Diversional Therapy Australia News

Published Friday, 15 September 2017
DRTA International Liaison Projects
DRTA International Liaison Projects August 2017 report.

In the early hours of Tuesday the 9th of August I had the privilege once again to be able to give a presentation to the National Association of Activity Professionals, (NAAP), in the USA, this time via the internet.

This webinar is called NAAP Lunch and Learn and is held over the lunch time period in the various states in the US. The NAAP members that attend the session earn PD points that is are a requirement to be a NAAP member. NAAP President Alisa Tagg who lives and works in Las Vegas was there as well as other members who I met at their conference in Denver in April this year. A special thank you must go to Vanessa Emm who was the session facilitator and who helped me out with the unfamiliar technical requirements.

My presentation was about Unity and Diversional Therapy. I spoke about how we don’t necessarily think much about unity, but we know it is there or not, and how important it is to have unity at your places of employment and how it can contribute to you being able to put on successful activities with your residents and clients. I also spoke about the work the International Liaison Team does in bringing International Activity Professionals together, giving us and them the opportunity to share experience and knowledge and build friendships along the way.

An example of the session feedback I got was from attendee, Robin Schlitz, who wrote;
Today's topic was presented by Darren Robinson of Australia. I was fortunate enough to exchange a few words with him in the shuttle bus on the way to the airport from the Denver NAAP conference. His subject was Unity in Diversional Therapy or the Activity Profession.

The explanation of unity that I identified with most was "Togetherness/ A Bunch of people as one, or on the same page." He used the example of The Christmas Truce between British and German soldiers, explaining that during this war, the soldiers stopped fighting on Christmas to sing and be merry together. After spending time in this truce, they resumed their fighting. While they were singing and drinking together, they formed a certain "unity".

As a leader (dept. head) in my facility, I must always remember to promote and insure unity. I am very happy to say, that after 14 yrs. of being in the activity profession, and many, many assistants later, I have a very unified department. We all work together to get the job done. No one ever complains about having to do more work than the other one. We are licensed for 100 beds. Our current census is 92. Besides me, I have a full-time coordinator and a full-time assistant. What I enjoy most is working with these two when it comes to designing new activities, or making new crafts. We each thrive on the others talents!

I also really enjoyed the short power point on the Lady Rose Cathedral. I am in awe of how Darren had a vision, and put his Residents to work to create such a beautiful masterpiece. It was obvious that they took pride in this, as well as having fun along the way. This is what empowerment is all about.

"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean!”
-Robyn Schiltz

In other International news, the Barunga Village Choir where I work will be performing a concert to the Sunhill Nursing Home in Termonfecon in Northern Ireland on August the 22nd. This will be the 9th International Concert our choir has done over the last 2 years. It promises to be a very special event for the residents of Barunga Homes and in particular the choir members and one lady by the name of Joan Gill who has a penfriend who lives at the nursing home in Ireland.

Darren Robinson
DRTA International Liaison Projects Team Leader

In further news:

In my search for organisations and individuals around the world that use Diversional Therapy or Recreation Therapy, I came across Eurordis and Raquel Castro who is their Social Policy Senior Manager.  She works out of Barcelona after recently moving there from Paris.  Kylie Rice DRTA President and I spoke to her via Skype earlier in the year where we had the opportunity to tell her about DRTA and she told us about Eurordis and how Therapeutic recreation is used in their many programs. 

They have kindly provided this article for our newsletter.

EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe
The voice of rare disease patients in Europe

 EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe is a unique, non-profit alliance of over 700 rare disease patient organisations from more than 60 countries that work together to improve the lives of the 30 million people living with a rare disease in Europe.

 Since 1997 EURORDIS strengthens the patient voice and shapes research, policies and patient services by connecting patients, families and patient groups, as well as by bringing together all stakeholders and mobilising the rare disease community.

 In recent years, EURORDIS’ work on social policy and access to social services included advocating for the implementation of social services for rare diseases across Europe, the mapping of specialised social services including therapeutic recreation programmes, and involvement in the EU-funded INNOVCare project.

 INNOVCare focuses on bridging the gaps between health and social care as well as on ensuring that aspects of daily life, mental health and social integration are taken into account when planning care for people living with a rare disease and other complex conditions.

Within this project, EURORDIS conducted the first Europe-wide survey on the social impact of rare diseases, “Juggling care and daily life. The balancing act of the rare disease community”, which involved more than 3,000 patients and carers via Rare Barometer Voices (a European community of people living with a rare disease who regularly participate in EURORDIS surveys). The results of this survey bring to light the serious social and everyday life impact of rare diseases.

Global EURORDIS activities include Rare Diseases International (RDI), a global alliance of people living with a rare disease of all nationalities across all rare diseases, which was launched in 2015. The governing Council of RDI consists of representatives from rare disease organisations all over the world, amongst them Rare Voices Australia.

EURORDIS’ vision is to enable better lives and cures for people living with a rare disease, and mission is to work across borders and diseases to improve the lives of people living with a rare disease.

Here is a picture that Takako wanted to share with us. It is a picture of her with her class at Hiroshima University.