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an inTeRlink feature article

On Staying Up-to-Date
Archive of responses
David R. Austin, Ph.D., CTRS, FALS
Indiana University

I am a master's level mental health counselor. I considered becoming a certified RT until I saw what they were being paid. In the local hospitals, nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and other agencies I have searched in CT, the going rate is under 13.00 per hour and many positions are per diem or part time with no benefits available. The healthcare industry is becoming more and more difficult to make a living in. I have met people working as recreation directors in nursing homes that do not even have a bachelor's degree and are making slightly more than the receptionist and less than the administrative assistant. Unless the NCTRC can guarantee decent salaries and benefits I wouldn't hold my breathe for these people to come to any of the expensive "professional meetings" unless the agency pays for it. I sure wouldn't.
Dianne Terrace tterdbt1*
hamden, CT USA n/a - Tuesday, October 04, 2005 at 11:51:34 (CDT)
I just ran across your article, and read some of the responses. I absolutely agree that it is very important to stay abreast of new ways to deliver the "therapeutic" aspect of Recreation Therapy. The optimum word here is "therapeutic". In order to state that you are in any way providing a program for folks, no matter their dignoses, to better their overall health and wellness, you must have the knowledge and expertise to back you up. I worked in a hospital setting, beginning in Psych., then Rehab., then Long Term Care(they were all within the same organization), and worked very closely with the PT's and OT's in each level of care. The issue I have, and have had since the beginning is that we do not receive the respect we should be getting from some of the other professions. Many of the courses we have had, are very close in respect to what the other therapists have had, from medical all the way to programming, etc., but yet, we only get paid, I would say, a little above minimum wage for the skills that we have. This does not allow for most people to be able to stay in the profession for long term, because the conferences are expensive, and comparable to what we get paid, it's impossible to afford to stay at the hotels they're offered at, or pay for travelling. I have been in this profession since I graduated in 1988, and constantly strive to learn other modalities to improve the Residents overall wellness. I have also become a Massage Therapist, which is in direct correlation with the power of healing and overall wellness. Despite all these credentials behind my name, the job offers are very, very limited, and yet they require a CTRS(or would prefer a CTRS), even though they are unwilling to pay for it. I stopped working in the hospital setting, due to corporate politics, but after being there 13 years, and only making $15 dollars an hour after all that time. That to me is ridiculous compared to what the other therapists make, coming out of school. I started that job for $8 an hour, which is at least half of what the OT's and PT's were making. When I started this job at the retirement home, which took me a year to find, my pay was again dramatically "cut" back down to $11 an hour, or they wouldn't have hired me otherwise--but, yet they require a CTRS. I don't have an answer to these problems, or I would have fixed it, or lobbied for it by now, but it's hard to make a living on what me make, that's why there are so many either leaving the profession for other professional areas, or they just slowly fade away, due to the high cost of keeping up certification dues. I enjoy what I do very much, and have the professional medical skills to back that up, through on going personal education, to address both the physical and cognitive aspects of people's lives. I'm just another voice of the many that have the same concerns when it comes to continuing education and being able to afford to receive it. It's very frustrating, but after all these years I should be further ahead than I am now, both professionally and personally with regards to Therapeutic Recreation. I feel that if you don't have the credentials to back you up, you should not be falsely advertising that you do, just to get a job--and I've seen it many times. The company's just "settle" with someone because they can't afford to pay for the higher educated person that should be in that position, so we essentially get pushed out from these job opportunities, that's why the jobs are so far and few between, and when they are available to us, they're(companies) are not willing to recognize us as true professionals, so the pay is almost nothing for what we do get hired for. That's my two cents worth, and I'm sure I'm not alone. It's very frustrating to justify staying in this business, but I still do because I see the difference it makes in all aspects of the clients lives that I've worked with over the years. Thank you for your time.
Karen Hancock khancock*
Roanoke, VA USA Roanoke United Methodist Home - Tuesday, August 02, 2005 at 11:57:49 (CDT)
What kind of schooling do I need to be a activity director, or social service director in a nursing home.
Beverly Christian pete*
McAlester, okla USA - Monday, July 25, 2005 at 15:48:02 (CDT)
dinesh mychain45*
kathmandu, nepal - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 at 07:35:11 (CDT)
I have been working as a therapeutic recreation spedcialist for the past eight years. I am currently working at a long term care facility for the first time and would like to attend conferences and symposium pertaining to my profession. I have been unable to locate information or sites. Please recommend some sites or conferences for continue ed or improve my competence.
shedrick rodgers srodgers*
jackson, ms USA methodist rehab speciality care ctr. - Thursday, June 02, 2005 at 16:50:53 (CDT)
mpho mpho21*
pretoriA, AMERICA USA university - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 04:00:15 (CDT)
Hello, I am interested in Recreation Therapy. I already have a degree in Recreation and was wondering what else I needed to add to get the therapy part, or what it consists of? Could you please get back to me as soon as possible! Thanks Hiedi
Hiedi Eggers heggers27*
Jackson, Wyoming USA - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 at 12:18:04 (CDT)
I am not in your field but will graduated from UMA in 1 yr and am interested in a Master's program in either OT or RT. I would appreciate your input in knowing the difference betw the 2. Short reply message is OK . Many Thanks, Martha Turner
Martha Turner pups3mrt*
Augusta, ME USA UMA - Sunday, April 03, 2005 at 21:03:57 (CDT)
LLANO, TX USA - Sunday, March 27, 2005 at 12:45:55 (CST)
I would like to become an activity director for senior citizens and be certified.
Beverly Thomas beverlythomas5*
crawley, West Virginia USA - Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 13:49:17 (CST)
BROOKLYN, NY USA LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY - Thursday, September 23, 2004 at 16:17:23 (CDT)
I fully agree. with Dr. Austin We got the same problem in Belgium. Mostly the reason will be "we have no time". In Belgium we don't have a professional society and there ar not so much professional meetings. But an the onther side in each psychiatric hospital there is a well staffed CTRS
Torfs Jos
Kortenberg, Belgium Belgium Europe University Center Kortenberg - Wednesday, September 22, 2004 at 04:08:01 (CDT)
I agree with your article; however I am searching for information on T.R. and or R.T in the United Kingdom. Any information would be appriciated. Thanks, Patrick Moore, M.S. CTRS, RSW
Patrick Moore
Houghton lake, Michigan USA Eagle Village - Friday, September 10, 2004 at 09:20:29 (CDT)
Hi Dr. Austin~ An old neighbor, friend and student. I have been out of the TR loop for a good 5 years. Will be sitting for the exam this October. Would hate to lose my credentials and really believe in maintaining my certification and realize it's value. I will eventually get back to my profession, so I do have an interest in maintaining up to date materials and information. I view myself as a professional, yet I don't have recent affiliations with an organization. I keep abreast of new information via the web sites/past co-workers. I have found that the field doesn't change too dramatically. However the new information keeps me confident in knowing that I will be ready to return to TR work when I'm ready. I have two children and they keep me very busy. I am not losing out in becoming a better therapist from being a stay at home Mom. Infact, I have gained better skills in dealing with people and couldn't be more ready to take on any challenge put before me when I am back in the work place. With that said, I better pass that exam in Oct. Ha, Take care and keep on!
Amy Jonson (Fulton)
Burlington, Ky USA Domestic Engineer of the Jonson Home :) - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 at 15:05:25 (CDT)
I strongly agree with your opening statement "It is critical for RT's to remain competent in their knowledge and skills related to service delivery". I would like to expand on what you have said by making key points and then explaining my views on these points. 1. I believe that it is critical for therapists to continue to grow and be competent not only in terms of TR "Service Delivery", as you have indicated, but in other areas related to TR as well. For example, as a profession we have been called to be outcome oriented and evidenced-based. Therefore it is essential for us to maintain an awareness of the theory underlying our service delivery and the current research that is occuring in the field because these things should necessarily guide us in our service design, implementation, and evaluation. 2. Of those therapists who would indicate that remaining competent is critical, there may be differences in opinion as to how competence is gained and measured. For example, you have listed some indicators in your first paragraph that you believe are present in those therapists who attempt to keep their skills sharp. You listed such things as: being certified with NCTRC, belonging to ATRA or NTRS, regularly attending state, regional and national conferences, and maintaining a personal professional library of recent books and issues of TRJ or Annual in TR. I am excited about the fact that within the field of TR there is a wide range of possibilities as to how a therapists may keep their knowledge and skills up to date! Let me toot a horn for the Indiana Distance Education Program for a moment. I have had the priviledge of being able to take three graduate TR courses through the Indiana Distance Education Program. It is perfect for my busy lifestyle, the courses are motivating professionally, the professors require reading of current articles, books, and research within the field, there is interaction and practice of the skills we are learning, and what we are learning is on the cutting edge in TR. Other creative ways to maintain knowledge is through the ATRA newsletters, various TR websites, purchasing videos of intervention techniques, etc. CEU's to maintain certification can be easily acquired through taking tests via ATRA about articles in their "Annual". They have also begun providing a test in each copy of their newsletter which can be taken and returned with a small payment for CEU credits. I believe that our professional organizations and many colleges and universities have moved in the right direction by looking at creative new ways to make it convenient for TR professionals to access information that they need. I do have a personal professional library, but if I didn't would that mean that I wasn't a professional and wasn't competent? Not necessarily. If I am unable to attend a TR Symposium for a few years, due to having young children and limited funds, does that mean I am not keeping my knowledge up to date? Not necessarily. 3. Certification and membership in at least one of the professional organizations should absolutely be maintained by each therapist who has chosen TR as their professional career. For those who have not yet acquired these, it should be a primary goal to do so. I believe that this is a matter of support and spirit toward the career field that you have chosen. Our professional organizations not only provide a service to us, but they are essential in promoting the field of TR. Most of the lobbying that takes place regarding key issues that effect TR, take place via our professional organizations. I am proud of the fact that I have been a member of one or more of our professional organizations since 1981. National Certification through NCTRC shows that the certified therapist has at least basic knowledge of TR. While a therapist who does not become certified may in fact have that basic knowledge, there is no measurement of that fact. Certification is a way for us to market ourselves, to establish a greater degree of credibility and consistent knowledge within the field. I remember the excitement that was present among my peers in TR when certification was just becoming available. My undergraduate degree in TR was awarded in 1981 just as national certification in TR was becoming available. I have maintained my certification in TR since 1981, personally paying for this myself, in order to make a commitment and investment not only into my future, but also into the future of TR in general. 4. The knowledge and skills that are essential to maintain may often need to be niche or need based. The field of TR is fairly broad if you look at the amount of settings, populations, and interventions that we provide, for example. If I work with a particular population group, it is absolutely essential that I am on the cutting edge as to what is happening with that population group. What are the "Calls to Action" regarding my specific niche, within our professional organizations, in terms of legislature, what is the latest research regarding this population or niche? When I learn about something new in TR, I must evaluate whether this new technique, tool, research is applicable to my population group or niche. If there is a great new tool developed for a different population that the one I am working with, that tool may not be appropriate for my population. In closing, let me reiterate that I agree with the positions you have stated. I do believe, however, that it is most productive to look at what the barriers are that prevent individuals from keeping their knowledge and skills up to date and then develop creative means for a wide variety of therapists with a wide variety of personality types and lifestyle differences to gain the knowledge and skills that they need. Some therapists may need a bit of encouragement to gain this knowledge or may need to know of the resources that are available to them. Some therapists may decide to move on to other fields and therefore have decided that they cannot continue to advance both their TR knowledge as well as their knowledge in their new field. These folks can continue to demonstrate an understanding and appreciation for TR and thus in the long run may continue to benefit the TR field and those of us who are committed to TR for life. Thanks for the opportunity to share and please forgive me for being so long winded! p.s.- I think that Indiana U should allow students who have taken 3 graduate classes and gotten an A in each class to be accepted into the TR Graduate Program without having to take the GRE test! The math is killing me! I sure hope I can pass so I can finish my Masters in TR! Hope to be in another of your TR classes soon!
Joy Felegie
Burke, Virginia USA In process of completing graduate entrance requirements for Indiana U Masters Program in TR - Thursday, July 29, 2004 at 13:26:12 (CDT)
Although I did take the additional step to become certified as a CTRS, I do see why others may not. I am not really seeing this extra step paying off. I am still unemployed and the workfield for a CTRS is very narrow. I realize that the field is still very new in the public eye and take every opportunity to educate the public about TR services, but that's not putting money in the bank! And heaven forbid you should want to do something besides working in a nursing home or a psych facility! Good luck! I have experience working with children with disabilities and there is NOTHING OUT HERE! I too may have to consider letting my cert go -- because at this point, $65.00 is quite a bit of money for no additional opportunities! If you can offer any advice, I'll pay attention!
Angela D. Lee
Hickory, NC USA (none) - Saturday, May 22, 2004 at 11:01:52 (CDT)
please respond i really need a job that will help me buld the skills that i need
monica palicia
grandview, mossouri USA ged - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 12:34:32 (CDT)
I agree with Dr. Austin's article. I feel that the reason why many RT's do not go to the conferences is that many do not have time. This could be that they are understaffed and burned out. Added to this, the costs of the conference fee's for the limited number of CEU's that are received for taking time off just does not make it cost effective for one to go to the conferences even if one wants to go.
Barbara Yamamoto <Sumibarb*>
Los Angeles, , CA. USA CSUN - Tuesday, March 09, 2004 at 07:59:22 (CST)
I was told that you are a great resource for questions about Recreational Therapy--a field that I am newly interested in and most likely going to pursue after my graduation this summer (with a BA in psych). What are the necessary qualifications for a recreational therapist, and how should I go about looking for a volunteer position/job/internship in the field? I'd appreciate any feedback or help you can give me. Thanks!
Kim Cates <kcates8*>
Austin, TX USA University of Texas - Wednesday, February 18, 2004 at 16:28:55 (CST)
Dear Dr. Austin, I am a 48 year old professional stand-up, or sitting comedy magician. I have performed on pretty much all the major street performing spots around our country,and have done a bunch of nursing home and three shows at the northeast rehab. in Salem N.H. I briefly worked as an activities director at a nursing home I did a show for in Brownsville TX. I quit high school in January of my senior year to join the Marine Corps. Don't ask me why, I just did it! Anyway, I have always known I had a very powerful tool to get people out of their heads, and to make them do something they obviously don't do very often..SMILE..LAUGH..and just participate in a positive activity. Not having the formal education or credentials to market my "MAGIC THERAPY" seems to be the big problem. Would I be aloud to participate in any of the organizations or seminars you were saying the so called professionals were not taking advantage of? In the meantime, I am going for my G.E.D., this week, and am looking forward to your response. My grandfather used to tell me that book learning is great, as long as it doesn't interfere with your education. Respectfully, John Baker
John Baker <voilacreative*>
Fitchburg, MA USA None - Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 10:29:54 (CST)
Hello Austin, I have read you article with interest. I am currently qualified in sport & recreation management, and completing a Masters in Business Administration at local university. I am seeking names and addresses of leisure facilities within Denver, USA. I am hoping to carry out some research/make some initial contacts in such a facility, and will be visiting Denver from 03 - 11 Jan 2004. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Michelle Adams <michelleadams*>
England - Tuesday, December 30, 2003 at 18:09:54 (CST)
I am very interested in learning more about ATRA and how to become a practicing member. Do you have to write a test? I'm not fully done with my schooling yet I'm in my third year of Human kinetic. This infor would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks so much!! heidi
Heidi Urban <heidiurban*>
Langley, British Columbia Canada Trinity Western University - Thursday, October 23, 2003 at 22:06:48 (CDT)
I'am currently a senior, majoring in Therapeutic Recreation and I'am appalled that it is a lack of professionalism among the recreators but, however I feel that this field is growing and the more competitive it becomes, the more seriously this profession will be taken among the clients they serve and the medical profession.
D'jaris E. Geter <djarisDgeter*>
columbia, South Carolina USA Benedict College - Saturday, October 18, 2003 at 11:47:20 (CDT)
Dear Dr. Austin: Thank you for the statics shown on how we fall short of who we claim to be. WOW! I didn't realize how so few professionals were actually certified. I have been in the field of TR since 1998 when I received my bachelors from Western IL. U. I was told by my professors to get "certified" if you wanted to get that TR job. I know now being in the field working in different areas such as rehab, behavioral health and nursing homes, certain agencies only require the bare minimum. Working in rehab and behavior health requires certification but as for the nursing home, you only need a high school diploma and "30 hours" to become an Activity Director! I'm not an ATRA or NTRS member but I am a member of ILRTA (Illinois Recreational Therapy Association) which is a state chapter affiliate with ATRA. But even joining an organization, to me, isn't enough. I wanted to be active with my membership so I became the newsletter editor of ILRTA and started to attend meetings. I felt the need to do this so I could interact with other professionals and learn from them such as learning new activities to learing about different diagnosis of clientele to how to go about getting reimbursed for our services. By becoming active and serving as newsletter editor, I feel I'm contributing to the profession in some way. I confess, I was at one point just a "non active" professional. But not anymore, I get more out of interacting from others. My career has grown since then and I feel I benefit more and the patients and staff that I work with also benefit. Thank you sincerely. P.S. I recently moved to Indiana from Illionis, does Indiana have a state TR organization? Please reply via email. Thank you.
Mrs. Jennifer Cormier <MrsJenny1*>
Crown Point, Indiana USA St. Catherine Hospital - East Chicago - Thursday, October 16, 2003 at 16:13:16 (CDT)
Hi Dr Austins, I have come across recreation therapy by accident. Before this I have never heard of this profession and have been interested if it is possible to get qualified in Britian. I am an active participant in outdoor pursuits with recently gaining kayak two star award and Mountain Leader Training. I am studying a degree in outdoor recreation management/outdoor instructor while recently finding out Im dyslexic.I would appriciate any information that you and your readers have on becoming a recreation therapist in Britian. Thank You Roisin Ann Ferris (Universities will be more able to decide what degrees are suitable requirements if the EU and the general public were more aware of the profession)
ROISIN ANN FERRIS <purpleoak3*>
I agree that all TR professionals must stay abreast of things like physicians do. In fact, where I did my Co-op this past summer (at an adult day center), I asked the nursing staff if I could be included in their client assessment meetings so I could know the clients' needs better, and help them more efficiently. I'm looking for articles on this need for TR professionals to always be included in the clinical assessments of their clients. Do you know of any good ones? It's for my Introduction to Recreation class with Dr. Andrew Paterna. By the way, the staff at MCC uses your text books regularly. They're good!! Thanks for your suggestions. Brenda Gagliardi
Brenda Gagliardi <gagliardiguitars*>
East Hartford, Ct USA Manchester Community College - Thursday, September 25, 2003 at 14:52:40 (CDT)
I strongly agree that RTs have to remain competent in their knowledge and skills related to service delivery and web users are some of our most active professionals.
Prapat Laxanaphisuth <prapat.l*>
Pathumwan District, Bangkok Thailand Chulalongkorn University - Sunday, August 31, 2003 at 13:43:46 (CDT)
I would like to hear from readers
kelly scales <kscales15*>
Elizabeth, PA USA Slippery Rock University - Sunday, April 06, 2003 at 15:02:08 (CDT)
please e-mail recreation programing and other recreational related stuff.
glynn pride <pride451*>
amarillo, texas USA texas tech - Monday, March 10, 2003 at 07:52:04 (CST)
I believe that part of the problem with the profession is that on a state level, at least in my state, there are not requirements for licensure or certification, not to mention the state, federal and accrediation agencies are not mandating CTRS professionals as opposed to activity staff which decreasing the standards in our practice/profession. Just some of my thoughts, I have many more that I could share if space permitted. I did enjoy your article.
Amy Barbieri <rectheramy*>
St. Clair Shores, MI USA Henry Ford Health System - Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 10:42:31 (CST)
Dear Dr. Austin and Readers: I am in full agreement with the position that RT's need to keep up to date. Therapeutic Recreation Ontario is working toward a certification process for those working in the field in Ontario, Canada. I have a Canadian 2 year diploma in Recreation Leadership and found this article while searching for universities who offer an on-line degree in TR. No luck so far. Any ideas? What should I look for to make sure that the institution is properly accredited? Thanks to those who take the time to help me in my search.
H Gates <heather_gates*>
Petrolia, On Canada - Sunday, October 20, 2002 at 13:31:20 (CDT)
What concerns me more is that we are permitted by the organizations we work for and the accreditating organizations to settle for minimal competencies in our field. In the state of Kentucky, we have 3 state universities currently offering Recreation Therapy degrees, but yet, we are not even recognized on the State Personnel level as a discipline. The closest we come is an "Institutional Recreation Leader" position. Anyone who passes a test or has a degree in any area similar to recreation can apply and get the positions. What is wrong with this picture? I believe that the state of Indiana also puts "Recreation Therapist" under the title of "Rehab Therapist" which can encompass many disciplines securing those jobs. Individuals, including Recreation Therapist (professionals), will only rise to the standards that they are expected to reach. Educating others about what we do (better today then yesterday) is our most vital role in assuring that Recreation Therapy continues. Most folks continue to think that all we do is "play", including many "Recreation Professionals". It's a shame.
Laura M. McCauley <llmccaul*>
Louisville, KY USA Department of Juvenile Justice, Commonwealth of Kentucky - Saturday, August 10, 2002 at 15:47:58 (CDT)
Hello Dr. Austin, I can't help but respond to this article. I am a graduated TR student from SUNY Cortland and have had quite a post graduation year in regards to my major. Let me first say how much respect I had for all my professors at SUNY Cortland. They were the reason I fell in love with TR. And I believed in all of it. I was very active with in my major and was a member of numorous organizations. My first job was at an assissted living facility. To make a really long and ugly story short, the replaced my entire department overnight after we all started it from scratch. I also took the NCTRC exam which I failed by ONE POINT! Now that I am looking for a job I realize why people leave the field. Most jobs I have applied for give no time off for conferences or cover any costs to go to one. Since I don't have a job I can't even afford to be in any organizations. My point is I feel places that want TR want to get somone for as that is the most qualified, but for the least amount of money.
Kristin Hulsaver <thekik11*>
Merrick, NY USA Cortland Alumni - Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 13:51:44 (CDT)
Dr Austin~ First off loved your texts they have been the foundation for my recent completion of my degree in TR. I am amazed at how many TRs are not certified, and how little are members of societies. I have been told and told over and over by my professors that it is what you do, you get certified and join a society. I am surprised! How do they keep themselves informed of the professions movements?? Is it right to practice without answering to the professional standards and code of ethics? It is necessary for personal growth as well as professional growth to keep learning, it is also necessary to ward against burn-out. The good news is the Professors at UNIVERSITY of SOUTHERN MAINE in Portland ARE teaching the importance of forwarding the field!!!Go Linda, Dave, Bill and Nancy!!!!
Leslie Downes <lesliedownes*>
Eliot, Me USA University of Southern Maine - Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 20:18:14 (CDT)
I agree with the stand made relative to participation in a professional organization along with attending professional meetings and workshops relative to Therapeutic Recreation. I am presently an advanced junior at Southern and I am grasping for every bit of information that I can find relating to my field of choice. Please keep me abreast of the current trends and changes in this field of study. You may reach me at my father's E-mail, the one listed above. Thank you so much for the opportunity of expression. Edward V. Montgomery
Edward V. Montgomery <Dmontg2747*>
Shreveport, Louisiana USA Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana - Saturday, May 04, 2002 at 09:27:12 (CDT)
Going in the direction of Incusion Programing in the City recreation centers and in Sports. Looking for grants and found you! Good Article-I agree with it. Do you have any leads or info on inclusion programing to share? Hope life is treating you well. Your Former UNT Student, Betty Solomon Minshew, Class of 76 P.S. Email me and I will catch you up on what some of our former students are doing!
Betty Solomon Minshew, Recreation Supervisor <bminshew*>
Grand Prairie, Texas USA City of Grand Prairie - Tuesday, March 26, 2002 at 09:54:52 (CST)
creteria regarding certificate,for physiotherapist abroad.recreation therapy admired consumer participation easy to attian a desired goal.
d.ramanathasivan <drsn2000*>
chennai, tamilnadu India spastic society of tamilnadu - Sunday, March 24, 2002 at 11:09:43 (CST)
I received my degreee in TR, studying for the NCTRC exam and began working at a long term setting. I have experienced problems pertaining to awareness to the agency. My supervisor did not have a degree in TR nor do my co-workers but at times my co-workers have bitter attitude towards me. Some days are fine then others are digusting! Any suggestions you can provide.
Grady Tezeno <zeno152002*>
Opelousas, Louisiana USA Southern University - Thursday, December 13, 2001 at 15:46:05 (CST)
Dr. Austin is a bobble head!!! Please refer to his video on TR communication for further reference and proof. Thank You.
Jane Doe <janedoe*>
Bloomington, IN USA Indiana University - Monday, October 01, 2001 at 21:04:19 (CDT)
I agree that it is imperative that we participate in state ,local,and national efforts to maintain our professional knowledge,network,and continue to improve our credibility among coworkers,insurers&consumers.Involvement in professional credentialing improves the basic knowledge level of entry level professionals and encourages experienced individuals to attempt to remain up-to-date.
David Welch <David_Welch*>
Oklahoma City, OK USA St.Anthony Hospital - Monday, August 13, 2001 at 13:02:13 (CDT)
I am from Montreal, Canada but now working in Florida since the month of March. I have a bachelor's in rec.& leisure studies, have taught undergrad therapeutic rec courses and have more than 12 yrs. experience in the rec. therapy field .. I should be exempted to write the exam..and just pay the fee to be certified.. But I was told that is not the case.I was a professional member of atra even in Canada and used to receive the journal.. the accoc. changed their minds and informed me that since i'm not certified i am unable to receive the journal.. i was very upset.. it is a no win situation. I have contacted my local representative three times.and asked for a membership form in march..i still haven't heard from her!..she lives in Plantation county.Most reps have an email address.. she doesn't..Maybe she should get with the times if she wants to be in touch with her members. So how do i get with the times regarding rec. therapy? well, basically i go to the internet..or university library..i haven't visited one here yet. Regarding attending conferences, i did in Canada.. It was expensive to attend the American ones. But now that i live here.. you can count on me.
dora giancarli <giancarlid*>
pembroke pines(sub. of fort lauderdale), florida USA skilled nursing facility - Tuesday, July 03, 2001 at 10:54:01 (CDT)
Dr. Austin I support your ideas. In my case RT is mostly unknown in Puerto Rico. COnsequently it is hard for me to be informed of all the new information of RT. I am certified by NCTRC and hopefully I will soon join ATRA. What would you recommend me? Thank you for your time and I hope I can receive some feedback from you. Joaliz Franqui
Joaliz Franqui <joaliz_franqui*>
Yauco, Puerto Rico Southern Medical Center - Wednesday, May 02, 2001 at 12:36:03 (CDT)
After reading your article this morning, I thought I would give you a quick personal response. I think part of the problem RT/CTRS Professionals are lacking in CEU's or membership to various affiliations is, i hate to say, the cost. I once belong to ATRA and I chose not to resubscribe due tho the cost of the membership. I did not feel the 100$ per year fee was applicable to the benefits I was receiving from it. One, very thin, newsletter came each month, and the content always seemed unrelated to my job and more so about the "new" prospects for dircector, treasurer, etc... I personally found it a waste of money adn time to even read. As mentioned before, the cost of memberships and cost of symposiums are expensive and unfortunatly has to come out of 95% of R.T.'s pockets...and lets face it, our profession does not earn that great of a professional living. I am not using this as an excuse to continuing education or setting an example for future students, it unfortunatley, is a fact with most RT's I work with. Thanks for your time. I hope you receive more feedback. Kathy McHugh
Kahtleen McHugh <KMcHugh*>
Chicago, IL USA NorthWestern Memorial Hospital - Thursday, April 26, 2001 at 08:18:10 (CDT)
I absolutely feel that a pitiful number of those who refer to themselves as TR professionals are not members of or active in their professional organizations, and that's a shame!...As a new CTRS, and one who had to jump through hoops to get to take the exam due to poor advising at my university, I intend to stay a member of both ATRA and NTRS and take advantage of as much as I can!...I am EXTREMELY PROUD to finally have the CTRS behind my name, and that warrants whatever I can do do stay current with trends/treatment within our profession....Thanks for listening!
Rebecca S.Neeley <neeleyr*>
Memphis, TN USA Methodist/LeBonheur Healthcare - Sunday, March 11, 2001 at 09:59:35 (CST)
Dear Dr. Austin I am the recreation coordinator at a treatment facility for youth with emotional and behavioral issues. My boss underestimates the power of postive recreation to reduce delinquent behaviors. He knows very little of our profession and belittles what I do on a daily basis. Today he quoted incorrect information about outward bound to me comparing it to boot camps. I have been the proffessional that lacks involvement up to this point. I now realize the need to be up to date to correct misconnceptions that are widely held outside the profession.
Brooke Epps <Brookeepps*>
Denver, CO USA Savio House - Tuesday, March 06, 2001 at 12:38:51 (CST)
Dear Dr Austin I have just been accepted for honours program in recreation management , so i would like to do my theses on therapeutic recreation . Cane you please sir send me some information about this topic . I haven't yet chosen the title of my theses ,so i will rely on the information you going to give me .
bongile ganyile <bongile_g*>
Bizana, eastern cape South africa University of Durban Wesville - Wednesday, February 21, 2001 at 04:15:05 (CST)
Hello, I am a student at Indiana State University. I am currently studying to be a Recreation Therapist and was wondering if you could assist me on something. I am in an english course and we are to write someone in our field a personal letter, I was wondering if I could get your address at Indiana University and if I could send you a letter. The letter will explain things more! Thank you Michelle
Michelle Miller <miller_isu*>
Terre Haute, In USA - Sunday, February 11, 2001 at 21:53:10 (CST)
Quiero saber como inscribirme o comunicarme con ustedes, ya que soy recreacionista y esta reflexion me agrda mucho, por lo que se puede aportar, no se hablar ingles.
Nestor Sanchez <andreitasd*>
Medellin, Antioquia Colombia - Thursday, January 25, 2001 at 10:34:04 (CST)
Enjoyed your article-I am a 1st yr.Grad student at southern and exploring and researching the Rec. Therapy and how it will change, to service clients, in the next decade. year will be 2011 and how will technology adapt ( or not adapt!) to clients with disabilities, illnesses and how will we adapt to technology for our clients? What advances to you think will be designed to assist the above mentioned population? Any thoughts, advice greatly appreciated to a student just starting out. Thanks Marie
marie johnson <picky*>
stratford, ct USA Southern Conn. State Univ - Wednesday, January 24, 2001 at 15:53:57 (CST)
I am looking for current books/arcticles for people in the planning stages of an afterschool respite program for children with developmental disabilities. Got any ideas? Thanks!
Ellen Snyder <TotsieS3*>
Schenectady, N.Y. USA - Friday, November 10, 2000 at 08:36:33 (CST)
As of now, yes I do agree. I'm a graduating senior doing my senior level internship on a geropsych unit. My internship site director is also a CTRS. She is very active as well as knowledgable about the therapeutic recreation community. I feel as a whole we as a profession take it very lightly, as if it is all "play". We need to become more active in conferences, in-services, forums, etc. That will keep you educated as well as informed. This is only my opinion, and i have a long way to go. I want to be successful, and that takes more than just a degree or a certification. I encourgage you to grasp everything that is being offered.
Latoya KaVon Smith <nbr1dva*>
Atlanta, Georgia USA Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge,LA - Thursday, November 09, 2000 at 17:32:29 (CST)
Hi Dr. Austin, I ran across your posting in search of an article for class! How ironic and supportive of my current endeavor! As you know, I am a fortunate practicioner in the field of TR because my supervisor is a strong advocate of personal growth and professional development. The unfortunate fact is that she is an MSW and not a MA is TR, depsite the fact our department's primary focus is experiential therapy and outdoor TR. I feel our standards in TR need to be raised so that the motivation for practicioners to keep their "professional edge" is essential. I believe it begins with a stronger understanding and expectation of Therapeutic Recreation services from the agencies we work for and from accreditation organizations such as CARF and JACHO regarding our role in recovery processes. Too many organizations don't acknowledge credentialling as a neccesity and see us as an adjunct service or the "fun"/ "play" people. Just my thoughts. Talk to you on Wedensday. ~Teresa
Teresa Jex <jex*>
Valparaiso, Indiana USA IUB - Saturday, November 04, 2000 at 16:30:53 (CST)
I am a new CTRS, working now for 9 months in a hospital setting. I am interested in advocating the importance of CEU's to my employer, since they are talking of cutting funds for this important learning tool. If anyone has any information or documentation which stresses the value of CEU's that I can present to my employer, I would greatly appreciate it. I am also a member of ATRA, and have put out many feelers for this documentation. Any and all insight would be beneficial for the advocacy in our field.
Gini Simmons <lvpcehappy>
VA USA - Monday, September 18, 2000 at 23:50:19 (CDT)
Hi Dr. Austin: I graduated with a B.S. in Recreational Therapy in 1978. I have worked in and out of the field throughout the years. I have had the opportunity to work in various settings, nursing homes, camps, schools etc. However, I never thought for a minute that I would be using my recreational therapy experience at home. We adopted a baby at 5 1/2 weeks old and at a year of age he was diagnosed as being developmentally delayed. Today he is 7 y.o. and my background with working with speech therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists has turned out to be a great help. I am now combining my recreational therapy with my son's therapy and school education. I have also become a serious advocate for children with special needs and I have found there to be a great need in the schools for recreational therapists. I wanted my son placed in the inclusion setting at school and I have had to work very close with all the professionals in the school to combine serious therapy into a form of play and fun. I have also recruited volunteers from schools and trained them how to do therapy with my son as well as combine the therapy into recreational therapy - by carefully choosing, toys, special materials, games etc. towards reaching specific goals. Someday I hope to share all I have learned with other children who have special needs and with the schools. What do you think I need to do to keep myself marketable when that time comes? I have not continued any formal college education since I graduated in 1978. I would appreciate your input. Thank you.
Amy C. <jamycerv*>
MD USA N/A - Sunday, August 13, 2000 at 21:37:45 (CDT)
I do agree with your overall assumption of the T.R.professional in not trying more to help the profession be a better cohesive unit,by becoming a member of at least one of the main organizations. As the saying goes "Strength is Numbers". By encouraging our professionals to be involved in networking through seminars,literature or any promotional circuits would help the profession in many aspects of its developments and recognition.
samuel e.john <SJOHN24531*AOL.COM>
QUEENS, NY USA LEHMAN COLLEGE - Saturday, August 12, 2000 at 16:16:06 (CDT)
I have spent an hour on the net trying to bring up a statement of requirements to become a Certified Activites Director or Administrator. I have a passion/calling with the work I do as an Activities Dept. Asst. The facility I work in has a population that is vastly different from 20 years ago. 98% of our residents are no longer able to participate in the classic large group activities. The field is so different than it was in times gone by and sadly most schedules of activities I've seen don't reflect these changes. To work with our more challenging yet rewarding residents is such a gift and awakening. To reach out and touch the soul of a parkenson's patient who hasn't spoken in a year and hear their voice is like a song of the angels. To later establish such a relationship of trust that you see in their eyes that they KNOW you will be there with them.. That they can trust that they will have your attention and recognition of the person trapped inside their resistent bodies must seem to them as as it has to me like a set of shackles being unlocked. I have to tell you the most profound moment of my experiences to date are the first word I heard from this patient, and when after feeding and watching a resident daily for 6 months who would refuse even pureed food and discovering she had "food rules" that were very involved concerning presentation, lack of overstimulization and the final clue was that an apron meant she was cooking and therefore you don't eat as you cook, finding that final blockage and removing it and suddenly my friend whom I love picking up a fork, eating an entire non pureed regular dinner from start to finish for the 1st time was beyond description. (And upon her food rules being honored has eaten every meal since and all it took was observing, trial and error, and just repeatedly asking myself what's in her head? why isn't she eating?) I love this job and what's more they pay me to do it!!! I would like to take this passion and commitment to our most infirm residents and grow into a position where maybe I could pass on this wonderful experience to others. Can you help me find out how to get the training I desire. If I thought of all of these ways to reach out to my few people there has to be so much more that I could give them. I want to learn and I want to have the official proof that what we are doing has a creditable basis. For most Aides asking their Supervisor for the tools to obtain certification would be read as a threat sadly to say. I think you are right in thinking that many people don't want to put the effort/$ out to be licensed, but ALSO many entry level staff are never made aware that this is available it's a turf protection.
anita <iamthemom*>
watervliet, michigan USA - Wednesday, August 02, 2000 at 22:16:27 (CDT)
My main concern in the TR field is so many new grads work one or two years then move on to a new field. This frightens me and says little for our professional reputation. I am very dedicated to the field and become upset when I hear TR professionals leave the field for more money.. I wander if higher standards would help the amount of individuals in TR change thier career. A long with your article, I feel that CEU should be increased to ensure that TR professionals are receiving adaquate trainig. I tend to believe why individuals are not getting involved is due to it not be regulated to be a CTRS or belong to a organization to find a job. That is the bottom line. I feel professionalism is based on CEU and belonging to a form of National or Local organization. But, this is not regulated and must not be enforced in Universities. I also feel that the NCTRC exam should be harder test to weed out individuals who do not understand the TR process. I have came across many TR professionals who do not practice this process. I wish I knew all the answers to the questions that you spoke about, I am also concerned and wish their were more TR professionals involved. Keep up the good work and dedication to the field, you are truley a role model.
liz frere <LFrere*>
USA - Saturday, July 29, 2000 at 22:19:57 (CDT)
Dr. Austin, I do agree on your thoughts of professionals in Recreation Therapy to continue upgrading themselves. In this part of the world, Recreation Therapy is an emerging profession, and we are handling a course for the graduate program on Recreation for Special Groups. I am encouraging my students to do their research work using the world wide web. However, most of our students have not had the experience to use the web. Besides, this is not everyone can have access to www. I only hope that we could have access to more journals and materials on Therapeutic Recreation.
Alicia Lourdes Mas-Soriano <alilousoriano*>
Zamboanga City, Philippines Western Mindanao State University - Saturday, July 22, 2000 at 21:56:49 (CDT)
Dr. Austin I share your concerns about the participation in Therapeutic recreation professional orginzations. I currently am one of those who has not kept up my certification because I am back in Grad school picking up my MSW. My goal is to re apply for certification once I graduate and have an income, but for now my endorsement to the field is doing a thesis on the topic of recreational therapy and clinical social work. How the two can impact each other. With this in mind, I was wondering if you had a couple great book/articles that you recommend. i have been in the field of T.R. for the past ten years and the direction of my career lead me to go back to school. .
Ellen A. Gooch <eammen*>
Easthampton, MA USA Smith College - Monday, July 03, 2000 at 15:13:54 (CDT)
I agree with your summary paragraph, so often persons have been grandfathered into the field of Recreation Therapy in Homes for the Aged; perhaps these persons were Health Care Aides, or Activity Aides in former days. Yet, it is a changing world, and the residents of yesteryear, who were likely to read a newsletter, and make independent leisure choices are no more. The residents we are presented with today have many psycho geriatric issues, double diagnoses, dementias, and physical ailments. We cannot in good conscience, expect indpendent participation. It is my hope that Administrations nationwide, begin to recognize and accept, and perhaps even demand, the quality service a Recreation Therapist - who is trained, can offer beyond the parties and get togethers of yesteryear. It is my hope that Managers begin to learn from our profession, and from our colleagues, and expect stim programs, cognitive stim, and therapeutic intervention from their staff. Together with, professional bodies, university education and from trained persons, the personnel who are grandfathered into the field, MUST, become educated, and learn the skills needed to provide TRUE recreation therapy service.
teresa <teresaruetz*>
kit, onta canada - Friday, June 23, 2000 at 15:26:08 (CDT)
Dr. Austin, you came to visit our school on an accredidation trip this past year and I enjoyed your visit and your thoughts on TR. Having read your article I fully agree with what you've said. How can we possibly help our clients, especially in trying to introduce them to new and exciting activities and possibilities if we ourselves aren't aware of them. Having incorrect or inadequate knowledge is a very dangerous thing in our field. I am presently joining ATRA so that I can be included in the new changes that are taking place. I don't want to be the one to have to ask questions to try and keep up with where our field is going. I want to be able to contribute and learn. I hope all is well in Indiana, I'm presently doing an internship in Charleston, SC, at the Medical University of South Carolina, in their Institute of Psychiatry and am loving it! I've learned a lot in just my orientation alone. I look forward to completing my studies so that I can get out there and put TR to work . Take care, Kerry Bennett
Kerry Bennett <kbear_03820*>
Durham, NH USA University of New Hampshire - Friday, June 09, 2000 at 08:53:08 (CDT)
I feel that it is important for RT professionals to attend professional developmental conferences. I feel that if I as a student can attend a conference so can someone that is providing TR services. One way that I feel that other CTRS will go to conference is that a conference should be held in every state. Many times people do not attend conferences that involve professional development because they may have to travel to a different state. So, if conferences were closer to where a person lived maybe they might attend them.
Tam <Purple16thstreet*>
Montgomery, AL USA Alabama State University - Monday, June 05, 2000 at 22:42:39 (CDT)
Dr. Austin, I found this article very interesting. I used to work for the Department of Juvenile Justice as a recreational supervisor. Basically the population that I worked with had no physical disabilities, but were socially challenged. I have a B.S. in HPE and my teaching certification, from Frostburg State University. While working for DJJ, I filled out T.R. forms on each individual after the activity. Do you consider working with this population, and attempting to re-train their social behaviors through recreation as a form of therapeutic recreation? I am asking this question, because I do not see how these organizations would have helped me with the population that I was dealing with. Most of the time when people hear about T.R., they think of physical or severe mental disabilities, not social/personal issues. I have started to write an article/book on this subject because it is not given enough attention. Thank you for your time, Brian Divelbliss
Brian Divelbliss <fester1972*>
Cumberland, Maryland USA - Friday, May 12, 2000 at 08:44:44 (CDT)
It was nice. So how is everyone today? I'm doing good. Well smile even you can make someone's day go better by saying hi.
Jackie Noff
St. Charles, Mo USA - Wednesday, April 05, 2000 at 13:25:44 (CDT)
I believe keeping up in our profession is a necessity to delivering a quality service and to increase our credibility among other professional disciplines. I have been out of school for 2 years working in the field and have found networking with other professionals, going to TR conferences, and READING has been extremely important! I also see a need to look globally at our profession and to Keep up to speed, and to be consistant as RTs!! I love my field of study and believe that continueing to learn and staying ACTIVE in the profession developes a holistic and well rounded perspective of RT for professionals and clients-
Tobie Bouchard <tobiesk8me*>
Lewiston, ME USA St. Mary's Regional Hospital - Saturday, March 18, 2000 at 19:26:26 (CST)
It was a great artical, but I thought that it wold talk about the trend of TR moving into home care. I am writing a paper on this trend into the new year, but having a hard time finging information on it.
Colleen Beistel <pumpkin118*>
Brockport, New York USA SUNY brockport College - Friday, November 19, 1999 at 13:58:47 (CST)
I agree 100% with your thoughts in your article. I also admire your Therapeutic Recreation book. I am a senior and a TR major. I would like to hear your personal philosophy of therapeutic recreation. I am working on my own philosophy paper and it would be great to hear from you. Thanks, James Worsley
James D. Worsley <jdworsle*>
Greensboro, NC USA The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. - Thursday, November 11, 1999 at 21:14:46 (CST)
I have just begun a master's program in recreational therapy and am very interested in any information on licensure and certification issues in this profession. These include the difference between licensure and certification, what each enable you to do job-wise as opposed to having neither or just one, how to get licensed and/or certified, latest information on licensing and certification in general, etc.. We are also discussing the pros and cons of licensure and certification, so any feedback on this topic would also be appreciated. We are also going to be debating the difference between therapeutic recreation for quality of life and recreation therapy, and the significance of this. Any input that you can add to this topic would once again be of great interest. Thank you.
Anne Sypek <ssypek*>
Wallingford, CT USA - Sunday, October 10, 1999 at 19:31:47 (CDT)
I am a occupational therapy assistant who has just started a new job as a recreation director.In order to maintain my professional lincense i have to attend 24 ceu' every two years. i strongly agree with you. In order to keep a sharp edge and motivation you need to attend workshops.
Christie <gege30*>
balto, md USA gensis Elder Care - Thursday, October 07, 1999 at 20:04:58 (CDT)
I have to say that I totally agree with your article. I know first hand how it is working for a director of recreation that isn't certified or who hasn't attended any conferences or continueing education classes in the last ten years. I worked for a long term health care center for one and a half years, first as a Recreation Assistant and then as Assistant Director of Recreation, I got hired at the job with no exsperience and fell in love with the work. The residents are bored to death with the same old activities and it just got so hard for me to see the way they got treated on a daily bases that I finally quit. My old boss has copies of her first newsletter and activities calendar from ten years ago and it looks just the same today as it did back then, and this is because she hasn't attended any conferences or learned anything new in the field of Therapeutic Recreation in the last ten years. I am now working with a director who is certified as a Therapeutic Specialist and the difference in the two departments is amazing. I have seen the best and worst of both worlds, the Therapeutic Recreation Director that is certified and the one that isn't. I feel so sorry for the residents at my old facility they deserve so much better. I will be attending the University of Las Vegas in the fall majoring in Therapeutic Recreation and I will be certified and belong to a preofessional origination, so I can learn as I grow with the profession and so I can provide the best therapy to any future residents I will work with. Thanks for the article.
Sandra <sdstrzeb*>
Laurel, Maruland USA U.N.L.V. - Thursday, July 01, 1999 at 19:36:46 (CDT)
I work in a psychosocial rehabilitation program providing social and recreational services to those individuals that are afflicted with a mental illness. Is there a Canadian Recreation Therapists Association that I can contact? Thank-you .
karen <nclark*>
minnedosa, manitoba canada - Friday, June 11, 1999 at 21:51:50 (CDT)
I work in a psychosocial rehabilitation program providing social and recreational services to those individuals that are afflicted with a mental illness. Is there a Canadian Recreation Therapists Association that I can contact? Thank-you .
karen <nclark*>
minnedosa, manitoba canada - Friday, June 11, 1999 at 21:51:02 (CDT)
I am junior majoring in Social Work. Upon learning more about the profession, I have decided that I am better suited in the field of recreational therapy. I plan to keep my major and obtain my MSW also. My goal is to work and eventually own a camp to use riding horses as a therapy. Do you have any information about this topic?
Katy Stack <katystack*>
Troy, AL USA Troy State University - Wednesday, May 05, 1999 at 17:54:29 (CDT)
I am a junior majoring in social work. I want to have a recreational therapy
Katy Stack <katystack*>
Troy, AL USA Troy State Universtiy - Wednesday, May 05, 1999 at 17:51:29 (CDT)
Hello Dr Austin, First, I would like to ask for your indulgence on my englisk writing because my mother tongue is french. Actually, I'm not writing about the above article but rather about the Health Protection/Health Promotion model featured in your book Therapeutic Recreation/ Processes and Techniques. I'm currently writing my masters paper on the impact of therapeutic recreation in the bio-psycho-social rehabilitation of mild traumatic brain injured persons. Since I'm applying the model to the subjects I'm experimenting with, I would like to know where I can get more explainations on the model's applications. I thank you in adnance for you collaboration. Please receive my best regards.
Rolland L'Esperance <Rolland_Lesperance*>
Trois-Rivieres, Canada Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres - Thursday, April 08, 1999 at 18:32:05 (CDT)
Although I agree with the main points in your article, there may be reasons which prevent TR practitioners from keeping abreast of issues in the field. Location, econmomic status, agency reinbursement to name a few. I feel that if this article were written in a manner in which you were providing constructive feedback as opposed to generalizing about the reasons why Tr professionals do or do not attend conferences etc. I have been certified since 1992. It is not always easy for me to attend conferences, and I do not have a large enoughg budget to build up my library of resources, let alone attending conferences. I think if this article were written in a more supportive manner it would serve to motivate people as opposed to making them feel bad. I agree that your points are valid but we need to work together in a positive light to further our field. I agrre that the WEB has become an invaluable resource for me! Thank you for your thouhgts. I believe they are well intentioned.
Peter Showstead <Showsted*>
Boston, Ma USA - Monday, April 05, 1999 at 22:18:39 (CDT)
Keepin up with trends is very important. Conferences and seminars are very informative
Tarinna Whitmire <blue5soror*>
Wash, DC USA Temple Univ. alumni - Tuesday, March 16, 1999 at 21:03:10 (CST)
The sad truth in your article is that you are preaching to the converted! I agree that the majority of the TR professionals that seek out information on the Web are those that are interested in professional development. What we need to do is educate those that aren't putting that effort forward. More often than not these individuals are in low paying positions working for agencies that do not have extra funds to support TR staff professional development. I agree that the ideal would be that all professionals employed in TR uphold the same high standards. I fail to see how shame can viewed as a motivator for those who are not. The Alzheimer Society of Montreal has recognized the role of stimulation activities in upholding the quality of life of those affected by Alzheimer's Disease. They also were aware, however, that many centres were forced to trim budgets and the quality recreation programs were at risk. In support of the recreation programs, they instituted a "Forget Me Not" program to promote Therapeutic Recreation programming and awareness activiities for Alzheimer clients. Grants as high as $2 000.00 each were awarded to exemplary recreation programs! Not only are the TR professionals becoming more interested...but the administration and other disciplines are recognizing the importance of competent TR programs. All this to say that maybe we should find a way of encouraging, rather than shaming those who can not (will not?) maintain their professional development.
Monique Di Lonardo, CTRS <dilonardo*>
Montreal, Quebec Canada Royal Victoria Hospital, Concordia University - Tuesday, February 02, 1999 at 08:48:06 (CST)
I am glad that there is information out there for CTRS. Now we just need to see how important it is to stay informed. Could you send me some information on ATRA, such as an application. I would appreciate it. Thanks.
Carolee <carolee52*>
Vermillion, SD USA CD Treatment Center - Sunday, January 24, 1999 at 14:27:25 (CST)
I am glad that there is finally an article site on the TR web Page. I was wondering if you could send me some information on ATRA, such as application or how to get one. I think that what you said here is very accurate. Thanks!!!
Carolee <carolee52*>
Vermillion, SD USA CD Treatment Center - Sunday, January 24, 1999 at 14:23:15 (CST)
I am very interested in learning more about recreational therapy. Can you please send me as much information possible. Thank you. j.miklavic*
Jackie <j.miklavic*>
Cleveland, OH USA Cleveland State University - Wednesday, January 13, 1999 at 21:59:52 (CST)


Sadly too many of your points are true. As a member of the California Recertification Committee,I see too many applications that record continuing education units that are professionally related, but not professionally driven CPRS,ATRA,etc,sponsered events).
Karen Markland <Jeepby4>
Fresno, CA USA Fresno County Mental Health - Tuesday, December 29, 1998 at 21:46:57 (CST)

I am not actively employed in the recreation field. I have been employed at LSU for the past 8 years, starting as a typist clerk, and have worked my way up to office coordinator. I could (if the job opportunity presents itself) go into an advisor position (bachelor's degree required) and only make about $500.00 more a year than I am right now. I am limited in my continuing education endeavors due to fundage and the fact that I am not in a recognized degree seeking field for my position. The university will pay for anything that will help my job position and I have to justify anything by tooth and nail. I do not have the gpa to get into graduate school, where I could pursue educational counseling or social work (recognizable degrees for the counseling positions here at LSU). I make more as a "secretary" than I would as a TR professional in this state. I worked in a nursing home for 6 months, at $7.00 an hour. I worked in a hospital for 6 weeks on a temporary assignment for $9.00 an hour. I make over $10.00 an hour right now. I do not have the fundage or "travel" support to attend a conference. If I was a counselor or a higher administrator (like assistant to the dean, etc.) or a faculty advisor, I would have the support of my employer to use travel funds. I am barely making it. I am the in-house expert for therapeutic recreation. I have supplied students with information on nctrc, on the schools that do have the program, and have talked with students interested in the program. I have passed the tr exam twice now, with just studying and reviewing my notes from Slippery Rock University (I graduated in December 1987). I am a shy person, so my leadership skills excel in different areas than what most people expect of an activity/ctrs person. What does a person do in my position? I want to expand my horizons and keep up with the field.
miriam smith <gelf*>
baton rouge, la USA louisiana state university - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 14:28:48 (CST)

Dr. Austin, I was just recently accepted into the Recreational Therapy program at the University of Toledo. I was wondering if you could give me some information on what steps would be important for me to take before my graduation in May of 2000. Thank you. Diana Gugov
Diana Gugov <dgugov*>
Toledo, OH USA University of Toledo - Monday, November 30, 1998 at 11:38:36 (CST)

I agree with you ! I think those people calling themselves recreational therapists who are not credentialed are misrepresenting our profession and should be legally repremanded, if it were possible.
Beth Ayers trs / ctrs
wilmington, nc USA The Oaks * New Hanover Regional Medical Center - Friday, November 27, 1998 at 13:58:33 (CST)

I agree. I found myself writing negitive thoughts about my colleagues and my opinions about their participation in professional developement and membership in professional associations but I erased them. The real issue is how do we as professionals enroll them in the possibility of our associations and conferences. Obviously they do not see the benifit. It's not a requirement and in many cases not even acknoledged as an accomplishment. In some way they miss the point that it is up to us to to generate powerful associations that will reflect our committment to quality services provided by professional that are current in the best practices in T.R.. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do this in my facility. I have the privilage of this callenge in the form of Professional Practice Leader at work and chairperson of a chapter in the provincial T.R. association. I think first some reward for participating in education and membership in an association. We have had no luck making membership manditory.( and we have tried) I plan to share with the other recreation staff about my participation and invite them to join. I will be looking into education opportunities and promote inservice and onsite education sessions that Recreational professionals at my hospital will attend.
donna Beniusis <dbeniusis*>
Vancouver, b.c. Canada Riverview Hospital - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 21:20:06 (CST)

I agree fully that professionals need to stay informed of current trends by involvement in professional organizations, conferences, reading literature,attending workshops, and through T.R. web sites. Those in the field also need to get involved in research! I recently attended a professional conference that offered an opportunity to begin research efforts. I was very disappointed that of the hundreds of T.R. professionals at the conference only a handful showed up for the research workshop. I encourage all to get involved to learn more, stay current, and continue promoting the benefits of the field through valid data. Practitioners also need to educate those they work with by providing inservices, participating in National R.T. week, speaking highly of the field, and be willing to have student interns. I am always looking for students interested in a quality internship in acute care psychiatrics. Students have a wonderful way of keeping professionals on top of their game and give you opportunities to pass on the benefit of working in this field. I do have a word of advice to those considering accepting students. Have high standards for your students and teach not only the skills necessary to provide groups and assessments, but professional attitude. Both you and your students will benefit greatly from the experience
Joy A. Coulson CTRS/RTCR <jocoto*>
Zanesville, OH USA Genesis HealthCare System - Wednesday, November 11, 1998 at 21:38:41 (CST)

About one year ago, I wrote to you about being a true TR professional. I believe in TR now more than ever before. I have grown as a professional because of both the practice and my advanced studies in the field. I attended the ATRA Conference on the Hill last April and found it to be most informative. I believe in attending conferences, presenting at conferences and reading literature regarding TR. As far as certification goes, we have a minimal certification process from which to grow and develop as a profession. Regardless, I am finding many students and recent graduates to be uninterested in persuing professional certification. Yes, it does seem like a struggle when one confronts all of the "red tape" but, is it not worth it to struggle to elevate the profession? I am concerned that we are mired in low self worth as a profession. I feel that this is trickling down to the young people just starting out. Lets pick ourselves up and run with the program. Recreation Therapists Must Unite! We must believe in the efficacy and power of TR!
Charles Sourby <Csour*>
Peekskill, NY USA St. Joseph's Nursing Home - Wednesday, October 28, 1998 at 17:21:27 (PST)

Dr. Austin, I am a graduate student at UNC-G and I have seen through my experience so far that most professionals and students don't understand that belonging to professional societies will do for them. Also the rate for membership is high for those just starting out. Most people can't pay that and say that they will join later but they never do. I know the student rate is lower, but most students don't keep up their membership after they are in the field. What it boils down to, is that students and new professionals don't understand even though the membership fee may be steep if you read the newsletters and join committees you will get more than your moneys worth out of the organization. However, this is just what I believe. Thanks for the article. If you have any information on Licensure vs. Certification or know of any references they would be greatly appreciated. Casey McGee
Casey McGee <CMcgee2360*>
Greensboro, NC USA UNC-G - Monday, September 21, 1998 at 19:28:39 (PDT)

I agree with your remarks regarding the professional aspect of the field, I am a CTRS but I am treated as a lone Activity Assistant at a long term care facility. I have interviewed at several other facilities and the salaries are so low it is atrocious. I have a problem with the location of most of ATRA's annual confrences, my department does not have the money allotment to send me to the professional conferences that I need; and many of my freinds in the field are also having the same problems. I can not afford to pay to go to a conference, pay for the maintenance of my certification, and the maintenance of my memberships to NTRS and ATRA on my present salary; as well as the car the apartment and other bills. I have looked elsewhere for a job but have gotten the same feedback; you need more experience. I am learning that maybe I should have really thought about what I got myself into becoming a CTRS. Money is not really the issue as much as the respect for the field; but coincidentally they dovetail each other, in our society if you have the respect you usually get the money. I am sorry if I sound bitter, but I feel as though I am fighting a losing battle. I am so depressed with my present position and my career choice, I love what I am doing and the people I am working with but "respect" is a big issue and from my interviewing experiences, respect is not something activities/recreation assistant have displayed by slapping a $9.00 an hour wage in our face. I could have saved my money from going to college and have earned the same amount doing what I am doing now, I may have still had my dignity.
USA - Wednesday, September 16, 1998 at 19:55:20 (PDT)

Dear Dr. Austin; I found your article very interesting. I was also very interested in what my colleagues had to offer. I am currently working on a presentation to the Ontario Ministry of Health regarding Standards of Practise in Long Term Care. I would like to include that funding should be made available to RT's for training. This is just one of the areas I will be presenting at the seminar. I would be interested in discussing standards of practise with you and other issues around the provision of Recreation Care to our clients.
Sean Weylie <cpmrec*>
Mississauga, Ontario Canada Chelsey Park Nursing Home - Thursday, September 10, 1998 at 08:36:49 (PDT)

Dr. Austin I agree with your comments, however as a professional in the field for almost 20 years. I am finding it harder to be involved in conferences, and organizations . in the past my empolyer used to send me to at least one conference a year, and pay most of the expenses. Now due to continued cut backs in health care, and goverment they have not sponsored me for clse to five years. There was even a major conference in our city, and they would not send me. Also TR's saleries make it difficult to be involved. I am now trying to raise a family, I do make about 38,000 a year which is a great salary in TR, but poor for most other proffesions, and that is after 20 years. I am thankful for the internet as it is a great way to stay current at a low cost.
Mike Scott <mcs-recre8*>
Salt Lake City, Utah USA VA - Thursday, July 30, 1998 at 06:58:28 (PDT)

would like information on reimbursement for therapeutic recreation at a state run facility for mentally ill and chemically dependent. please e-mail sources for me if possible.
kristen geissler <kristen.geissler*>
anoka, mn USA anoka metro regional treatment center - Saturday, July 11, 1998 at 08:35:23 (PDT)

Dear Dr. Austin I agree with you on having a lack of pro's in TR. I just had resigned from a position in rec. because my coworkers were not educated in TR (they only had years of experience) and I felt that we were on different levels. Their leadership skills and communication with residents was unprofessional. I consider myself a professional once I joined an organization therefore I can not be apart of a dept. that has this type of behavior going on . I have ethical standards to uphold. Also I am encouraging other student's the importance of going to conferances.
Yolanda <loveyogi1*>
NYC, NY USA Lehman College - Thursday, May 21, 1998 at 16:32:34 (PDT)

I agree with what you are saying. I wish here in Canada we had standards set and recognized by our government. As it stands now it is a voluntary thing to commit yourself to a professional body. In defence of some of the "professionals" out there who do not belong to a professional body or attend seminars/conferences, some employers do not support this and if becomes the burden of the RT to pay for all the upgrading and memberships. This can be costly. I am a member of the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association and I have to pay for it myself, if I want to attend any educational courses etc. I have to pay for it myself. Some employers are supportive but most are not.
Kimberley Principi <principi*>
St. Catharines, Ont Canada Deer Park Villa Nursing//Retirement Home - Monday, May 11, 1998 at 21:22:15 (PDT)

I could not agree more!!! 1. I have TR professors who are out of touch with the field because they have been so inactive.2. I am a student member of ATRA and whenever RT's see the newsletter they say, "Oh, I should join." I tell them all they have to do is join online or fill out the membership slip on the back of my newsletter.3. I learn more about TR, as a student, from otside sources like ATRA and the TR Directory than I do in the classroom.
David Rulnick <hrulnick*>
Middletown, CT USA Student at Southern Connecticut State University - Sunday, May 03, 1998 at 00:54:05 (PDT)

very interesting sayings that you have to offer. keep up the good work and always stay interested in what your doing or you will loose interest in your job so take care. Sincerely ,Chase
dalllas, tx USA no employment - Tuesday, April 28, 1998 at 09:43:42 (PDT)

I graduated in TR in 1984. I have been active only the past 5 years in our state organization and 4 yrs in NTRS. I believe that my involvement has pushed me to new sights within my chosen profession. I only wish other professionals could see the benefit of "staying up to date".It seems that it is always the same "few" who are active-the only way to achieve PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION in the areas of practice, we must unite and be involved. Chris
chris forsdick <gforsdick*>
slc, ut USA - Sunday, April 26, 1998 at 06:50:32 (PDT)

I am a student in the recreation and leisure servicesdepartment with a concentration in therapeutic recreation.I agree that to keep up with the new techniques and skillsthat are needed to give to the clients a TR should be a memeberof our national associations. I have to be honest in saying thatas of right now I am not a member of any right at the moment.This is not to say that I will not in the very near future.I do have a concern with the fact that some TR professionalsdo not get the support from their employer to help with the cost in getting the specific training for new techniques. I know that even now being a student with no other source of income other than what I work for myself, it seems like alot to payfor fees and other costs for getting the training. I am wonderingif this and the fact that some are not able to get off work the times that some of these conferences are being offer or perhapsdue to the locality that they are taking place at.I am very excited in persueing my career in the TR field if youcould send me any more insight or information please feel freeto write back. Hope to hear from you soon. Kim
k. orcutt <korcutt*>
radford , va USA radford university - Monday, April 20, 1998 at 17:24:53 (PDT)

Your article was most interesting. Currently, I work in a hospital that provides care to pre-heart transplant candidates. Many of our patients remain hospitalized for long periods of time. Many up to a year, sometimes more. The staff is very thoughtful and supportive of these patients, but, frankly, we have no idea how they feel or cope with life in a hospital room. These patients are the healthiest on the floor and, with an escort, are able to go off the unit. Our concern is that we have no activities, no recreation area, no place for these people to feel "human". We are trying to implement some program that could be helpful to this population but are unsure about how to go about it. We would appreciate any information you may have on articles regarding the psychological and social benefits of a Recreational Therapist to long term hospitalized patients, the effects of long term hospitalization, and any ideas on how to go about with getting a program implemented. We would appreciate any ideas that you may have or direction you can give us. Thank you.
Teri Feit, R.N. <TERI8888*>
Lincoln, NE USA Bryan Memorial Hospital - Thursday, April 09, 1998 at 13:48:49 (PDT)

I wanted to see if you could send me more information on Recreational Therapy.
Mary Beth Hilsman <hilsmme*>
Auburn, AL USA Auburn University - Monday, April 06, 1998 at 19:15:19 (PDT)

I am a Senior in Rehabilitaion Services at Auburn Univ. in Auburn, Alabama. I was curious if you suggested any articles or internet addresses to keep up with the latest information on therapeutic recreation. I am doing a project on this career and wouldlike to know where to get the latest information. Thank Youfor your help.
Jenny Cohan <cohanjg*>
Auburn, AL USA Auburn University - Monday, April 06, 1998 at 19:02:03 (PDT)

Dr. Austin, I do share your thoughts regarding the level of professionalism within the TR field. Out of my graduating class in 1995, only 3-5 students became certified out of approximately 35 students. I feel this is where a large portion of the problem is. I now run an internship program at my facility where I give TR tests to assist them in their studying for the national exam, as well as make sure the application for the national test is completely filled out before they finish their internship. In response to NTRS, I was very dissappointed to find no information on membership, nor the national certification test at the NRPA booth at our state convention. There was NOTHING. I am currently sitting on our Therapeutic Recreation State Board and I am very involved at the state level. I plan on joining the national organization soon. I strongly believe that we must encourage the young professionals to become involved. Otherwise, they are disenchanted by nonprofessional TR's in the field.
Jennifer Piatt, RTC, CTRS <tpiatt*>
Chico, CA USA Do-It Leisure, CSU, Chico - Monday, March 30, 1998 at 18:19:45 (PST)

NY, NY USA LG.COMM. COLL. - Saturday, March 14, 1998 at 23:26:26 (PST)

I found this article while doing research for a paper on my personal philosophy on RLS. I am an older student and have worked in the mental health field for over 15 years. Your article reflects exactly what Drs. Sharon Carter and E. Ron Mendell have tried to enstill in their students. They try to teach professionalism and included in this is keeping up with your field.
Christine Tracey <cn2185*>
Albertson, NC USA Mt. Olive College,NC - Tuesday, February 10, 1998 at 17:43:11 (PST)

Dr.Austin I agree with the idea of professional involvment, as a student I do my best to soak up every oppertunity that comes my way. It is my personal opinion that professional memberships and involvment can solidify my contacts and knowledge as a student of the profession or a practicing professional.I want to be involved and be a part of the decision making that is responsible for the growth and development of our up and comming feild.I do have one serious concearn, why can't TR professionals and students come together and form one professional organization. The only thing having two seperate organizations (ATRA and NTRS) does is divide or strenth.A lesson that I learned very early in life is that strenth comes in numbers, we need to be on one team after all we are all in the game for the reasons, I hope.If you have any information concerning the future of TR please share.
Richard Kriner <rkriner*>
Radford, VA USA Radford University - Thursday, November 20, 1997 at 08:36:13 (PST)

I tried to respond previously, but only part of my message appeared. Although I am not professionally involved in therapeutic recreation/recreation therapy, I find it very interesting. Your article contained some valid points regarding professionalism in the field, but I cannot agree with it totally. In the article you refer to "professionals" as those who attend conferences, workshops, etc. I agree that these are essential for members to attend in order to remain current in the field. However, from what I understand about the events at a recent national "professional" organization's annual conference, I am left wondering how loosely the term professional is used in this field. What kind of an organization uses its annual meeting as a forum for public displays of affection between couples? Is that what this field is all about? Is that professional? It seems to me that many of these so-called professionals had an agenda of their own which does not relate to "keeping up with skills and a knowledge base in the field" as you suggest in your article. Furthermore, if those members who are most professionally active are also the ones who are active on the web, how do you account for NCTRC's lack of participation in and eventual removal of the NCTRC bulletin board from the TR Directory? You write that it is too bad that many RT's do not strive to remain proficient practitioners. Perhaps it is even more of a shame that the so-called "leaders" in the field cannot seem to get their priorities straight. But then what should one expect from a field that cannot even agree on its name?
TR Observer
Non-TR Program - Monday, October 27, 1997 at 14:51:51 (PST)

Dr.Austin please send me something on the Specific Benefits of Therapeutic Recreation as much as possible please.
ryan elmore <coolwhip22*>
ruston, La USA - Wednesday, October 22, 1997 at 10:05:03 (PDT)

1. As a graduate student who works full time with advanced cancer patients in TR, where Palliation is the desired outcome of TR interventions, I have found that the research in the field to be lacking direction & continuity. 2. The application process for becoming a CTRS is very cumbersome, given the ever changing requirements. Also the factr that NCTRC allows recent B.S. level graduates with minimal experience become certified more easily than other professional, who are unable to use their experiential learning toward certification.3. The national and regional conferences rehash the same material over and over. Boredom does not inspire learning. The expense of attending these conferences also makes it difficult for many and unaffordable for many to attend.4. The NRPS, ATRA, NYSTRA, NYRPS, & other professional organizations are an expense that most recreation therapists can hardly afford. Check the internet & newspapers for the average salary being advertised and you will see why most TRS's cannot afford to join multiple organizations.
Charles A. Sourby <Sourby*>
Peekskill, NY USA Lehman College Graduate Studies - Thursday, September 25, 1997 at 04:46:51 (PDT)

I have been taught and I agree that all RT's should be involved with atleast one professional organization. It seems the TR's I come into contact with are certified and belong to prof. organizations. Although I feel aggravated when someone lets there certification go or is not involved with are profession. I wish we had ONE professional organization, but maybe later that will happen. Off the subject for a moment, are you aware of any community based programs that work with at risk youth or inner city youth??? If so do they employ RT's??? For I have found my love and it is youth at risk. Thank you for your help. Sincerely, Penny Scott
Penny Scott <pscott73*>
Hattiesburg, MS USA USM - Monday, September 08, 1997 at 21:03:42 (PDT)

Agree with you. Am hoping to become certified with NCAAP is this the same organization. Exactly what is NCTRC. Is this a different organization. The Adult Day Care is such a different setting than the nursing home. Do you have any special certification for them. Looking forward to your reply.
Theresa <JSwider>
Parma, Oh USA Elder Center Adult Day Care - Friday, August 15, 1997 at 20:44:26 (PDT)

Agree, but must admit I have slacked off paying dues for professinal membership over the past 5 years or so. Am involved in all other aspects mentioned. I believe the only way to encourage other RT's to become professionally responsible is to push for state licensures and for certification agencies such as JCAHO or CARF to requireCTRS to supervise care. I don't have ideas for agencies who do not seek hospital accredidation; it seems we have no leverage there. I find many people extrremely closed minded or they seem to have a "block" when it comes to understanding and gaining respect for TR and its clinical focus. I believe many are stuck in their own ideas/experience in recreation/leisure and perhaps strongly influenced by the old American work ethic. This influences priorities in hiring certified RT's and unless required by law or accredidation agencies, they will hire non-certified people to program diversional type activities. I hear it may be different in other parts of the country, but around Atlanta this is my experience. Thankyou for your views, I commit to try and get more invoved locally to influence change.
Jan Samson
Atlanta, Ga USA V.A.Medical - Thursday, July 31, 1997 at 06:06:46 (PDT)

I believe the majority of individuals who go to school to become a Recreation Therapist end up in another professional service area. The training we recieve in record keeping, charting, and organization skills seem to put us at risk for working in many other fields. The field of Recreation Therapy is not an easy one to find a job in and it does not always pay enough to raise a family on. I believe the T.R. professional has a difficult time getting the recognition he or she deserves in the field of health because of many factors including; being a fairly new player in health care, the word recreation in our title, lack of education of the public.I do think those who are on the internet are individuals who are dedicated to the profession, but I also think many professionals (under your definition of professional) , do not get on the web for lack of time and energy to put into it. I for instance am not on often. I am a full time mom and wife, have a growing consulting business in Therapeutic Recreation services, am active with my extended family and friends, hold an office in a professional society (C.P.R.S., T.R. section), and am also on the legislative committe for Recreation Therapy in California.
Lesa Shippelhoute <Lesa*>
USA Private consultant - Sunday, July 27, 1997 at 22:43:52 (PDT)

This article makes me feel very sad, yet I know how true it can be. I have been practicing for 11 years, most of it in the state of Hawaii. Being way out here in the ocean has been difficult and very frustrating. No one comes here to in-service and present. It is very expensive to fly to the mainland for conferences, not to mention the costs that are incurred once at the conference. There are few of us here that practice, and so few jobs, that we spend a lot of time just meeting one to one. It is sad to say, that here in Hawaii, the Activity Coordinators have done a better job of networking and providing support than the RT's. I am very thankful for the web. I use it to feel connected to the outside world. I finally feel as if I can contribute and learn at the same time. I was a member of ATRA for several years. I have not kept up my membership, because it did nothing for me out here, except to have my resume look better. I love the yearly jouranl, but can purchace this independently. I feel the same way about joining NTRS. My response doesn't help, I know, but it does give one example of the difficulties of wanting and trying to stay updated and professional, but having difficulty!!! Thanks for the article.
Anastasia Keller-Collins <kids*>
Honolulu, HI USA Shriners Hospital - Sunday, July 13, 1997 at 13:14:41 (PDT)

Your article was very interesting and it came to me at a very good time.I just received a disturbing note form a practicing TR saying that the field is deadin Michigan and to get out while I can. It really bothered me because I do believe in the benefits of TR. I chose to pursue this instead of going to grad school for Communication Disorders. I think this filed is very versitile, rewarding and fun!! I am heading out for my internship in the fall to HealthSouth Rehab in Alabamaand am really looking forward to my experience. I am a student member to all the organizations you mentioned and believe in beinginvolved in one's profession. As a student, a very poor student--HaHA I always managed to attend seminars and will continue to do the same once I get that job.I see TR as a being my future and agree about professional involvement.
Paula <Zara*>
Mt. Pleasant, MI USA CMU - Wednesday, June 25, 1997 at 17:06:57 (PDT)

I agree with Dr. Austin's article very much so. I work at a facility that has long term care, brain injury, and and a re-hab unit. There are 3 CTRS's employed there and it is obvious as to which ones are truly proffesionals. Not only is it evidenced in there work but their attitudes and behaviors. As a current Junior in the TR program, my only recommendation to you is to perhaps lower the prices on informative conferences held so that students like myself can attend and become informed. I would attend more conferences if the cost was lowered. 30-40 dollars can be quite expensive for a college student. All in all, I really enjoyed the article and best of luck in finding a sollution to helping TR professionals truly becoming what their name implies.
M. Beth Pavlak <pavlakm*>
Allendale, MI USA Grand Valley State University - Thursday, May 22, 1997 at 09:50:39 (PDT)

I'm interested in recieving the TRJ, but I have not been able to locate their address, I will appreciate any help you can give me..Thanks
Juan R. Castro Cintron <juanrc*>
San Juan , PR USA CPC Hosp. San Juan Capestrano - Monday, May 19, 1997 at 11:28:15 (PDT)

Dave, I concur with your comments, sadly. It is unfortunate that many professionals in therapeutic recreation do not understand the importance of and benefits of belonging to a national therapeutic recreation organization. The statistics cited in your piece should be alarming to practitioners in our profession.
Rikki Epstein, NTRS Director <NTRSNRPA*>
Arlington, VA USA National Therapeutic Recreation Society - Wednesday, May 14, 1997 at 14:35:59 (PDT)

Dave, I agree with you 100%. I believe that one of the main reasons for people's lack of involvementin keeping up-to-date in the field of Recreational Therapy is their own disbelief in what we do. Ithink that many professionals in RT (TR) share the same thoughts and feelings as those who we are continuously trying to educate. I also believe that many of these people, come time to renew their certification, will "bail out" of TR. So, why do so many RT professionals have efficacy questions?I must assume that one obvious answer relates to education. Another reason might be the never-endingsaga of ATRA vs. NTRS, OT/PT vs. RT, NCTRC vs. State Licensure, etc... What are your thoughts?
Michael Hasl, CTRS <mikehasl*>
Cincinnati, OH USA Children's Hospital Medical Center - Saturday, April 26, 1997 at 05:37:47 (PDT)

Hi Dave! Our dept. just got an updated computer from our Apple III don't have any words of wisdom why more professionals aren't moreactively involved. I know that it takes a positive attitude and self motivation to be active in any association. I believe the generalpublic is satisfied with the status quo. I'm not! Gotta go. /MO
Maureen Oswald <mmo7u*>
Charlottesville, VA USA University of Virginia/Children's Medical Center - Saturday, April 19, 1997 at 07:25:32 (PDT)

I agree 100 percent. I was suprised and shocked when I saw the figures you list in the ATRA news letter earlier this year. How can we expect others to respect us and consider us a viable discipline when we can not even support ourselves. I can also say that ATRA does have its problems. People who volunteer for committees never get called and just give up. I have had this experience and know of others like myself, someof which say why bother, I will save the money. It seems if youare not in the "group" or educated under a "name" your not needed.Just some thoughts.
Tim Miller <NMMC*>
Leesburg, GA USA Palmyra Regional Rehab Center - Saturday, March 15, 1997 at 13:18:19 (PST)

I agree that most RT professionals do not adequately take advantage of resources offered to them. I have often had to pay to attend RT workshops, conferences, and conventionsout of personal funds even when presenting at agiven function as a representative for an employer. Other healthcare professionals often have the benefitof attending continuing education programs as their employer picks up the tab. Unfortunately, most recreational therapists don't have this luxury. Due to the growing numbers of qualified professionalsthat flood the RT job market, many companies arecutting the salaries of recreational therapists asrecent RT graduates will provide the "required leisureservices as mandated by governing bodies" for significantlyless money than the incumbent recreational therapistdemands. As this trend continues, many recreational therapists around me are changing professions, becoming private consultants, or settling for positions that provideno opportunity for growth and advancement. Many of therecreational therapists employed by healthcare facilitiesare frustrated and disappointed because the administrative and executive officers of these facilities don't show usthe same respect and provide us with the same benefits andopportunities as our physical and occupational therapy counterparts. Although maintaining and improving our clinical abilities and skills is important in gaining respect for our profession, individually it may be impossible to attend continuing education events, becomea part of a professional organization, or purchase currentRT literature as financially many of us struggle to surviveas recreational therapists.
Brad Wardlaw <FBWARDLAW3*>
Largo, FL USA Sunrise of Northshore - Thursday, December 19, 1996 at 07:15:38 (PST)

Of the estimated 30,000 RT jobs in the country, only 13,226 are currently certified. Dr. Peg Connolly's goal is to increase it to 25,000 by the year 2,000. ATRA has 4,000 members, of which approx. 2,300 are CTRSs, which account for only 17.4% of those currently certified. Dr. Frank Brasile's goal is to make it 50% by the year 2000. Only 10,200 to go. NTRS has 2,500 members, I don't know how many are CTRSs as opposed to CLPs, etc..but I suspect fewer student members due to the extra fifteen dollars to add the NTRS branch to the NRPA student branch membership. If ALL 2,500 were CTRSs, not accounting for overlap due to dual memberships, that would only account for 36.3% of those certified, combined. I have been told that compared to other professions, this level of involvement at the national level is fairly high. This doesn't account for those whose needs are met by state RT associationsor membership to affiliated organizations that provide NCTRC recognized CEUs. All that was just a base to add perspective to STROL studentmembership stats. Of the 185 schools with TR programs I've located by searching the internet (and I find more every day), 49 are represented by STROL subscription. Only seven schools have more than 10 subscribers, while 28 of the others are represented by 3 or less. Of the 50 states in the U.S. only 26 are represented by university (edu) subscribers. Ofthe 305 subscribers total, 269 are from schools, and I suspect at least 26 of those are either instructors or already certified CTRSs seeking a higher degree. What does all this mean? It means that there are potentiallythousands of eager students from at least 136 (probably more)other schools out there, just waiting to find out about STROL, and a chance to participate in a meaningful online learning experience. I feel that your contribution is an integral part of that experience. The internet is one way I advocate RT. It also facilitates Frank's 10,200 additional members, by recruiting at the college level so when they graduate they'll join ATRA. 3-1/2 more years of graduating seniors from 185+ schools can add up. I'll leave the nagging of other currently uncertified professionals to their peers.
Jeff Mansfield <mansfield*>
Asheville, NC USA Western Carolina University - Friday, November 08, 1996 at 17:42:04 (PST)

Dr. Austin I sit back and reflect, I agree with what you are saying. I see concerns with membership especially here in the midwest. I see how far behind we are in many ways possibly due to your exact statements. The question....What to do??? I have offered free workshops providing CEU's from ATRA and NAAP. I had 65 participants and less than 20 apply for CEU's. The question to me was Why do I need CEU's in regard to NAAP. CTRS's stated they were not associated with national or local organizations because they could still attend conferences without joining them. It appears money (salaries) is the bottom line along with education of the organizations. I face the question ----- without advocates through our organizations, how can we increase those salaries? I also see many "activity" therapists and/or directors taking positions for far less salary than what TR would like yet many TR professions take those positions due to availability here in the midwest. It will be interesting to see yourconclusions.
Tonya Kelly, CTRS <lucky33*>
OKC, OK USA Columbia Edmond Medical Center - Sunday, September 08, 1996 at 14:09:04 (PDT)

P.S. Looking forward to hearing you speak in Estes Park later this month at the Colorado Parks and Recreation annual conference.
Jennifer Fesperman, CTRS <jfesperman*>
Fort Collins, CO USA The City - Friday, September 06, 1996 at 20:35:58 (PDT)

Having practiced as a professional in 3 states(1 as a recreational professional and 2 states as a CTRS), I too have been frustrated by the lack of professional involvement of my peers. I have seen some luck with grassroots involvement - by providing inexpensive learning opportunities and networking for individuals in isolated communities or TR backwaters. By making these contacts you can encourage state involvement initially because state organization will be the one possibly set up to give CEU's. It is especially healthy when an RT numbers one in a clinical setting of many other therapies. To share and relate to fellow RT's can be so helpful as long as it doesn't become a whining match. Once involved locally or at state level you can encourage presentations at larger conferences - or challenge others to carpool to fiesta in the big city at a regional conference. Maybe just the act of deciding over lunch to bring a regional or national speaker into your area for the weekend. I also feel that as educators we must continue to encourage professional involvement, set good examples and educate our students that when you are job hunting (especially with experience under belt) that you can make a condition of your appointment the opportunity for training and service to organizations in our field. I do know some individuals, and have been there myself, that hours at work were neverending and time off to meetings were unthinkable. Saturday workshops andor network lunches can help. Fortunately, I am now in an active state, but it still surprises me the numbers who think their learning is over.y
Jennifer Fesperman, CTRS <jfesperman*>
Fort Collins, CO USA City of Fort Collins - Friday, September 06, 1996 at 20:34:08 (PDT)

Dr. Austin, Great comments. I certainly agree that there is need to keep current in the field. In the Department of VeteransAffairs there is a need for revision of the understandingof what Recreational Therapist do. In the VA there is a various titles from Creative Arts Therapist to RecreationalTherapist. Can you advise the Delegated Exam Unit in Richmondthat an update of the qualifications need to be made. I thinkWestern Carolina University has the most progressive program thatand curriculm for Recreational Therapist. In fact they are on ofthe few schools that have a Recreational Therapy Program and notTR. Course work varies with background in pharmacology, tokinesology. I hope tha other schools will step up there programsin this regard and have more clinically designed studies rather than a global TRcurriculm.
Kenneth Davis, CTRS
Exeter, NH USA VA Medical Center - Monday, August 12, 1996 at 11:17:40 (PDT)

Interesting statistics and interesting points! It seems to me that in no professional field is there more bemoaning of lack of recognition, poor payscales and lack of respect, than in Therapeutic Recreation. Yet in 1996 in 35,000 jobs 23,000 remain uncertified? When we know certification = $$$ in today's job market? When, bluntly put, the cardinal rule of the pecking order in any professional arena is whoever's got the most alphabet letters after their name wins? Could we sabotage ourselves better if we tried? Or is it that we like being barefoot and pregnant?????? Facing additional education to meet sitting requirements can be a great hardship. Juggling school and work and family life is not easy. In a young profession like ours, where so many of us have had our baccalaureate training in other areas, it's a hardship many have had to face. But the reality is, unlike the tooth fairy, there ain't no one out there gonna bestow recognition (or decent salaries) on us, just because our heart is in the right place and we work hard. Recognition is earned through education, credentialling, and demonstration of state of the art skills and knowledge every day in practice. As to the statement that there are 35,000 practicing RT's, maybe this will sound harsh to some, but I dont think we can ethically say that in 1996. Where there is a nationally recognized credentialling process for standard of competency for recreation therapists, the term "recreation therapist" implies the credential to the client. An individual facility can really no longer ethically elect to bestow the title on an uncredentialled individual. Bottom line, isn't that consumer fraud? In closing, I'd like to share that I read your article today during a presentation to a group of RT's, and asked for their feedback. Many cited costs of memberships and conferences as a barrier, some mentioned computers as unaffordable. So I asked how many had cars, and how many bought them new. There were a lot of new car owners in the group. Just some food for thought.
Lora Serra, MA, CTRS <102361.2753*>
Brooklyn, NY USA Schulman Institute, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center - Wednesday, May 29, 1996 at 17:20:24 (PDT)

In British Columbia, we have yet to establish our certification with BCTRA, however it is only a matter of time before it will be implemented. Our association is growing, but as you point out, there are still a large number of practicing RT's within our province who do not belong to BCTRA. I find is essential to stay in touch with other RT professionals; to learn new trends and activities in Therapeutic Recreation to ensure that I give my residents/clients the best, quality, service I can. Furthermore, if we, as a profession, cannot keep our RT's interested and updated in the field of TR, how can we even begin to attempt to educate other professions as to our validity, worth and professionalism within "team" meetings at our facilities. I think it would help our profession if our governments recognized our profession as an essential part of the "Health Service Delivery Team". I also think that employers sshould insist on hiring certified RT's first to motivate other RT's to obtain their certification. We, in B.C., have a long way to go to reach the goals that ATRA and NTRS have reached over the last few years, but it sounds like both countries have similar issues regarding certification and keeping our fellow RT's up-to-date within the field. Thanks for showing your interest in this large issue. This is a "hot" topic at our chapter meeting (Okanagan/Kootenay Region) too. Lastly, I think Charlie Dixon and Jeff Mansfield show the dedication to the TR field by the time and energy they have invested in designing and implementing the terrific web pages for INTERESTED RT's such as myself. It is nice to be able to keep abreast of new issues, trends and to network with other RT's. Thanks again for listening..Yours in Leisure in B.C., Michelle
Michelle Wingfield <mwingfield*>
Kelowna, BC Canada Westside Care Centre - Wednesday, May 08, 1996 at 22:18:12 (PDT)

I will have to agree with all other resposnes. My postion falls under the dept. of rehab at my facility and as a requirement of each dicipline we had to form a TR council. This consist of the department meeting on a regular basis for the purpose of professional issues. As part of this council we had to develop an informal alliance with a university. We have to meet with an academic CTRS on a quarterly basis to keep up with current professional standards and they wiil serve as a departmetn consultant. As a part of this council we are also working on other issues such as peer review, rating ourselves on competency areas and then initiating education on those issues, and developing standards for paraprofessional. So, not only am I lucky enough to work in a dept. that is concerned about professional issues, but are also expected to do so by our administrator.
Christine Sintzel, C.T.R.S. <Jsintze*>
St. Louis, MO USA Barnes - Jewish Hospital - Wednesday, May 08, 1996 at 15:09:12 (PDT)

Heather Daily
Franklin, IN USA - Saturday, May 04, 1996 at 19:48:45 (PDT)

Dave: I agree with you 100000%. I am not sure how we grab people and bring them into the "professional fold". I also agree that the people who are accessing the Internet are also the same people who are involved professionally. How do we build a professional ethic among practitioners which causes them to recognize the tremendous sense of empowerment that can come from being involved and being able to network with peers. I would venture to guess that those people who are not involved are likely the "whiners" or the naysayers and predictors of doom and gloom about the TR profession. I don not have an answer as to how to reach out, but know that I too am concerned and am listening to and looking for ways to include people in our professional culture. I am reminded of the phrase "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink". We have an awful lot of parched professionals hanging out near the watering hole! Sharon
Sharon Nichols
Salem, NH USA Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital - Monday, April 29, 1996 at 16:03:48 (PDT)

Thanks for the opportunity for feedback. I agree although not everyone needs to be a member of a professional organization to keep current. Libraries are available and make for a much more cost effective use of my time. You know us CTRS's dont make just a lot of money. The internet is a good alternative also, for those who are willing to come out of their shell and see the new technology. Anyway, just a word from me.
Tamara R. Srader, CTRS <rossinst*>
Richardson, TX USA Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma - Wednesday, April 24, 1996 at 15:56:17 (PDT)

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