportunity to step up, get involved and share your talents with your colleagues. The feedback we got last year was that people would like to learn more about the current issues and trends in our field, different documentation techniques, partnerships and innovative programming ideas. If you are interested but are not sure about a topic, drop a line, we will work with you to develop a session.

Note we are on a tight time line so please get back to us ASAP if you are interested (the November 1st deadline has been extended to 11/22).

For more information or to submit a session please contact Dawn Lewellyn at Dawn.Lewellyn@Myclearwater.com.

UNCW Seeking Dean Nominations

Professor Candy Ashton, of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, sent the following announcement out on the ATRA listserv. I thought I'd share it on the RT Blog. Here it is:

As an institution of higher learning, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington is committed to maintaining a campus environment that values diversity. The university aims to achieve, within all areas of the university community, a diverse student body, faculty, and staff capable of providing for excellence in the education of its students and for the enrichment of the university community.

To that end, I invite your assistance in identifying candidates with specific attention to minorities and women for the position of Founding Dean of the College of Health and Human Services. UNC Wilmington is creating a new, unified administrative unit to lead its efforts to improve the health and wellness of the people and communities of its service region. The Dean will lead an interdisciplinary and integrated academic division that includes schools of nursing, social work, and health and applied human sciences (with includes the following majors: athletic training, community health, exercise science, gerontology, parks and recreation management, physical education, recreation therapy).

UNC Wilmington, one of 16 constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina, has consistently achieved regional and national recognition for its emphasis on quality undergraduate education, enriched by graduate and research programs, and the value of its education offerings.

If you are aware of individuals ready to join a faculty of outstanding scholars and a community of learners at a growing, comprehensive public institution, please send me their contact information so that I may encourage their application. The vacancy announcement is online at http://uncw.edu/hr/joblistings_epa/11E040.html.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank you, Veterans!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pettry's Post on Lessons Learned ebook

I would like to thank Danny Pettry, M.S., CTRS, for his post on his Rec Therapy Blog in regard to my book, Lessons Learned, now being available as a Kindle ebook.On November 9th he posted:

Dr. Austin's book is now on the Amazon Kindle
Dr. David Austin's book, Lessons Learned: An open letter to recreational therapy students and practitioners is now on the Amazon - kindle.

I love the kindle and I'm so happy to know I can download it on the kindle now.

I think this is a 5-star/ must-read book for any student in a TR/RT degree program or Recreational Therapist. If you've not done so already -- read this book.

To access Danny's Rec Therapy Blog go to:


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Lessons Learned now out as Kindle ebook

I just heard from Doug Sanders at Sagamore Publishing that Lessons Learned: An Open Letter to Recreational Therapy Students and Practitioners has been published as a Kindle ebook.

The Kindle ebook version of Lessons Learned is available on Amazon. Just go to Amazon.com and under the "Kindle ebook," search type in "Lessons Learned Austin."

GT Wins in Pennslyvania

I was pleased to see that former ATRA President, GT Thompson, won a convincing victory in the 5th District race in Pennsylvania. Way to go, GT!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Department Chair Open at Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has announced the Department of Health and Human Performance invites applications for the position of Department Chair to begin August 1, 2011.

Dean's Position Open at Canadian University

There is an opening for the position of Dean, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University in Canada.

The Faculty of Applied Health Sciences is one of seven Faculties at Brock. With an emphasis on health and wellness at an individual and community level,the Faculty offers a range of programs in the departments of Community Health Sciences, Nursing, Physical Education and Kinesiology, Recreation and Leisure Studies, and Sport Management.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

RTI Conference was a Success!

Reports on the recent Recreation Therapists of Indiana (RTI) Conference indicate it went very well! There was a large turnout and the sessions were excellent. Delegates thought David Compton’s keynote was really compelling. There was also great excitement about ATRA 2011 Annual Conference being held in Indianapolis.

Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Ph.D., CTRS, assumed her duties as RTI President at the meeting. David Zapata became president-elect, Julie Foster became secretary, and the new treasurer is Laurie Lee. Board Members at large for 2010-11 are Bryan McCormick, Erin Smith, Jenny Weber, and Mandy McQueeny. The new RTI board met and decided to hold the 2011 RTI Conference in Bloomington.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Indiana University Supplies Free Services

A friendly reminder that the Indiana University Library offers free resources that RTs can easily access.

First, the IU Library offers free access for video streaming any of the 23 Recreation Therapy Videos produced through a federal grant directed by David Austin and coordinated by Deb Getz.

To access the videos go to:

Second, the IU Library allows free access to the Glossary of Recreation Therapy and Occupational Therapy authored by David Austin.

The Glossary is available at:

I hope university faculty are using these resources in their teaching.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Response to Model Posted on ATRAnet

This morning I posted the message below on the ATRA listserv (that now has 181 members!). I thought I should share in on the RT Blog. Here is my post:

Thanks to Peg (Connolly) and Thom (Skalko) for their reactions to Jerry (Jordan). Their remarks helped to sharpen the debate over the proposed model for me.

If we, as a profession, would agree that our concern is the provision of recreational therapy interventions leading to health and wellness outcomes then we would have a direction and foundation for what we do and how we represent ourselves to others. What we share in common is using "a four-step process involving assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation to bring about therapeutic outcomes with clients who wish to improve their levels of health through participation in activities that have the potential to produce recreational and leisure experiences" (Austin, 2011, Lessons Learned, p. 11).

The setting does not matter. It can be in adult day care or in programs conducted in the community. This point is made very well by Peg and Thom who have emphasized that all of us, as citizens and persons, support inclusive recreation for persons with disabilities. Our profession, however, needs to be defined as one that provides therapeutic outcomes related to health concerns. I totally agree with Peg that the continuum of services in the model does not represent what we stand for as a profession.

Let the members agree we are about health and wellness and then that belief will guide and direct our association, rather than argue over a model that is attached to too many assumptions.

I am sure that in proposing their model that the ATRA leadership was attempting to make an earnest effort to embrace what they saw as our field. But the model, to me, only represents a slap in the face of the founding members of ATRA by returning to the NTRS model of "being all things to all people" (as expressed by then NTRS president Gary Robb). Please ask the first presidents of ATRA, Peg Connolly and Ray West, if they don't believe that the philosophical position of those who formed ATRA was that we needed an association that would represent the clinical interests of the profession (i.e., bringing about therapeutic outcomes related to clients' health).

Let us now reexamine whether the proposed model is a unifying or dividing force. Rather than spend time on a well meaning but flawed model, I believe we should ask all RTs who meet ATRA membership requirements to join together with us in devoting themselves to promoting our entire profession, as well as their particular area of specialization.

Best to all ATRA members, Dave

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

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Be Sure to Read Ray West's Response to ATRA

On October 31st I posted the response Ray West provided to the ATRA Board in regard to their proposed "model" for our association. If you haven't read Ray's response, please do because it speaks to the need for ATRA to drop the ill conceived model.

Below is part of what appears in the post. I believe it is the essence of Ray's response. It reads:

"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."

National Family Caregiver Month

From Disability.gov comes this announcement:

November is National Family Caregivers month, and this year marks the 10th Anniversary of the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC), a non-profit coalition of national organizations representing 65.7 million family caregivers, has supported this program since its inception. Established in 1996, NAC members include grassroots organizations, professional associations, service organizations, disease-specific organizations, a government agency and corporations.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It's Time for the NCTRC Election

This following announcement recently appeared in the NCTRC eletronic newsletter:

NCTRC will be conducting the 2010 Board of Directors Election online from November 1st to November 30th, 2010. There are two (2) open positions to be filled via this year's election. The following five (5) individuals serve as the slate of candidates up for consideration:

Karla Belzer, CTRS (IL)
Melinda Currier, CTRS (NH)
Maridith Curfman-Janssen, CTRS (CA)
Christopher Richard, CTRS (Ontario, Canada)
Patricia Thomas, CTRS (WI)

Please take the time to exercise your right to vote!

Log into MY NCTRC LOGIN between November 1st and 30th and click "Vote Online". You will be able to review information about each of the candidates by clicking “Candidate Information”. Once you have selected your two (2) candidates, complete the ballot and submit it directly to NCTRC. All e-ballots will be sent anonymously to NCTRC.

If you have any problems with the election process, please contact NCTRC at (845) 639-1439.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Position Opening at Temple

Professor John Shank, TR Program Director at Temple, sent the following position announcement out on the ATRA listserv. John suggested for further information that those interested should contact him (jshank@temple.edu) or Professor Kathy Coyle (ccoyle@temple.edu)

Tenure-Track Faculty Position in Rehabilitation Sciences at Temple University

The Department of Rehabilitation Sciences in the College of Health Professions and Social Work at Temple University in the vibrant city of Philadelphia invites applicants for a full-time (9-month) tenure-track faculty position at the advanced assistant, associate, or full professor rank. This groundbreaking Department is uniquely focused on conducting cutting edge academic research and education that promotes full community participation of individuals with long-term impairments and disabilities. We are specifically seeking exceptional candidates with research interests and funding pertaining to community participation and inclusion (i.e., housing, employment, education, social relationships, peer support, citizenship, leisure/recreation, spirituality/religion) of individuals with psychiatric disabilities. However, truly exceptional senior researchers who conduct grant-funded research in this area with other disability groups may be considered. Successful candidates can come from any relevant discipline, including therapeutic recreation, occupational therapy, psychology, sociology, rehabilitation, social work, public health, disability studies, and nursing.

This first of its kind interdisciplinary Department includes nationally recognized programs in occupational therapy (M.O.T. and D.O.T. degrees) and therapeutic recreation (B.S. and M.S.). The Department also has a new health ecology Ph.D. program. The successful applicant will be able to conduct research within a well-known federally-funded research and training center (www.tucollaborative.org) based in the Department, teach in our academic programs, and have the opportunity to direct the doctoral program in health ecology.

Rank, salary, and tenure status will be commensurate with experience and credentials. The search committee will review applications in strict confidence beginning immediately, and will continue to do so until the position is filled. Candidates should forward a cover letter, CV, sample publications, and personal statements summarizing: 1) research background and interests in the area of community participation of individuals with psychiatric disabilities, and 2) teaching philosophy and interests, electronically to mark.salzer@temple.edu and by US mail to:

Mark Salzer, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences
College of Health Professions and Social Work
Temple University
1700 N Broad Street, Suite 304
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Could We Do More in CE?

I recently read in the November issue of the APA Monitor magazine about the continuing education programs offered by the American Psychological Association.

What is available is extensive and includes:

DVD-based independent study programs.
Article-based independent study programs (e.g., ethics articles).
Book-based independent study programs (reading books from the profession).
Online Academy courses (e.g., competency-based clinical supervision).

Reading the continuing education offerings provided by APA made me wonder why RT does not have similar CE programs available.

Why don't we offer more easily accessible CE offerings? Couldn't ATRA profit from providing such services? And, more important, wouldn't practitioners have more opportunites for expanding their knowledge and skills?

It just seems to me that offering RTs more and easily consumed CE programs should be a priority. Providing this kind of service might be the best strategy for ATRA to increase its membership.

I voted, have you?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Leisure & TBI Research Article from Andy Brown

I recently received an email from Andy Brown -- IU alum and an administrator at the Indianapolis VA Hospital. Andy comes out of an RT background and he has not lost his passion for RT.

I should mention that (no doubt due largely to Andy) Andy’s rehab unit maintains a strong RT program and has one of our top IU graduates working there. The unit also regularly has IU students doing internships.

Andy sent me an article that many RTs may find interesting. I thought I’d pass it along through the RT Blog so RTs may have access to it.

The article is on leisure and TBI and mentions that leisure can play an important part in recovery following TBI. Below is the information on the article:

“Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury on Participation in Leisure Activities,” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 91(9), 1357 – 1362, September 2010.