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Cover page for the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation


Perspectives on the Implementation of Pre-ETS Services: Identification of barriers and facilitators to early career planning for youth with disabilities

There are differences between and within states in the delivery of Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) for students with significant disabilities early in their career planning process. This complicates the delivery of services for these youth with disabilities (YWD) and leaves gaps in communication between families, educators, and vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors.

L-R Laury Scheidler, MSW and Audrey Wood, CCC-SLP


Iowa Recognizes the 2023 Healy Award Winners

Each year, the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD), Iowa's UCEDD, recognizes trainees from the Iowa LEND program with the Alfred Healy Leadership Award in Developmental Disabilities. The award is intended to nurture in the recipients a life-long commitment to leadership in developmental disabilities to carry on Dr. Healy's legacy for future generations. Dr. Healy's long-term leadership is still felt in the CDD clinics, the UCEDD and the Iowa LEND program. The Healy Award is intended to facilitate additional leadership development activities. This year's award winners are Laury Scheidler and Audrey Wood.



A Qualitative Investigation on COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Neurodivergent Communities

Over the course of 2 years, the student led group, Neurodiversity Health Chats at UCLA has published their explorative work on vaccine hesitancy in the neurodivergent community!



Abigail Peskin Recipient of The Children's Trust Champions 2023 Excellence in Direct Services Award

Abigail (Abby) Peskin is a clinical child psychologist at the Mailman Center for Child Development. She has won this year's Children's Trust Champions for Children Excellence in Direct Service Award.



MN LEND Graduates Celebrate

This year, 28 fellows have earned full MNLEND certificates, along with seven intermediate trainees who joined the program for a more limited, focused experience. They come from University of Minnesota academic disciplines, including Public Health Administration, Law, Social Work, Psychology, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Pediatric Dentistry, and many more; or are community members in disability-related professions, self-advocates, or family advocates.



The Center Welcomes Kelly Kurtz Majewski as the New iGROW Program Director

We would like to welcome Kelly Majewski M.Ed. to the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University Team! Kelly Kurtz Majewski has accepted the position of iGROW Program Director and will be leading the rural transition work in Central Texas as well as future replication sites across Texas. The iGROW impact report for year one is included in this post.

 A toddler-aged white boy with Down syndrome looks to the camera. He has straight brown hair, green eyes, and a red T-shirt.


Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) Member Works to Improve Sleep Assessment in Down Syndrome Research

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) member Sarika Peters, Ph.D., received a VKC Director's Strategic Priorities Grant to determine the feasibility of use of a wearable sensor to assess sleep in children (ages 4-10 years) with Down syndrome. Down syndrome is estimated to occur in 1 out of 700 babies and is associated with many co-occurring conditions including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA impacts between 50-79 percent of individuals with Down syndrome and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for OSA in children with Down syndrome starting at age 4.



Autism and the Dysregulated Arousal System

By Rebecca Grzadzinski, Kattia Mata, and Jose Rodriguez-Romaguera, The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities - UNC IDDRC

How do babies learn to be social? Babies are born into the world with so much to learn, from basic body movements to complex communication and interaction skills. Philosopher John Locke believed that babies are born into the world as "blank slates" (tabula rasas)-everything to learn will be gained from their environment and experience1. Indeed, environment and experience are critical for learning-studies on enriched environments highlight this. However, research continues to highlight the influence of inherent characteristics, underlying neurobiology and genetics on how and what we learn or know. Researchers aim to understand what and how we learn by studying the dynamic interplay between inherent biological traits, physiological states, and the environment.

The Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities, along with the Center for Transformative Interprofessional Healthcare, utilize a virtual Interprofessional Education Event on Disability, to ready Health Sciences students to care for patients.


Sonoran Center Trains Students to Close Disability Care Gaps

Most people receive care from a variety of health professionals throughout their lives, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, people who run public health programs, and more. Unfortunately, not all of these professionals have experience providing care to people with disabilities. The Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities in the Department of Family & Community Medicine in the College of Medicine - Tucson works to ensure that future health care providers are prepared for some of the unique challenges they may face.

Clinical outreach group, including LEND trainees and discipline heads from South Dakota, together with therapists at Santa Lucia Utatlan, Guatemala.


South Dakota LEND Trainees and Discipline Heads Travel to Guatemala for Clinical Outreach

South Dakota LEND trainees, Kylie Hamman (Audiology), Abby Myers (Physical Therapy), and Kaylee Schmidt and Emily Bruinsma (Occupational Therapy) joined clinical outreach ventures to Antigua and Santiago Atitl�n in Guatemala during spring break 2023. The groups were led by LEND discipline heads Patti Berg-Poppe (PT), Shana Cerny (OT), and Liz Hanson (SLP), and were also joined by former discipline head, Lana Svien (PT-retired), all from the University of South Dakota.

Clockwise - Victoria Filingeri, Heather Mendez, Jason Fogler, Gyasi Burks-Abbott, Amy Szarkowski and Alisa  Lin


New Publication: Cultural Humility and Cultural Brokering in Professional Training

Congratulations to Boston Children's Hospital LEND alumni Victoria Filingeri, Heather Mendez, and Alisa Ssu Yu Lin and their faculty mentors (Gyasi Burks-Abbott, Amy Szarkowski, and Jason Fogler) on the publication of their article in DDNJ: Cultural Humility and Cultural Brokering in Professional Training: Insights from People of Color (POC) and Persons with Disabilities (PWD).



Angela Shepard Appointed Director of NERGN

We are pleased to announce that Angela Shepherd, MD, MPH, will be joining the IOD in early March as Director of the New England Regional Genetics Network (NERGN). Angela is a NH native who graduated from Plymouth State University before attending the University of Maryland's School of Medicine. She returned to New England to complete her Preventive Medicine residency and master's in public health at UMass Medical School in Worcester, MA. Angela is very active in the rare disease community in New Hampshire.



Dr. McNally Keehn Selected to be Health Equity Research Scholar

Dr. Rebecca McNally Keehn, Research Director at the Indiana LEND, has been selected to participate in the Health Equity Research Scholars (HERS) Program, a 9-month faculty-development program for faculty at Indiana University School of Medicine.



UCONN UCEDD Awarded National Early Childhood Intervention Personnel Development Equity Center

Mary Beth Bruder, PhD Director of UConn UCEDD & LEND and Tawara Goode Director of Georgetown UCEDD & LEND has been awarded a $10 million federal grant by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education, to provide technical assistance to increase equity in the delivery of early childhood intervention services to infants and young children from diverse backgrounds who have disabilities or developmental delays.

Indiana Disability History Project


New Video on the COVID-19 Pandemic's Impact on People with Disabilities in Indiana

The Indiana Disability History Project has produced a video about the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic for Hoosiers with disabilities. Themes that emerged over two years of remote interviews include a heightened awareness of health disparities, challenges to mental health such as social isolation and loss, and a stressed system of disability services.

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