Rosecrance Recreational Therapist, Carla Roth, recently keynoted at the Illinois Inter-Agency Athletic Association’s (IIAA) conference in Bloomington on January 18, 2019.
The IIAA is a non-profit group that allows for teens living in residential living or group homes to engage in structured sporting events, and is the only group of its kind in the United States. Every January the IIAA provides a two-day training conference, “Balls, Bats, and Brains,” which is open to all child welfare agency staff across Illinois. Seminars cover topic such as: “How Trauma Impacts Learning and Behavior”, “Recreation and Sports Activities for Kids Affected by Trauma”, and “Music Therapy Tips and Tricks” to name a few.
Roth has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Cleveland State University and a graduate degree in Community and Therapeutic Recreation from University of North Carolina Greensboro. She is a nationally Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and she has been at Rosecrance for nearly two years working as a Recreation Therapist at the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson campus. Carla facilitates therapeutic drumming, horticulture, leisure education, and mindfulness and meditation groups.
The 4-hour interactive presentation included 15 different therapeutic interventions and sensory-based activities, such as tabletop drumming, creating stress balls and lavender satchels, and chime-listening meditations. Her presentation was centered on the use of nature-based therapies to help manage and ease symptoms of mental health and substance use disorders.
“It’s so important that therapists have a wide variety of coping skills and techniques readily available to teach. Nature based-therapies, in specific, help kids to self-soothe, practice mindfulness, patience, and even assist with things like teamwork, accountability, self-esteem, and dealing with loss,” says Roth.
The conference was well attended with more than 30 recreation-based professionals who work in residential facilities or group homes throughout Illinois.
Roth explains, “Most of the attendees typically relied on sports-based activities with their clients. I tried to give them realistic, low material ideas for different interventions they could use with clients and expand their repertoire to help them understand nature-based therapies can be really beneficial and relevant as well.”