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A headshot of A. Pablo Juarez, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA. He is a middle-aged man with a medium complexion, a short buzz cut, black glasses, and a dark blue button-down shirt and a pink and blue plaid bow tie.


A Commentary from Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist, TRIAD Co-director on ABA Controversies and the Need for Substantive Community Engagement

This opinion piece is shared by A. Pablo Juarez, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, co-director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (VKC TRIAD). This commentary is not meant to be a definitive resource documenting numerous issues surrounding the use of applied behavior analysis, but to instead provide a surface-level overview of conversations currently being held among self-advocates and disability support professionals.



Updates from the CU Pediatric PT Residency Program

The University of Colorado Pediatric Residency is a post-professional physical therapy residency program of the University of Colorado Physical Therapy Program in the School of Medicine and JFK Partners. The residency was established in 2011 under the Founding Director, Mary Jane K. Rapport, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA, and it received initial accreditation in 2012.

Physical therapist Marne Iwand works with a client using the ZeroG Gait and Balance System at the new Munroe-Meyer Institute building.


New Tech Opens up Physical Therapy Opportunities

The new Munroe-Meyer Institute building was created to be on the cutting edge of clinical care and therapy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and one improved technology already is in use and garnering a positive response from therapists and clients. The ZeroG Gait and Balance System includes a safety harness that runs along an 80-foot-long track in the mobility lab in the department of physical therapy, but it is far from a traditional body weight harness, said Sandra Willett, PhD, director of the MMI Department of Physical Therapy.



MN LEND Fellow Builds Communication and Trust Through Animals

As a 2019-20 fellow in the Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (MNLEND) program, Carl Luepker spent time with Hold Your Horses, a Greenfield, Minnesota provider of occupational and physical therapy and mental health services using hippotherapy. The practice employs the gait and movement of horses to assist people with neurological and developmental disabilities or mental health issues.



National Home Visiting Summit Hosts Its First Ever Presentation on Parents with I/DD by the Georgetown UCEDD

During the last week in February, the Georgetown University Parenting Support Program (PSP), a DC Health-funded home visiting program under the UCEDD umbrella, gave a groundbreaking presentation at the National Home Visiting Summit. It was the first presentation about home visiting services tailored to address the needs of parents identified as having intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) ever at this Summit.



Interdisciplinary Training Clinic Meeting Needs 360

Sara Clancey, PhD., MOTR/L, IMH-E

The Interdisciplinary Training Clinic (ITC) operated by the Institute for Human Development at Northern Arizona University (NAU) offers comprehensive evaluations and recommendations to families and educational agencies serving said families at no cost to the family. The clinic serves as a training experience for graduate students in a number of different disciplines learning about interdisciplinary practices. Graduate student teams supported by faculty mentors from their respective disciplines provide the services offered by the clinic.



Holly Roberts, PhD, Takes Part in National HHS Panel

by John Keenan, UNMC Strategic Communications

Holly Roberts, PhD, associate professor at the Munroe-Meyer Institute's Department of Psychology, was an invited panelist in a national Health and Human Services Telehealth Innovation Summit with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in late December. In its invitation, HHS told Dr. Roberts that the summit was designed for leaders in the telehealth community to share what they have learned and to discuss challenges and opportunities in reimbursement, best practices, public-private partnerships, health care resilience, biosecurity and the future of telehealth.



A Virtual Mock Developmental Assessment: Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Leadership During COVID-19

The Alaska LEND Without Walls is a program that has embraced video teleconferencing as a method to reach faculty and fellows across the geographically vast state. During the current pandemic, the Alaska LEND program utilized a virtual environment for all activities. As part of the annual fall semester "face to face" seminar, interdisciplinary faculty and fellows participate in a mock developmental assessment.



Mailman Center for Child Development (FL LEND/UCEDD) Co-Hosts Virtual Innovation & Connection Conference

The University of Miami (UM) Mailman Center for Child Development, in partnership with UM Center for Autism and Related Disorders co-hosted its bi-annual Innovation and Connection conference, Coaching Teachers and Parents: How and Why it Works, on October 19th, 2020. More than 90 administrators, educators, speech-language pathologists and mental health workers attended the virtual event.



Mailman Early Autism Intervention Program

The Mailman Early Autism Intervention program uses the evidence-based, manualized Project Impact model, to provide telehealth-based parent coaching to families of children ages 18 months to 4 years with social communication challenges. This project was developed in response to COVID-19 to replace in-person services. This program includes 6 pre-recorded webinars for parents and 6 live coaching sessions. If needed, there is an optional 7th webinar and related coaching session focused on managing challenging behavior.



Grant Will Fund Potentially Game-changing PT study

The Munroe-Meyer Institute Department of Physical Therapy will take part in a nationwide study that may fundamentally shift the way PT is provided for young children at high risk for or diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Sandra Willett, PhD, director of the department, will be the site principal investigator of a five-year study evaluating START-Play (Sitting Together And Reacting To Play), an intervention that incorporates play into PT treatment with the idea that key motor skills, such as sitting up and reaching, promote attention span and problem solving in infants ages 7-24 months.

(L-R) Jennifer Burt, Ph.D., and Alison Grennan, Ph.D


MMI Psychology Department to Offer Free Consultative Clinics

The Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) Psychology Department at UNMC is offering free behavioral telehealth consultative clinics. Families of children age 18 or younger can access two free consultative appointments via the teleconferencing platform Zoom or by phone. Providing the services via telehealth also means they will be available to people across the entire state.



Communication is Vital: Learn how the WI UCEDD is helping pave the way for intubated COVID-19 patients

At the Waisman Center, home of Wisconsin's LEND, IDDRC, and UCEDD, clinicians in the Communication Aids and Systems Clinic (CASC) join a new international task force designed to help patients on ventilators communicate while intubated. CASC is one of 10 different specialty clinics within the Waisman Center and offers specialized services for those who benefit from augmentative and alternative communication aids (AAC). One clinician in CASC, Sarah Marshall, a speech-language pathologist (SLP), has been working with the international task force to develop free communication supports and tools for patients on ventilators due to COVID-19. For patient's suffering from this potentially life-threatening illness, communication with providers and loved ones can be vital. Due to restrictions placed on visitors and the nature of intubation, patients needing intubation and placed on ventilators often find themselves alone and unable to communicate their needs.



New Mexico Early Cerebral Palsy Risk Detection and Intervention Task Force

New Mexico Early Cerebral Palsy Risk Detection and Intervention Task Force was developed with leadership from the University of New Mexico Center for Development and Disability (CDD). Sandra Heimerl, PT, DPT, MS training director of the New Mexico LEND leads the task force. Two years ago several colleagues went to a national conference (American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine conference) to learn new clinical guidelines for detecting cerebral palsy early. The twenty-plus person team began working to develop the task force in 2017. In the last state legislative session a house resolution was passed to study how to implement the new guidelines in New Mexico.



MN LEND Teams Launch Projects

Hosting a film series and discussions exploring cultural responses to autism. Asking families what services they need most. Evaluating and expanding a promising mentoring program.

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