Wyoming: Wyoming Institute for Disabilities at the University of Wyoming in Laramie

June 18, 2007

The Wyoming Early Childhood Vision Project has developed a readily replicable model for early childhood vision screening, including the use of a Photoscreener, for children with and without disabilities who are between six months and five years of age. The Vision Project provides training and materials to developmental preschool programs to facilitate competency in four areas of vision screening - 1. Intake of family background and identification of risk factors; 2. Physical screening procedures including tracking, fixation, and appearance of eyes; 3. Use of the Photoscreener; and 4. Reliable interpretation of screening results including competency testing of interpreting photos with not less than 85% inter-rater reliability using the standards established for interpretation. The Vision Project tracks the results of the vision screening to assure children referred receive professional eye examinations.

Wyoming AgrAbility is a program designed to assist farmers and ranchers with disabilities or other limitations to be able to continue to farm and ranch. The mission of Wyoming AgrAbility is to provide education, networking and assistance to ranchers, farmers, agricultural workers and their families with disabilities who are engaged in production agriculture and want to continue ranching or farming. Ranching and farming are physically demanding and hazardous jobs. Even when proper precautions are taken, disabling accidents may still occur. When a rancher or farmer acquires a disability either from an accident or due to aging, the compensatory steps taken by the individual may also place them at risk for secondary injuries or death.

As part of the educational component, Wyoming AgrAbility has increased the project focus to include injury prevention (whether it be primary injury or secondary injury prevention if a disability injury has occurred). Staff members began writing articles for general release in state and regional print media. These articles focus on things such as every day assistive technology (emphasizing universal design), working safely with children, working with large equipment and other similar information. The purpose of this education is not to detract from disabilities which may already be present, but rather to educate those who have the potential to reduce or eliminate the chance of acquiring a disability from injury.

Through the legislative activities of the Wyoming Oral Health Coalition (funded by a State Oral Health Collaborative Systems grant through HRSA) adults with disabilities who are EqualityCare eligible have received improved oral health coverage. Previous to the 2006 legislative session, individuals with developmental disabilities (who were not residents of the state school) were not eligible for any dental coverage other than emergency visits and extractions. The coalition activities during that session resulted in the approval of an adult Medicaid dental program.

During the 2007 legislative session the Oral Health Coalition requested the reimbursement of Services for Developmentally Disabled individuals in Wyoming (not already receiving this benefit by being residents at the state school) to cover 100% of necessary oral health services. Legislators did not approve the request but passed an amendment to remove the $400 cap for oral health services covered by the adult Medicaid program. This change will result in improved oral health care coverage through providing some additional services.