During the month of October, faculty and trainees participated in the Va-LEND book adventure. This is an annual activity to foster engagement and develop a sense of community with selected books that address LEND topics and themes related to disabilities, life course, family centered care, inclusion, etc. This fall the selected books were The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003) by Mark Haddon, and Wonder (2012) by R.J. Palacio.
Faculty and trainees selected a book(s) to read and signed up for discussion groups at the beginning of the semester. Discussion topics were developed and shared on Blackboard. Each discussion group had a faculty facilitator. The feedback has been positive. We are planning a Va-LEND Movie Adventure which will feature The Other Sister to be viewed and discussed in February 2014. Stay tuned!
We are delighted to welcome a new class of Va-LEND trainees. We have enrolled 12 new long-term trainees from seven different disciplines. These disciplines include audiology (1), family (2), genetic counseling (2), nursing (1), occupational therapy (1), physical therapy (4), and special education (1). In addition we have three medium term trainees in occupational therapy. Welcome to the program!
Throughout their training the Va-LEND trainees develop and implement 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. In the past few months several projects have been presented.
- Kylie Lammers, trainee in genetic counseling, wrote and submitted for publication an article for the PRISMS (Parents and Researchers Interested in Smith Magenis Syndrome) newsletter on her research project: Siblings: of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities: An investigation of well-sibling intra-familial relationships.
- Katie Taylor, a psychology trainee conducted an evaluation of the I-CAN Project related to protective orders of individuals experiencing abuse/neglect. (This is a project at the Partnership for People with Disabilities: http://www.partnership.vcu.edu/I_CAN.html.)
- Jen Saddington, a physical therapy trainee, designed a motorized vehicle for a young child with motor impairment, and provided training for the child and family.
Jen and the motorized car with adaptations
- Carter Tyrrell, a physical therapy trainee, researched, developed and disseminated a resource guide for adaptable sports and recreational programs for children with disabilities in the greater Richmond Metro Area. This guide is available under the Publications link.
- Sarah Link, a law trainee, presented her research on Examining Autism Models Across the Nation to Better Assist Families in Virginia to faculty at the Virginia Department of Education, Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU (http://www.vcu.edu/ttac/)
- Shannon Haworth, a family trainee, presented a poster on Barriers to Autism Diagnosis and Treatment for African American Children at the Health Disparities Research at the Intersection of Race, Ethnicity, and Disability: A National Conference in Washington, D.C.
- Elane Ellis, an Autism Fellow, completed and presented a literature review regarding the factors that influence how parents make decisions about supports and services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Lauren Andelin, an occupational therapy trainee, developed a family follow-up questionnaire to monitor use of assistive technology (AT), and wrote a grant to secure funds for the development of family training materials related to AT.