How to plan a vacation with a child with Autism needs

Nicole Villalpando (2017, Aug. 24) had written a list of 14 tips to plan a vacation with a child with autism, special needs that was posted at Austin360 in the Hoe and Leisure section.

Recreation therapists who provide services for children with autism may definitely want to check out these tips to share with parents and other co-workers who provide services for children with related needs.

Read it here:


Private donor helps to pay for therapies

David Britton with Stillwater Newspress (Oklahoma) had written an article titled: Private donors helping OSU’s Child Development Laboratory thrive after slash to funding.

There have been budget cuts that impacted this program that provided services for children with delays and various disabilities.

The article points out that several therapies are provided, including: physical , occupational, speech and language, and music therapies.

Recreation therapy is not specifically identified.

Read the article here:

“I CAN” inspirational books for kids

I-CAN-Series-1024x724“All things are possible when you believe you can.” – Miriam Laundry


I’m at Jack Canfield’s Breakthrough to Success (BTS) training in Philadelphia.


I got to meet Mirian Laundry who is assisting with the conference.


I first heard about her during Jack’s one-day to success workshop in Chicago (in 2016).



Jack said that she had written a children’s book on her airplane ride back from his BTS conference. That seems amazing. And her book has won many awards, like Guiness World Records!



I feel confident that recreational therapists who provide services for children (in any setting: physical rehabilitation, behavioral health, community, developmental disabilities) would enjoy her books.


Here are some of my amazon affiliate links for her amazing books:




Here is a link to her site:

Special Kids – receives grant!

I interviewed Becky Bachelor, CTRS a few months ago to provide us with recreational therapy for children with special needs. I thought it was a great webinar. I found it very informative.

Becky works at “Special Kids,” in TN.

I was happy to see that a grant has been provided  to help kids.

The money from the grant (over $1,000) will go towards their “Play with a purpose” program.

The article provides an overview of what their Recreational Therapists do.

Contest winner – copy of Danny Pettry’s book!

Elyse J., Bloomington, MN had won a copy of my children’s book, Building Character with Sam, Izzy, and Many Other Dogs: 15 Tips to Help Children Build Character. She had attended my training session at ATRA! I always like to give away door-prizes at my sessions

The book has been featured in the media and in publications several times, including:

  • Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine (Tampa Bay, FL).
  • The Parthenon – Student newspaper at Marshall University (Huntington, W.Va).
  • The Register-Herald Newspaper (Beckley, W.Va.)
  • Indiana University Alumni Magazine (no article – but posted picture of book online). (Bloomington, IN) in 2009 or 2010
  • West Virginia Public Radio Interview in Jan. 2011

The book has a 5-star rating from reviewers!


Seal of Approval Winner by The National Parenting Center
Testers were delighted to discover this storybook that teaches children important lessons about tolerance, empathy, sharing, compassion and much more. Pettry uses adorable dogs and puppies to illustrate these good character traits. Parents noted how well the book was written. The style easily connected with children and was fun for parents to read. What many parents told us was that this book sparked conversations about various behaviors including how humans and dogs share many similarities when it comes to caring for each other.


go to this link to get the book:

Building Character with Sam, Izzy, and Many Other Dogs: 15 Tips to Help Children Build Character.

OR go here: 


Danny Pettry’s: Rec Therapy for Children presentation at ATRA.

I had the wonderful opportunity to provide a training session today (Mon. Sept. 12, 2016) at the American Therapeutic Recreation Association’s annual conference in Chicago.

I presented on: “Rec Therapy for children (ages 7 to 12) with abuse-reactive needs at a residential treatment facility.” This area has been my major focus and specialization area. I’ve worked with this population and setting for 14+ years.

I had created 50 folders with slideshow handouts and other promotional items. Over 50 people attended this session because we ran out of folders. A few people had written their emails on a sheet of paper for me to email the presentation slideshow to them.

By the way – Here is a link with the presentation:

NOTE: this slideshow alone just isn’t as good as the real presentation because I had added a lot additional information to each slide while speaking. Plus, I included recreational therapy group activity ideas.

Here are some pictures that were kindly taken by the room monitor, Ashley Martin who had won the Peg Connolly Scholarship to attend this year’s conference. She is finishing her degree at Indiana University! I thought that was awesome! I had completed my master’s degree at Indiana University. It is a really wonderful program.


ATRA Conference – photo by Ashley Martin

I appear to be raising my hand in that picture? Here is a joke: I must have said, “Raise your hand if you think Danny is awesome?” Umm. no hands are raised in the picture below. please insert a fake laugh aloud at that joke now.


I received a lot of praise from people after this session.

I didn’t receive any complaints, so that is always nice.

Several people that didn’t attend my session had spoken to me today saying they heard it was a good session, including: Colleen Cooke and Sydney Sklar and others that I can’t recall. But I do appreciate those people who passed along that it was a good session.

Big Book of Therapeutic Activities for Children and Teens

Blog Entry Submitted by: Lindsey Joiner

Hi blog readers,

My name is Lindsey Joiner.  I’m the author of The Big Book of Therapeutic Activities for Children and Teens: Inspiring Arts-Based Activities and Character Education Curricula and The Big Book of Even More Therapeutic Activities for Children and Teens: Inspiring Arts-Based Activities and Character Education Curricula.  I am an LPC in Mississippi as well as a National Certified Counselor and National Certified School Counselor.  I have a wide variety of experience in community mental health, education, and private practice.  I was thrilled when Danny contacted me and asked me to write an article for his fantastic blog.

Although I have a lot of experience now, these books were born out of my desperation as a new counselor conducting day treatment groups.  I had received great training in my graduate programs and thought I had a pretty good handle on counseling theory, but the first day I conducted a day treatment group, I quickly realized I had no idea what to do with a group of 9 children or teens for 2 to 5 hours a day.  I went and ordered all of the therapeutic activity books that I could find to try to find something to do to manage behavior in my groups and fill our time together with meaningful activities.  Almost all of the books I found were either filled with worksheets or scripts to talk through as a group.  While I did manage to get the behavior of the group members under control and fill the time, I noticed that all of the participants were miserable.  They didn’t want to come sit in group for 2 hours after school and do more worksheets.  I started try to find activities and games that they would enjoy that were also therapeutic at the same time.   I began to look at ordinary art activities and games and think about how I could change it or spin it to teach a therapeutic concept.  As I introduced more and more of these activities, I found that participants started wanting to come to group.  Attendance and participation improved and the lessons really seemed to stick with the participants.

Most children and teens (and adults as well) do not learn well through sitting and doing worksheets.  The arts-based activities in my books teach a wide variety of therapeutic skills including anger management, conflict resolution, positive thinking, following directions, and social skills through the use of ordinary and readily available materials.  For example, one of the group activities allows the group to create anger control totem poles.  Each group member takes a short quiz to identify their anger management style (which corresponds to an animal).  The group members then create their animals (using templates providing in the book) while discussing different styles of anger and anger management strategies.  After each group member has created their animal, a totem pole is created.  This is so much more fun and meaningful than sitting and completing a worksheet on anger management.

I want to thank Danny for inviting me to contribute to his blog.  If you are interested in purchasing my books, they are available at as well as many other online retailers.  I am also available for conferences and presentations.  Please contact me at for more information.

Click on the covers below for more information: 

joiner1   joiner2