By: Mr. Huy B Diep, WBRC Recreation Therapy Intern
On Wednesday, September 19th 2013, the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center (WBRC) students and the Polytrauma programs were treated to a day in the woods. Christa Lyons and her husband John Lyons, who is also a Veteran, reached out and connected with Recreation Therapy staff at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) to set up a visit to the Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley, CA.
As Mr. Lyons stated, “it’s simply therapeutic,” when asked what inspired him to share this location with our Veterans at the VA. As a Veteran who was dealing with mental wounds post-military, the Lyons' spoke highly about how frequent visits to Muir Woods, amongst the redwood trees, was helpful to John with recovering from his trauma. Several years later they were able to come back and share this experience with fellow service members.
Community reintegration outings are a big part of helping people with adjustment to their disability in an inclusive setting. It’s where people receiving treatment in rehab can show off the fruits of their labor, and all of that hard work learning/implementing new strategies get put on display. Recreation Therapists have the pleasure of seeing how people function outside of a hospital setting and can provide feedback to their treatment team about what strategies are working well or could use fine tuning.
Whether people came out to become educated about the redwoods, enjoy the scenery, go on a trail walk, or just get out of the hospital setting, the consensus was that everyone enjoyed themselves, as evident by the big smiles and comments about how relaxing the day was.