In recent weeks four Va-LEND trainees have presented their leadership projects. These are innovative projects related to the field of disabilities that the trainees have developed with the guidance from their faculty advisers. Below are highlights of these projects.
- Kayla Claxton, genetic counseling trainee, conducted a research study to gather information from parents and other experts that work with children with Down Syndrome (DS). The goals of the study were to gather information about: (1) life with a child with DS; (2) resources and supports that are currently being utilized by parents of children with DS; and (3) additional supports that are perceived as potentially beneficial to these families. The data collected will be used to produce a current educational video on Down Syndrome. Kayla presented the results to the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond. The abstract of Kayla’s study can be found under Resources.
- Jill Harris, genetic counseling trainee, researched and developed a brief clinical guide to gender differences. The purpose of this guide was to use primary literature to outline gender differences and also identify additional factors of the family, child, and diagnosis that may assist clinicians in providing the best support and resources for families. Most of the broad gender differences addressed topics related to coping behaviors. This guide is available under Resources.
- Rebecca Craft, physical therapy trainee, organized and evaluated a self-advocacy panel of four adults with disabilities who spoke to health science students, faculty, and professionals. The objectives for this project were (1) to influence the way people perceive others with disabilities, and (2) to educate healthcare students and professionals on advocacy roles for people with disabilities. The event was videotaped and a DVD was created and shared with healthcare professionals working with children with disabilities in a pediatric therapy setting.
- Samantha Arritt, physical therapy trainee, ran a book drive and collected 328 children’s books that were then donated to Hayes E Willis Health Center and Richmond ARC. Monetary donations were used to purchase books in Spanish, as well as to give a gift card to the VCU Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Samantha also set up an interactive story time session for the children and families who attended a Friday afternoon clinic at Hayes E Willis to inspire the children to read their new books. In addition to the interactive reading session, Samantha put together a parent handout on ways to make reading more interactive to be shared with families in the clinic.