Recreational Therapy

Recreational Therapy


Here at Indiana Tech, we believe in relationship-based
education. Students get to know each other, and I get
to know them pretty intensely, and so it becomes sort of like a family, and we kinda walk through
that path together. I think my experience reflects the student-focused
environment because my professor has been with me every step of the way. She helped me actually find the internship
that I’m doing now, and she’s been supporting me to start my business. She encourages me, and I think that’s what
all the professors are like, actually. With each class I’ve had, everybody cares
about you as a person, not just as a student. I love it at Tech. I think the thing that attracted me most to
it was kinda the more personal environment that it is and the more one-on-one. You’re not just a face in the crowd here,
like you are an … at a lot of other colleges. Professors know you by name. They really care, not just about your success
in the classroom, but your success out of the classroom, and I think that’s one of the
things that attracted me most here is knowing that, even after I graduate, I’m still going
to have relationships with those students and those faculty. My students are amazing in that they bring
so many different things to the table. Some are really interested in working in sports
and with athletes and injuries, and some want to work with elderly, and some want to work
with children, and the neat thing about rec therapy, is you can do all of those things. And so they come with all sorts of different
interests, but the thing that binds them together and that is a commonality is they want to
make some sort of difference, using their passions and the people that they’re passionate
about and changing those people’s lives. It’s a group that is really passionate and
fired about going out into the field and making a difference. You’re going to learn a lot from, from your
peers and being able to get connected in the, the program and get connected with Beth and
all those others, is going to be huge for you, because you’re going to be able to have
people to lean on. You know, you might have questions about things
and be able to have those people with those similar interests help you through the next
three, four years that you might be here. They recognize that a lot of the issues that
they will be dealing with with the potential patients that they’re going to work with in
the future involves psychology. I mean, so for example, you might have somebody
that may have had an accident and may have some physical limitations, and so the recreation
therapist is working with, with that patient, but that patient has also developed depression. And so they’re really very good at understanding
the interplay between what they are going to be doing with the patient and the role
of the disorder that is … the psychological disorder disease, and how their work can help
to positively impact the patient’s success in recovering from that disorder or disease. So when I first started here, I didn’t know
exactly what I wanted to do, but I talked with my professor and she took me through
all the different options, and she let me know that my degree wasn’t just, “Okay, you
have to go into this one field.” No, you can take it and make it what you want
to do. With that, I realized I’m gonna learn, you
know, from the textbook, and then I’m going to take it and make it relevant to me, and
I think the other big piece of it was you do get to help people, and you do have a very
personal bond with your client. You’re getting out. You’re not just in a clinic. You know, you’re out in the community, and
you’re making a difference. It’s when you’re with a client and you see
them accomplish something so small, whether it be for some clients holding a pencil, or
uh, for some clients, you know, doing two laps around the track, and seeing that joy
on their face makes all the hard work worth it. A lot of the internships that my students
have, if they choose to stay in this area, are with Medicaid waiver systems, where people
go out and meet clients individually, in their homes or maybe in a group home or that kind
of setting and do something in the community with them. So, they would follow a rec therapist for
their 14-week internship and get to both watch and then eventually do those therapy techniques
and those activities in the paperwork and, and all of that. So I’ve actually done two internships. One was a mini internship, where I got to
go to MDA camp, Muscular Dystrophy Association, and I got to be camp counselor to a little
girl, and we had so much fun. It was awesome, just getting to see her actually
overcome disabilities and helped her climb a rock wall and she got almost to the top. She was so excited. I learned so much about kids, working with,
you know, muscular dystrophy. So after I did that internship, I thought,
“Yes, I’m in the right degree program.” And then the one that I’m going through know
is almost 40 hours a week, and I’m interning with Leisure For Life of Indiana. So she’s a private therapist in town that
goes around that does community rec therapy, and so she’s actually helping me to start
my own business. I’ve actually registered my business name
with the county, and within the next year, I hope to have that up and running. This is my first internship that I’ve actually
ever had, and like I said, my experience with it has been phenomenal. Um, I love it. It’s with an organization here in Fort Wayne
called Pure Abilities. Um, it’s a fairly new company. I am the, actually, the very first intern
ever. So it’s been a learning experience for me
and for them as well. Pretty much, what we do, it’s a Medicaid waiver
company. So, we … and it’s community based. It’s been great. Each day, it’s something new. That’s what I like about it. It’s not, you know, a job where you wake up
and you know you’re going to do the same thing every day. You’re, you’re doing all sorts of things,
um, and that’s what I love about it. It’s always something new everyday, and I’m
definitely learning from the clients probably more than they’re learning from me, and they’re
teaching me a lot, and it’s, it’s been good. It’s been really good. So, I actually got the chance to present at
a conference last year, and I’ll be doing that again this year. So, last year, I presented on ADHD, and this
year, I’m actually presenting a project I did for a class, and it’s my own model of
recreational therapy. So, I’ll be doing that. Obviously, the, the students are my number
one reason for, for wanting to be here. I’ve been here a lot time. They’re, they’re the same and yet they’re
different all the time. They, it’s interesting to watch a, you know,
a 17, 18, 19 year old come and be unsure and somewhat scared or not even knowing what rec
therapy is and to be able to kind of explain that and see the light bulb go off, and, you
know, not everybody chooses it, um, but for those that, um, see them, see themselves in
that career they, they kind of light up and start to grow in the program. And when they graduate, they’re young men
and women, uh, that are gonna do great things. I’ve got a group right now. It’s a big group and they’re fantastic and
I’m just, like, so excited to see what they do. I think they’re going to be amazing. Indiana Tech has really prepared me for my
future in the field. Honestly, just all the classes that I’ve taken,
all the coursework, now that I’m out in the field, I’m seeing how it all pieces in to
real life.

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