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an inTeRlink feature article
1-11-97, updated 11-18-01

Recreation Therapists are Yelling "Surfs Up!" and Riding the Internet Wave

Charles C. Dixon, MS, CTRS

The Web, World Wide Web, or WWW has been available to Internet users for less than three years. Yet because of its ease of use and graphical interface, the Web has exploded and growing exponentially. Each day, thousands and thousands of new Web sites (locations where people can view electronic information combining text and graphics that can be embellished with audio files and video clips) are added to the Web. Recreation therapy information is now available on the Internet and more is being added each day. With continuing ease of access to the Internet and with the addition of relevant and useful information for recreation therapists, I foresee more and more Internet activity that will include networking, education, and information resource gathering.


In the late 1960s, the government funded the creation of a nationwide computer network to connect remote research and development sites and universities. A standard protocol language was established (TCP/IP) so that all computers linked to the Internet could communicate to each other. Eventually, the network expanded, linking sites globally.

In the early 1990s, two significant developments took place within this network of computers. The first was opening of the Internet to commercial traffic and the second was the development of the World Wide Web.

The Web permitted users to communicate information more effectively with combination of text and graphics. With new features being added to the Web and its browsers (e.g., Netscape) everyday, access to the Web has become quite easy.


Possibly the most exciting feature of the World Wide Web & Internet is its ability to facilitate communication between two or more people in live discussions (voice or in chat modes), in bulletin board formats, and email.

The communication format that dominates Internet activity is email. Electronic mail is significantly faster than postal mail. A email user can send mail across country in seconds. Live chat forums add inter-activity and a personal touch in electronic communication.


I foresee TR education forums and virtual classrooms in the near future. Recreation therapists will be able to obtain continuing education credits and college credits on-line. In fact, several colleges in the United States already has on-line classes. There are now TR classes provide supplemental resources on a web page and other TR classes that are completely paperless and send and receive assignments and tests via the Internet.


Finding information about therapeutic recreation on the Internet just 2 years ago was rare. Just as rare were recreation therapists "surfing the net." As with the web, there has been an explosion of resources specifically targeting recreation therapists.

What are some of the resources on the net for recreation therapist?

A good beginning place to begin research on the Internet is by going to one of the several major search engines. WebCrawler, Alta Vista, InfoSeek, and Lycos are a few of the major search engines that help you locate recreation therapy resources. At present, there are two major therapeutic recreation web sites that offer great resources to help you get started. They are the Therapeutic Recreation Directory on the Internet and the Recreation Therapy WWW Page. Here are the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) address for the Web sites listed in this paragraph....

  • WebCrawler at
  • Alta Vista at
  • InfoSeek at
  • Therapeutic Recreation Directory-
  • Recreation Therapy WWW Page - - (no longer available)


Each year more and more TR Associations and groups are developing web sites. Here are links to some of them:


For additional listings, go to


Many health care facilities are now beginning to develop Web sites on the Internet. These facilities are marketing their services, providing resource information about specific disabilities, distributing information about events in their community, posting facility newsletters, explaining what therapeutic recreation and other services are all about at their agency, and much more. Web pages can supplement the agency's marketing effort.


There are several ways (as of 2001) to connect to the Internet. The most popular is the dialup service in which you pay a monthly fee to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for a telephone line connection to the Internet. Cost is range from $10 per month to $30 per month. There are several ISP's that offer free access to the Internet. Free ISP's were popular in 2000 but has dramatically decreased in number in 2001 due to the downturn in the technology market.

Other connection services include cable modem, DSL, and satellite. DSL can be the fastest but most expensive for the average consumer. Cable modem uses the TV cable existing in your home to connect to the Internet. A special cable modem is required. This service is 100 times faster than dialup service! Satellite connections are just beginning and more Internet users will be connecting up by this wireless method.

To explore the World Wide Web, you need to use a web browser. Most operating systems such as Windows come bundled with a web browser. To send and receive email, you will need an email program such as Outlook Express, Eudora Mail, or Outlook.

If you are tentative about connecting and surfing, you shouldn't have any problem finding a friend or a co-worker who will help you ride the tidal wave called the Internet. See you on-line!

You are free to add to this article with your comments, feedback, thoughts, etc....


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I have a Masters Degree in Education and have worked in the fields of teaching, counseling, and devopmental disabilities. With over nine years of experience in the field of recreational therapy, I feel like there should be a route I could take towards certification CRTS without going for another degree?? Anyone out there have some advice or suggestions, contacts, organizations willing to certify?
Thomas Cole
Lookout Mt., GA USA ?Monday, June 20, 2011 at 13:45:42 (EDT), IP Address:
Great our proffession is so spiritual we all need LIFE'S QUALITY! CTRS'S are god's angels; light workers if you will, helping ALL POPULATIONS tune into their divine guidedance. As a ctrs msed. (11 years), proff singer/songwriter,artist, dancer, and alternative therapies practioner,I need to find my life's (soul) mission ASAP! By utilizing the above gifts God has given me I want to move on to do more profound & non-constricting healing work within the realm of the NCTRS guidelines, which should actually be everyones' code of ethics. See? We all are one right?. I am relocating to N.Miami-(Aventura),Florida and have not found any job opportunities on any of the TR web sites. Can you please brainstorm with me on how to acheive helping others as well as fullfilling my soul's healing, playfull artistic nature; my own Co.,1-1 outpatient etc.?. I am so greatful for having a STABLE PROFFESSION but want to expose TR's invaluableness to another dimmension!!!. With Grace, Valerie Secor CtrsMsed.
valerie secor valspirit*
new rochelle, ny USA daughters of jacob n.h. Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at 22:14:15 (CDT)
Hi, I am very interested in this field, but have been unsucessful in finding a school that offers any sort of traing. I live in the middle georgia area and would greatly apprecaite any info you can give me.
Rita rjy9343*
Fort Valley, GA USA Sunday, August 21, 2005 at 15:48:49 (CDT)
wanted to know if and where recreational theraphy courses or degree that you can take online. thank you
joan doty jokat1968*
branchville, nj sussex Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 06:43:28 (CDT)
I am currently doing a project for school and it deals with placing articles in a scrapbook relating to the TR profession in Canada....I would greatly appreciate it if someone could give me a site that has some of these articles on it...thanks!!
Terri-Lyn Keats pita_keatsy*
Botwood, NL Canada Keyin College Friday, October 15, 2004 at 10:21:33 (CDT)
I would like to know if and where recreational therapy courses or even degrees are being offered on line. Thank You very much
Carole F. www.Crafter027*
Van Nuys, CA USA City of LA Recreation and Parks Sunday, December 28, 2003 at 00:21:07 (CST)
EASTON, PA USA MAJESTIC OAKS NURSING HOME Tuesday, December 09, 2003 at 14:05:36 (CST)
I am intererested in getting certified can you help me
Colleen Galy galyc*
Brooklyn, ny USA Tuesday, November 04, 2003 at 10:43:12 (CST)
also would like to find recreation theraphy classes on line
Tuesday, March 26, 2002 at 10:07:16 (CST)
I was wondering if you had the website for online continuing education classes? It would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Kristi Davis kristidavis*
Farmington Hills, MI USA JARC Monday, February 11, 2002 at 11:04:15 (CST)
I read your article and these were the few thoughts came to my mind. Overall, I think that the web is awesome and a great resource for TR to be using however I feel that by using it as a teaching resource that the student or whoever is learning about the field of recreation will lose a very important aspect, that being relational communication. Hands on participation. Learning to socialize with people in order to provide them with your knowledge of recreation. Without these skills, I feel that as a professional one cannot do his or her job to the fullest capacity. I can't stress how important human relation skills are in TR. You are dealing with all sorts of people of all ages and you need to know how listen, speak and hear their stories. By learning these skills on a computer screen is, I think very limiting. No social contact is made except through a key board. I can say that the web and internet are great resources and should be used to our advantage but not as a primary source for initial education. One needs those interaction skills and hands on group work to really understand what recreation and TR is all about.
Meghan Bondor <noellemb*>
Bellingham, WA USA Western Washington University Tuesday, October 30, 2001 at 15:03:20 (CST)
Please give me the email address of the online recreation theraphy courses. Thanks Laurie McCrossan
Laurie McCrossan <solanum *>
Pontypool, ontario Canada Monday, September 04, 2000 at 18:21:21 (CDT)
Is there a website on the internet that list TR site and related sites like a library? If you know of Eric clearing house for education the site would be like that. I am doing some research on this for myself not school.
Beth Shandles <bethallison*>
chicago, Il USA gradute student Tuesday, January 04, 2000 at 11:39:13 (CST)
Thanks for the tips. Living abroad one needs to stay in tune to the latest. Like the article mentions one can quickly have a high telephone bill.I find internet great for hooking up to literature therapy aides,and jobs for relocating to the states.
Karen Kurtzweg <Kshortway*hotmail>
Wadenswil, Switzerland Temple University Alumni Thursday, March 11, 1999 at 08:21:00 (CST)

Charlie; I am always amazed at your continuous efforts at updating the TR site. You just keep getting better and better. What I really appreciate is how you reorganized the home page index especially the activity index. Great Job keep up the GREAT JOB. Ruby
Brenda Rubylynn Lyons CTRS <bandclyons*>
rochester, ny USA Catholic Family Center/Restart;Liberty Manor - Saturday, September 05, 1998 at 18:09:42 (PDT)

Hello, I just resently aquired my e-mail & internet capabilities. I sure am glad to have this opportunity to read your article. I have been searching for anything regarding TR & new trends & where are we going in this new milliniem. Thank you so much!
Natasha Lewis <nlewis>
los angeles, ca. USA AFH Mental H. Center - Wednesday, July 08, 1998 at 15:40:21 (PDT)

I think the article is good. I work in physical rehabilitation and am trying to teach a C6/C7 quad how to access the internet. My problemis that I am new at this also, but more importantly am unaware of the adaptive equipment out there. We are using a universal cuff with a pencil eraser on one hand and a pointer on the other. We also have a great information services department and they told me about a way to use the keyboard to move the mouse instead of using the mouse. Anyone with ideas or suggestions please e-mail me. I too, have gone to our chat room to find out some information, but no one is ever there. HELP...
Lisa Laping <llaping*>
Tampa, FL USA Bayfront Rehabilitation Center - Friday, July 03, 1998 at 20:26:21 (PDT)

Charlie, Great article, very informative. I am currently a freshmen at Oregon State and I would like to be a Recreational Therapist, There isn't really any Major or degree for it here at O.S.U. but there are options for me here. I need to know what kinds of courses I need to take to move in that direction, please if you could help me out I just need someone to contact to find out what I can do from here to move in the direction of becoming a Recreational Therapist. Thanks Alot.
Jenaea M. Langnese <langnesj*>
Kiezer, OR USA Oregon State University - Thursday, February 26, 1998 at 12:07:00 (PST)

Charlie, Cool article, very informative. I am currently a student at Orsgone State, I would like to be a Recreational Therapist, There isn't really any Majors here for it, but there are options for me to move in that direction, I'm just looking for some help and insight on how I can get started and what kinds of courses I need take,Etc. Please let me know if you can help, I just need someone to contact to find out what I can do here at Oregon State to move toward becoming a Recreational Therapist. Thanks Alot! Jenaea Langnese.
Jenaea M. Langnese <langnesj*>
Keizer, OR USA Oregon State University - Thursday, February 26, 1998 at 11:58:56 (PST)

This article is great. I am currently working on a presentation in regards to recreation and the internet for a professional issues course. Reading this article helped me to brainstorm a couple of ideas that I haven't thought of.
Amy Grabowski <algrabo*>
Normal, IL USA Illinois State University - Friday, October 24, 1997 at 10:52:31 (PDT)

Hi Charlie: Have a class of students in a computer lab, "exploring" and "playing" at your web site. It is WONDERFUL! Wish class lasted longer so we could join in the Thursday night chat. I finished to committee description for Technology Task Force and will forward to you tomorrow. KCW
Karen Wenzel <karenwenze*>
Littleton, CO USA RMMSC and University of No. Colo. - Thursday, October 09, 1997 at 16:29:13 (PDT)

Thanks for your commitment in expanding our knowledge base. I plan to share this paper with members of the Central Texas TR Network and the Consortium for Therapeutic Recreation/Activity Certification . Hopefully you'll be seeing "a bunch a Texans on here real soon". Thanks again Charlie, you've done a beautiful job.
Anna Rae Gilder <AGilder*>
Austin, Tx USA Shoal Creek Hospital - Thursday, August 21, 1997 at 19:08:30 (PDT)

Your article was very informative and helpful for those newly accessing the net. I have passed on your info to others.
Paula Heath <zara27*>
Fostoria, MI USA CMU - Thursday, August 14, 1997 at 16:43:34 (PDT)

Enjoyed the article! Also enjoy the regular updates. fyi - other servers are joining the unlimited hours bandwagon - I think earthlink and msn are two, but I'm sure there are others. Some of the computer magazines list servers and fees - worth looking into. And in response to D. Austin - yes, I think practitioners would take web courses if they were publicized in a variety of forums.
cmcauley <bcmcauley*>
Camarillo, CA USA - Saturday, May 24, 1997 at 21:10:25 (PDT)

Charlie, I 'm glad your article was written. I am only a student of TR, but almost all the imformation I use I get of the WWW. There are a great many resourses here on the WWW for TR. I hope others in the field realize the benefits of an open forum, and easily exchanged information and begin usign the web with more frequency. It is a great way for us all to work togeather and help each other.
Mike Bycraft <bycraft*>
Mt. Pleasant, MI USA Central Michigan University - Saturday, April 19, 1997 at 16:28:17 (PDT)

I wrote my e-mail wrong on last entry. It is worldnet not worldmet. sorry
Kathy Maples <MelMaples*>
Salt Lake, ut USA Johanna's Nursing Home - Monday, February 24, 1997 at 22:02:48 (PST)

Your article is very informative for "newbies" like me. We just signed on to the internet this month and I was so excited to find a network that is targeted for Recreation Therapists. I spent a great deal of time on the system last night and was so jazzed with the information provided. I look forward to chatting with other TR's but so far I've had no luck. Thank you for providing such a great service. As you know, a recreation therapist is always on the look out for new ideas and resources. I feel like I've found the "Pot of Gold"
Kathy Maples <MelMaples*>
Salt Lake, UT USA Johanna's Nursing Home - Monday, February 24, 1997 at 21:57:22 (PST)

Thanks for your paper, Charlie. It provides an excellent overview. We, at Indiana University would be like to assess the interest in TR courses on the Web. Should we be developing them? Would practitioners take them? Thanks, again.
David Austin <daustin*>
USA Indiana University - Friday, February 07, 1997 at 09:50:45 (PST)


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