Unique/Innovative Programs and Intervention Techniques in Therapeutic Recreation


  • Barbara Wilhite


We in therapeutic recreation like to think of ourselves as a profession with foresight. We not only try to discern what the future may hold, but we imagine how we would like for it to be-creating a preferred future for therapeutic recreation. This vision provides direction for the profession and empowers individual members. When thinking about health and social services of the future, change is the only certainty. However, much contemporary thought suggests that the future delivery of health care and social programs will be concentrated in community-based settings. Therefore, this special issue of TRJ was intended to highlight therapeutic recreation service delivery in transitional or community-based settings. Priority was given to those manuscripts with a focus on traditionally underserved populations. Four years had elapsed since a special issue of TRJwas devoted to this topic. The need to showcase unique/innovative programs and intervention techniques had been echoed in our conferences and in our literature. Even so, I found myself repeating the lamentations of guest editors of previous special issues: Where were the manuscripts? In other words, where was the vision? Fortunately a few among us do more than just talk about the future. These individuals nurture a vision-developing aspects ofit, testing their ideas, and sharing their thoughts in the public arena so others may benefit. Paul Wright and his colleagues are some of these visionaries. Their article describes a program unique in its ability to serve simultaneously two traditionally undervalued populations - youth at-risk and older adults. The theme of empowering these two populations resonates throughout the program description. In addition, the program provides a fine example ofcollaboration, building on individual strengths while encouraging the continued development of all involved. Beaudouin and Keller have also accepted the challenge to develop and operationalize a vision. Their article describes a unique approach to community-based therapeutic recreation service delivery that produces the professional outcomes and acceptance we all seek. Two distinctive characteristics ofthe program are its linkage with clinical and communitybased agencies, and its ability to obtain third-party reimbursement for services. Sheldon and Caldwell join the ranks of visionaries by drawing our attention to a need which has rarely been discussed in our conferences, and has never been addressed in the therapeutic recreation literature. Their review of literature about urinary incontinence in women helps to bring this topic, and those who experience it, "out of the closet." They provide thoughtful implications for therapeutic recreation service delivery. Deavours' review of an innovative assessment instrument provides an excellent example of how assistive technology can be used to determine the needs of individuals with severe disabilities. This instrument is exceptional in that it provides the individual with severe disability an avenue through which self-expression can occur. Some people in therapeutic recreation may resist the notion that health and social services are community and homeward bound. Perhaps the information presented in this special issue will encourage others to express their ideas by sharing infonnation about creative and futuristic community-based programs. And, hopefully the voices of our community constituents, as presented in this special issue, will be heard above their detractors. Appreciation is extended to all authors who submitted manuscripts for this special issue of TRJ. Your efforts and desire to contribute are acknowledged. I hope you will continue to develop and share your ideas. My appreciation is also extended to Rich MacNeil and Ken Mobily for their help and encouragement. Finally, thanks are extended to the reviewers who provided thoughtful critique and feedback regarding selected submissions. They included: Dale Abel, Maria Allison, Dan Ancone, Leandra Bedini, Roseangela Boyd, Claire Brice, Joan Burlingame, Ellen Broach, Marcia Carter, John Dattilo, Sue Fazio, Claire Foret, Dovie Gamble, Gisele Gaudet, Rick Green, Kathleen Halberg, Barb Hawkins, Gail Hoge, Michal Anne Lord, Cathy O'Keefe, Nancy McFarlane, Lou Powell, Susan Skolnick, Glenda Taylor, Judith Voelkl, and Robin Yaffe.



Special Issue