Category Archives: Students

Update on Abigail Peterson’s Exciting Fieldwork Experience

Hi again- it’s Abigail Peterson from Oklahoma State University. I wrote a post back in March about the work I’ve done the past year in the Child Development Lab on my campus, and I implore to check it out before reading this one! Today, I’ll be giving an update on my research/time there and a reflection on my experience.

First I’ll start with an update on how things went in the Child Development Lab. This semester I got to really take charge of what I was doing in that I felt much more comfortable in my skills. I even made a craft button snake that I used multiple times with E (this child I worked with). Below is a list of the intervention activities I chose and the purpose that they served.

Intervention- Purpose

    1. Reading a book- Pincer grasp and wrist movement
    2. Button snake- Pincer grasp and forearm movement
    3. Kinetic sand (with upper body supported by foam wedge)- Whole hand grip
    4. Play-Doh- Finger and hand strength
    5. Animal puzzle- Wrapping thumb and grasping objects
    6. Foam tangrams- Grasping objects and whole arm movement
    7. Color-coordinated peg puzzle- Grasping small objects and hand strength
    8. Mr. Potato Head- Grasping small objects and hand strength
    9. Building blocks- Object grip and full arm movement
    10. Feed the Horse game- Object grip and full arm movement
    11. Interlocking building blocks- Grasping small objects and hand strength

 

Towards the end of the semester I began to summarize my observations for a research symposiums I was participating in. The biggest thing I noticed was that E improved in her bilateral thumb movement. Many of the interventions I used focused on grip strength and finger flexibility. E had a hard time flexing her thumb and would often grip things with just her four fingers. My focus was on her wrapping her thumb around objects. By the end of the semester, E was wrapping her thumb around small to medium shaped objects with minimal prompting from me. I also noticed that E had an easier time holding her head upright whereas she used to lean forward in order to complete an activity. Finally, I noticed that E had less difficulty reaching across her body with the opposite arm than she initially did. Overall, I observed that E improved her motor functioning especially her fine motor skills.

Had I been able to work with her further, I would have loved to work more on E’s gross motor functioning as a few sessions before the end of our time I had been shown some new exercises to try. I also would have worked more on helping E to keep her head up and work on her neck strength some more also. Given the time frame that I was able to work with E, however, I feel that things went very well and that the level of improvement was acceptable.

Overall, through this experience I was able to really get a feel for what recreational therapy is and see it in action. Getting to implement interventions with a child was one of the best learning experiences I could have been given. I implore everyone to search out and attempt to participate in experiences like these because the lessons I learned weren’t something that I could have learned through a textbook or lecture. This experience is something I’ll take with me into my career and truly grew my passion for the field of recreational therapy.

My Journey to Finding My Junior Internship

By Kaley Thornton

My experience with finding my junior internship was basically a rollercoaster. Every internship site is different in the way they hire their interns, but maybe my experience can help someone when they begin to look for their first internship. There is such a thing as looking too soon, and there are questions that should be asked before accepting an internship position. These are both things I learned the hard way.

I first began looking for an internship the fall semester of my Junior year. I was on the hunt for an internship for the summer of 2017. The first thing I did differently was look out of state, rather than in state, for a site. I’m a single mother, I have rent and babysitter fees to pay, so I knew I needed to find somewhere that pays and provides housing. I used the ATRA website to find hiring internship sites, and that’s where I found three various places in the Colorado Springs area. A few of which specifically said that they provide housing and pay.

I first tried calling the hospitals, but had no luck with getting a return call. I then decided to email the Recreational Therapists on these sites personally, attaching my resume, a cover letter, and a reference list. I simply explained where I go to school and that I’m considering my internship for the following summer. After about two weeks, I heard back from two out of three sites. Both sites told me that they did have openings, but that they would have to start a contract through my school. At this point, I sent the information to my intern advisor, and he began the paperwork and communication with the sites.

After about a month, my advisor and I did not hear back from either site. I then decided to email them again, but to no avail. Christmas break came and went, and I was nervous about my internship creeping up on me. When classes began for the spring semester, I reached out to both sites, and immediately heard back from one. Throughout the month of January, we got the contract started and were getting dates finalized for my internship site. There wasn’t any interview, and they didn’t call my references, but they said that I was accepted to their hospital as an intern. I was getting pretty excited, and felt it was a good time to ask how much I would be getting paid so I could plan accordingly.

This is when I got my first major dip in my rollercoaster ride. I was informed that there had been a miscommunication about whether the internship was paid or not. On the ATRA website, this specific internship opportunity did not specify “yes” or “no” on whether they have benefits, and I had just assumed that since the other Colorado sites said yes, that this specific one did too. At this point I had to thank them for accepting me as an intern, but that I had to respectfully decline due to personal reasons.

It’s now month two into the semester, and my fellow classmates are finding their new internship sites. I was beginning to panic a little bit, but still had hope of finding the right

internship for me. My classmates and I were given an opportunity to volunteer at the annual Oklahoma Recreational Therapy Organization. I took this opportunity to hand out my resume to potential supervisors and networked with as many people as I could. This was nerve wracking for me because I’m typically very introverted. I was given several praises for being prepared, but 80% of the time it was followed with “we already have our intern hired for this summer.”

I was starting to lose hope, but my intern advisor had a connection to a hospital nearby. This specific hospital was the same field that I’m interested in and is known for being hard to get into without a recommendation. The only dilemma was that this specific site is an hour drive from my home and doesn’t pay. I went ahead and emailed this site, letting them know I was looking for my internship and sent them my information.

As I waited for a response from this internship site, I then went back to the ATRA website and looked at all the internships available. I looked for quite a while before I found Bradford Woods. The website specifically said that there’s pay and housing, and when I read the description, I fell in love with their facility. I immediately emailed the site and gave them my credentials. Afterwards, I set up a meeting with my intern advisor to discuss everything that was going on.

During our meeting, he informed me of some concerns he had for me to go to a camp setting rather than a clinical setting. We discussed pros and cons and came to the conclusion that Bradford Woods would be a great place to go for Junior internship, since it was the spitting image of what kind of career I want after school.

Bradford Woods communicated with me very quickly and I had set up a Skype interview within a week. The interview lasted about an hour long, and we discussed what the camp offers for their campers, and what my role would be as an intern at their site. The more we discussed the opportunity, the more I fell in love with it. When the interview was over, I was told that they would get back to me on their decision.

While I waited to hear back from Bradford Woods, I then emailed the hospital in Oklahoma to let them know that I found a potential other site. They were very understanding and were glad I was keeping them in the loop, although I did take a little longer to respond than I would like to admit.

After a week from my interview, Bradford Woods had asked me for my internship manual so that they could determine if they would meet all the requirements for my education. I then sent them a copy of the manual as well as my intern advisor’s information. After another week of waiting to hear back from Bradford Woods, they emailed me with a letter asking me to join their facility. After accepting, they sent me a link to the paperwork that needed to be filled out by me.

The biggest things I had to do were fill out paperwork like I would at any job with my information on it, a TB test, and a physical. I already have my CPR and First Aid training, but since Bradford Woods is in a different state, I had to be sure that mine complied with their requirements. Soon after all of that was finished, I got an email from my intern advisor letting me know that the contract was already set up and complete.

Now that I have my internship set up and I’m ready to go, I have to send my intern advisor some paperwork over my health and proof of insurance. This was a very interesting journey to say the least, but I’ve learned that I just need to take it one step at a time, and I will get there.

Recreational Therapist Interviews

Hello all! My name is Taylor Gbur and I am pursuing my Masters in Leisure Studies with an emphasis in Recreational Therapy at Oklahoma State University. This blog is reported from the perspective of Recreational Therapists via interviews in person and through emails. I tried to talk to Recreational Therapists from a variety of settings and I asked all of them the same three questions:

  1. What advice do you have for students who want to work in your area of practice?
  2. What area of professional development would you recommend that students focus on?
  3. Is there anything you wish you would have known as a student?

If you do not want to read all the individual responses below, I found some common themes from the responses. They are:

  1. Be flexible and willing to work with all kinds of populations! Also, volunteer during your studies in the area you would like to work in the future to help get your foot in the door.
  2. Work on documentation skills and use of valid assessments, improve public speaking skills, participate in conferences and stay up to date with education, and have a variety of resources and activities in your tool box.
  3. Read, read, and read some more during school so you don’t have to play catch up later! If there are any certifications or extra degrees that you can pursue then do so to help advance your career. Finally, seek all opportunities and resources available to you and get INVOLVED because that experience is going to prepare you for your future career as a Recreational Therapist!

Sarah Sands, CTRS

Oklahoma City VA Health Care System

  1. Don’t be picky! Be open to working will all different ages and populations such as mental health to rehab to geriatrics.
  2. I would like to see students focus more on development of treatment goals, specific documentation, and note taking skills.
  3. I wish I could have had the choice between mental health or rehabilitation, but when I was in school those were not options. I would say to take all the opportunities that you can.

 

Cassie Tarin, CTRS

Behavioral Health in Enid, OK

  1. Have a very open mind and don’t take things too seriously.
  2. Your internship is going to prepare you with the most resources that you will use in practice. Collect as many resources as possible. Also, going to conferences allows you to learn more to add to your practice!
  3. I wish would have read and studied more while I was in school because I had to go back and read a lot. The Facilitating Techniques book by Austin (5th edition) helped me a lot.

 

Maggie Evans, CTRS

Children’s Therapeutic Specialist

Out & About is a community-based setting that offers Therapeutic Recreation programming for Adults and Kids with Developmental Disabilities.

  1. For students wanting to work in this setting, I would give advice that to successfully work or volunteer in a community-based setting individuals should take on the mindset of flexibility and being able to adapt to change. High energy, excitement, and support take our participants to the next level and really propel individuals to want to reach their full potential(s).
  2. Next, for this setting I think a huge part of professional development would be continuing education. Keeping up with conferences, CEU credit opportunities, and other opportunities professional organizations have to offer is important for any Therapeutic Recreation student continuing into the field, especially community-based, as there could be a lot of opportunity to partner with and further relationships with the community.
  3. Third, I wish I had more opportunities as a student to attend different conferences and get a bit more of a national-wide feel into the opportunities that TR presents. A larger scale view into things I was currently learning about would have been a great tie into work and practices I would be experiencing after graduation.

 

Kory Blair, CTRS

Director of Life Enrichment, Sabal Palms Children’s Center

  1. Get your foot in the door by working with your desired population; this could be through volunteering, internships, practicums, or work-experience. Special Education classrooms and Special Olympic programs are usually in constant need of volunteers. I would also suggest looking into training courses to become Certified Nursing Assistant or Personal Care Provider. Walking into a sub-acute setting can be overwhelming, tubes and IV poles, alarms constantly sounding, specialized equipment being used, and medical jargon abounds. It’s hard to feel comfortable in an environment when there are so many unknowns. I would also suggest students get experience working with typically developing children. It’s hard to know what goals to work on if you are on unaware of developmental milestones and the various stages of child development. Reading about it in a text book is one thing, putting the knowledge you learned into practical skills requires a different set of abilities. I would also stress the need to be open minded. Jobs working as a CTRS in a pediatric setting are few and far between. I believe the 2014 NCTRC Job Analysis report said less than 12% of CTRS worked with pediatrics and or adolescents. Volunteering with organizations is a great way to get your foot in the door and provides excellent experience.
  1. Child Development, Abnormal Psychology, and Motor Learning should all be keys areas of focus. Outside of the classroom knowing lots of different games, being up on the latest cartoons, and having a bit of sports trivia in your back pocket can help prepare you to work with a variety of ages and functioning abilities.
  2. I wish I had been more familiar with Child Life, looking back I would have tried to get dual certification, or at least would have taken a few Child Life classes as there is a lot of overlap with the professions especially when working in pediatrics.

 

Jeff Dick, CTRS

Community setting focusing on individuals with developmental and physical disabilities

  1. This may sound strange but one thing I’d strongly recommend is to know your TR service delivery models. As you look at different agencies and how they serve community members with disabilities, the service models can provide you with a guide for the delivery. They are a framework to ensure that you are staying true to the field and don’t take any “shortcuts” in the delivery of services. Another recommendation is to gain as much experience with as many populations as possible in as wide a variety of settings as possible. I use the many years I spent working in traditional, clinical settings frequently in delivery of community based programming. Finally, learn what resources are in your area that provide disability specific services and community education and take advantage of those agencies to create collaborations for the benefit of your mutual clientele.
  2. That’s a tough one. I’d suggest really, really immersing yourself in all TR specific areas of education and development available. Assessment skills and knowledge of available assessments and their use (nontraditional and formal), leadership, knowledge of anatomy and physiology, technical writing, public speaking…. all of these are essential at our agency.
  3. The only thing I can think of is to really put yourself out as much as possible regarding volunteer opportunities. Really taking advantage of each opportunity that comes up, regardless of whether you think you’ll ever need it or not (you will need it someday) and really immersing yourself in each experience. Looking for ways to implement those skills you’re learning and watching how others implement them as well.

 

Julianne Herrera MS, CTRS

In Patient Rehab & HBNF

Stroke & TBI Support Group
If you have questions about IRF, please contact: julianneherreractrs@gmail.com

1.

IRF (in patient rehab facility) have a basic knowledge of the following:

  • Rehab terminology
  • FIM
  • IRF equipment/AD (assistive device) for instance RW, MSRW, PFRW, WC, Aux. Crutches, SPC, WBQC, etc.
  • Ortho/neuro/generalized debility precautions
  • Neuro VS ortho transfers & interventions

For Contract Services:

  • Calculate estimated expenses (gas, supplies, mal practice insurance, CUE etc.).
  • Set aside money for self-employment taxes.
  • Have a concrete grasp R/T time management.
  • Be FLEXABLE!
  • Have a basic knowledge of variety Psychological & Physical Dx for pediatrics, adolescents, adults, & geriatrics.
  • Have a standardized bag of “tricks” to carry in your trunk.
  • EXTREME & RIGID book keeping R/T mileage, expenses/receipts, utilities, carmaintenance, etc.
  • EXCELLENT TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS!

2. Research R/T benefits of RT & a standardized RT assessment for IRF Px, licensure via NCTRC & state level, public speaking at conferences and para-professionals to educate what our field does VS OT, PT, ST, & Psyche.

3. Basic knowledge of the following: rehab terminology, equipment, ortho/neuro/generalized debility precautions, neuro VS ortho transfers & interventions.

Recreational Therapy Majors Club at Oklahoma State University

Hey my name is Matthew Tracy, and I am a student at Oklahoma State University (OSU)! I have gotten a great opportunity this semester to be a Recreational Therapy Majors club board member at OSU as the treasurer. When the board members and I took over the club this semester, we had goals to get the students more involved in the school, ATRA, community, and the club itself. We started to achieve these goals by attracting a large crowd for the first meeting by catering for Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

We had guest speakers come and talk about the ATRA Student Development Committee (SDC) and how we can contribute to the annual ATRA conference in Orlando Florida this upcoming September. As the treasurer, it is part of my responsibility to keep track of our spending habits. Therefore, I am trying to save enough money so the club can pay for a few student’s trips to the ATRA conference. The appeal of free Florida trips has already caught people’s attention in becoming more involved in the club. This year has already proven to be successful and we plan on pushing the club forward in the future here at OSU.

Also for those involved or want to be involved with the SDC, don’t forget that there are many opportunities to make an impact at the annual conference this year! If you have any questions on how to get involved than email me at matthew.tracy@okstate.edu . I am running Trivia Night this year as well so if you would like to be on the task force with that, then just let me know!

Fitness groups

How many of you don’t feel like working out, but when you are done, you feel accomplished.

As a CTRS, I believe we are the ones that motivate patients to get up and be active, to develop a healthy life style. I conducted a survey to see what kind of activities patients are interested in; exercise was one of the results.

How can we create fitness programs? By attending a variety of classes like yoga, zumba, salsa, pilates, boot camp, walking club, line dancing, etc. How many times have we heard the sentence, if we don’t experience it, then we do not know how it feels?! By experimenting with a variety of classes we can see what works and what does not. This is what makes us a better therapist.

Going to fitness classes can help Recreational Therapy students reduce stress during school, and at the same time, it will increase their knowledge about creating programs. I wish I was aware of it during my school.

During a Therapeutic Recreation Program class, I was assigned to create a physical activity program. I looked up resources online, which is a good, however, as a professional, looking up resources in the community was much more helpful because this is what patients are looking for when they discharge, from the facility. If patients enjoy our program that we create, based on our experiences, hopefully this will give us more understanding about what types of community programs they will enjoy. Therefore, going to physical activities classes, looking for resources in the community, and finding ideas online could be the most beneficial combination to develop fitness groups.

Next time you attend a fitness class; try to put yourself in the patient’s shoes such as what did you feel? What was challenging for you? What would work better? What were possible ways to adapt the activity if you have a physical, cognitive, emotional, and/or social limitation?

Recreational therapists serve different populations. Thus, we should explore the resources we have in the facility, the patient’s goal, and their ability. Also, if it is a group setting, we cannot expect all of the patients to have the same ability. It is very important to inform patients, prior to session, that a CTRS can adapt the fitness classes to the patients’ ability. Give them the options of using a wheelchair, sitting in a chair, using the yoga mats, standing; Patients feel welcomed when a therapist believes in their abilities. Patients need our help to adapt their life to their new injury, mental status, and lifestyle, etc.

Therefore, prior to implementing a fitness session, therapists should practice the session on their own with different modifications. For example, in a case where we have high functioning patients, we are able to assign them a leadership role during a session; the patient could demonstrate some of the exercises. The goal of the high functioning patient may be social skills, and identifying 3 ways of increasing his social skills by helping others can increase his self-esteem.

For all the students, take a short break from school and work, and attend fitness classes to identify with our patients. Some of the classes are free. Let’s look for what resources are available in the community.

By: Dafna Yosef

Exciting Field Work Experience!

Hi y’all! My name is Abigail Peterson and I am a freshman at Oklahoma State University. I got a fantastic opportunity this year to work in OSU’s Child Development Lab (CDL) on campus with one of the recreational therapy faculty members. Here’s a little more detail about what I do, and why I do it!

What do we do? Twice a week, myself and the other students go to the CDL and work individually with three children. For approximately 20 minutes, we provide therapeutic activities one-on-one with our children. At the beginning of the school year, we conducted assessments and, based on that, decided on goals and objectives for the therapy sessions. During the fall semester, I worked with a young boy who has Down syndrome and this semester I am working with a little girl who has Cerebral Palsy. The differences between the two children are astounding and having to completely switch gears has been a little difficult, but the decision to switch children was for the best.

What does a typical session look like? There really is no such thing as a typical session, but once we get to the CDL we empty out the therapy room of distractions and chat a little bit about the activities we have planned for the day, or what we specifically want to focus on improving during the session. Occasionally we will pilfer through the toys and activities in the therapy room, looking for new ways to use them. Once the time comes, we each go get our child from their classrooms and ask their teachers how their days’ have been so we have an idea of what to expect affectively from each child. The child I work with typically is bright affectively and has very few bad days. I chat with my child between the classroom and the therapy room to see for myself how she is doing. Once we get to the therapy room, we do activities for about 20 minutes and then I walk my child back to her classroom; once there, I let her teacher know how she did. After the session, myself and the other student therapists speak with the faculty member about how our sessions went and what we may want to work on for the next session. Outside of the therapy sessions, I typically browse Pinterest and the internet to find some fun ideas for the next session.

Why did I decide to do this? I was chosen to be a member of the Freshman Research Scholar program at OSU in which we find a faculty mentor and kind of piggyback off their research to present our own findings. After meeting with a few other Recreational Therapy faculty members, I knew I wanted to work with the children in the CDL. For the past couple of years, I’ve been working with kids in different settings and know that that is what I want to do in my career. I absolutely adore the attitude and perspective that kids have. They make everything so entertaining and most of them are incredibly sweet. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to work in the CDL, so early in my college career, and any possibly that I can continue to do so in the future. Working with the kids in the CDL has not only grown my passion for Recreational Therapy, but also has helped me to grow as an individual; I’ve had to grow my patience as well as my discipline throughout this experience.

What have I learned so far? Switching children at the beginning of this semester has definitely presented a bit of a learning curve for me. In the fall semester, I had to be more stern and disciplinary as one of my objectives was to work on following directions and attention span, as the child had cognitive as well as physical disabilities. Now, with the child with cerebral palsy, I have to work on my patience and be more verbally encouraging as her disabilities are mainly physical. The child with cerebral palsy is much more talkative than the child with Down syndrome was though she sometimes has trouble articulating. With both children, it is easy to tell when they get frustrated as they tend to shut down, typical of all children. Working with the children has introduced me to recreational therapy early in my career in a way that many classes never could; because of this, I know that I truly enjoy the field. I have also learned how to look at many activities and automatically think of ways to adapt them for the child I work with. This is not to say that I automatically know how to adapt them (I have a long ways to go), but I am able to email or ask my faculty mentor her opinions on how to adapt things as well.

Overall, this experience has been great. Working with the children and really seeing Recreational Therapy in action while still being a student is a priceless experience. I’m looking forward to continuing in recreational therapy and being able to help people every day in my career. I know that by the end of this semester, my passion will have only grown and my knowledge base going into the future is much wider than I would have thought possible at this point in time.

International Recreational Therapy Month

By: Heather Andersen, EdD, CTRS

Happy Recreational Therapy month! Recreation therapy is sometimes a hidden gem among service professions. Recreation Therapy began after World War II and has continued to grow with the advancement of the profession. Recreation Therapy can be defined as, “a treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations by an illness or disabling condition (American Therapeutic Recreation Association, 2014).” There are many benefits of recreation and leisure including physical, cognitive, social and health benefits. There are 30,000 plus therapeutic recreation professionals with over 15,000 active Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (NCTRC, 2016). Recreation therapists can work in a variety of settings from community recreation, clinical, schools, with veterans, to correctional facilities. For more information on becoming a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, visit the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

Where Can You Earn a Degree?
There are over 50 colleges and universities where you can earn a degree in recreation therapy, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level. For a list of schools, visit the ATRA page.

Event Highlights
February is International Recreational Therapy month! There are many celebrations and educational events going on this month to celebrate, advocate, and educate about the benefits of and what recreation therapists do. Below are a few event highlights.

Florida International University
Florida International University Recreation Club’s events held two events earlier this month. One was a social connected to the school’s alumni week. FIU alum returned to campus to network with current students in their respectful field. The second event was a modified bean bag toss for any student to play for a prize. The Recreation Therapy club is hoping to hold a social media campaign along with a photo contest using the hashtag, #IamAfutureRT. You can find out more or follow the club on their social media pages:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Texas Recreation Therapists Meet at the Capital
On February 22nd from 10:30a.m to 3:30p.m., recreation therapists from across Texas will be gathering at the capital in Austin to advocate for the profession. If you are planning on attending, please email the names of your state Representative and Senator to mrsthibo@gmail.com.
You find your representatives by going here. The group will be meeting online on Thursday 2/16/17 which if interested you can request to join the Texas CTRS Network Facebook group. They will be hosting an online Q&A session regarding the event.

Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern University’s Student Therapeutic Recreation Association planned and implemented an informational wheelchair scavenger hunt in the student union; those who participated could win gummy snacks with recreation therapy facts on them. The student association also had a booth with additional information.

Research

Research has become a hot topic for the field of Therapeutic Recreation.  Research is important for our profession, if we want it to continue to grow and show the importance of our work.  Research also translates into EBP, or Evidence-Based Practice.  Even as a student you can start to brainstorm research ideas or topics.  Many internship sites want you to create a special project during your internship, starting a research proposal for their facility would be a great asset to not only that department but the entire Therapeutic Recreation field.  Research topics vary; check out the Therapeutic Recreation Directory link for some research studies related to Therapeutic Recreation.

Therapeutic Recreation Directory
http://www.recreationtherapy.com/research.htm
Therapeutic Recreation Journal
https://js.sagamorepub.com/trj

december blog

Recreational Therapy in Action 

My visit to Brooks Rehabilitation Center in Jacksonville, Florida was AMAZING. The facility is beautiful and all of the staff were so welcoming. But by far the best aspect of my visit was getting to sit in on a co-treatment with Recreational Therapy and Speech Therapy. It was so beneficial to see how the interventions are tailored to help each client reach their goals.

Recreational Therapy is the purposeful use of recreation and activity interventions to improve a client’s functioning in the 6 domains:

   -Physical

   -Social

   -Emotional 

   -Cognitive 

   -Leisure

   -Spiritual 

The patient I got to work with was Trey* and our activity was playing Uno. If you know me personally, you know that I have an obsession with board and card games, so when Maddie, the CTRS, asked if some people would like to play, I happily joined in. The domains this intervention focused on were physical, social, cognitive, and leisure.

The physical aspect of this activity that benefited Trey was working on fine motor skills. Trey had to use his fine motor skills to pick up the cards and either place them down or draw when it was his turn. Trey had difficulty pinching his fingers together to pick up the cards. Uno allowed him to practice these fine motor skills in a safe environment and have fun at the same time.

The social aspect of the intervention was Trey interacting with not only his therapists, but also the students who were playing Uno with him. It required Trey to multitask on the game and holding appropriate and relevant conversation with his peers. These social skills are ones that will allow Trey to participate in recreation and social opportunities outside of treatment in his everyday life.

The cognitive aspects of the game were the most important for Trey. Uno required him to match cards by color and number and understand when it was appropriate to play each card. In addition, whenever draw four or draw two cards were played Trey had to count the number of cards he needed. The cognitive aspects that were most beneficial to Trey were understanding sequences and attention to task. Trey would often skip others and attempt to play cards as if it were his turn. Uno required him to keep track of whose turn was next with the added challenge of reverse cards changing the sequence. Attention to task was difficult for Trey. He would often zone out and get distracted talking about other things instead of paying attention to the game. The therapists would work on getting him to refocus his attention to the game.

Lastly, the intervention gave Trey a new game to play during his leisure time. Trey can play Uno with his parents or friends in his free time. Having Uno as a leisure opportunity allows Trey to work on his functional domains when his having fun! Uno is an enjoyable game to play in your spare time, but Trey will continue to work on his progress while playing.

It was so rewarding to see Recreational Therapy in action at Brooks Rehabilitation Center. Every time I interact with clients, I am more fired up about my future profession. Experiential learning gives me the opportunity to constantly reaffirm my passion for Recreational Therapy. I cannot wait to design interventions for my clients in the future.

*Name changed to protect client’s privacy*

Therapeutic Recreation Symposium for the Southwest (TRSSW)

I had the pleasure of attending the TRSSW this year, and learning about new and exciting things in the field. This organization is smaller, and if you have not heard of them, check them out because they do offer scholarships to students, in the southwest region.

I know the semester is coming to a close and for some this could mean heading into internship, for others this means getting closer to start looking into internships. Check back next month for tips on locating and interviewing for internships.