Successes, challenges of diverse LEND trainees

January 21, 2016 by Sue Reeves

AUCD5A poster presented at the recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) conference examined the successes and challenges of recruiting and supporting racially and ethnically diverse Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) trainees. The poster was presented by Judith Holt, Lisamarie Turk and Natalie Allen from the Utah Regional and New Mexico LEND programs.

To strengthen the capacity of LEND programs, PacWest LEND representatives from Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii/Guam, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada conducted focus groups to further understand how to better recruit and retain racially and ethnically diverse long-term trainees. Focus groups were aimed at identifying how trainees select a career path in maternal and child health care professions, how long they are supported in their respective LEND programs, and their recommendations for how LEND programs can better recruit and support racially and ethnically diverse trainees.

Frequently mentioned challenges included a lack of role models within participants’ families and the ongoing need to attend to the caregiver and financial provider role within their family. Many trainees expressed the subtle challenge of the culture of independence (belief that trainees do not ask for help).

Essential components of recruitment and retention included financial incentive information in recruitment materials, strategic recruitment of all maternal and child-health relevant disciplines, recruitment materials crafted with racial/ethnic diversity as a priority and face-to-face recruitment.

Next steps include activities to maximize leadership potential of racial and ethnic minority LEND fellows and to increase the number of LEND applicants who are minorities are planned, including workshops, individual coaching sessions and growth plans.


AUCD poster examines self-advocacy instruction

January 19, 2016 by Sue Reeves

AUCD4Since self-advocacy is an important skill for high schoolers and adults with developmental disabilities, it is imperative that teachers, case managers and service providers are equipped with best practices to teach self-advocacy skills to high schoolers and adults with developmental disabilities. Our purpose is to explore the types of effective interventions and outcome measures related to self-advocacy that have been researched with teenagers and adults with developmental disabilities. The main question guiding this systematic review is as follows: for high schoolers and adults with developmental disabilities, what instructional methods for self-advocacy skills have been used to promote accuracy, frequency, generalization, and/or maintenance of self-advocacy skills? A secondary question of this systematic review was what types of outcome measures have been used to measure self-advocacy skills for high schoolers and adults with developmental disabilities?

Twelve studies were included in the review and were compared based on their design, What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) methodological quality, types of instructional methods and self-advocacy outcomes.

Several methods of effective self-advocacy instruction and outcomes were identified. The most common outcomes were knowledge of self-efficacy, participation in meetings, and role-play. The most common types of instructional methods were group discussions, role-play and videos. However, only one of the included studies met the WWC standards without reservation, and only one met the WWC with reservations.

This study only included published studies in the English language.

When teaching self-advocacy, the review found many types of instructional methods and curriculum are available. Due to the limited number of studies included in the review, future research is needed.


Diversity, leadership and disabilities

January 12, 2016 by Sue Reeves

AUCD3A poster that was presented at a recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) conference highlighted the activities of two programs at Utah State University—Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND), housed at the Center for Persons with Disabilities, and Gear Up, housed in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

The poster, presented by Eduardo Ortiz, Judith Holt and Eric Packenham, described a collaborative effort to provide early leadership experiences for middle and high school students of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

According to the poster, by 2020, more than half of the population of the United States under the age of 18 are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group. Many potential leaders are coming form a more diverse group, and are receiving information that will influence and shape their thinking. In preparation for this, URLEND and Gear Up have produced a coordinated series of leadership messages which promote self-efficacy skills and creative problem-solving skills related to the complex problems and issues related to disability.

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Shaping and informing professionals

January 7, 2016 by Sue Reeves

AUCD2A poster that was presented at a recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) conference highlighted the activities of two programs at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities—Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) and the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE). URLEND is part of the Interdisciplinary Training division at the CPD, while TAESE makes up the Technical Assistance division.

The poster, entitled “CPD Leadership Programs: Shaping and Informing Professionals,” was presented by Judith Holt and David Forbush. The poster featured URLEND, which is an interdisciplinary program for graduate students and post-graduate professionals; the Interdisciplinary Disability and Service Learning (IDASL) class, for upper-level undergraduates in a variety of disciplines; the Utah Professional Development Network, which provides technical assistance to educators in the state of Utah; and the Kansas Leadership Conference, which offers relevant information to regular and special education leadership.

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URLEND trainees experience exchange program

January 5, 2016 by Sue Reeves

Image of poster presented at session

The poster presented at AUCD by URLEND trainees.

Trainees from the Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities presented their experiences in an exchange program at a poster session at the recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) conference.

The Utah trainees traveled to difference PacWest LEND programs in Alaska, Hawaii/Guam, California and Colorado for the exchange opportunity

Ana Caballero, a URLEND trainee in audiology, visited Hawaii and had this to say: “This experience gave me the opportunity to compare and learn how programs function, as well as to meet strong leaders from different fields in different systems, states and cultures that were loving and caring for children with special health care needs and their families … Getting to know these wonderful personalities full of hope, joy, and happiness taught me that there will always be a solution to problems, no matter how hard this could be, a smile and a friendly hand can make a huge difference to the people we work with … A life-changing experience!”

Jennifer Goldman-Luthy, a URLEND trainee in pediatrics, also visited Hawaii and had this to say: “The Hawaii group uses a notebook/binder full of printed fliers from different groups. They periodically gather to update the contents and then disseminate it to settings like primary care clinics so that staff can share copies of the information with families in need. In Utah we keep our resource database in electronic format and update it periodically through interfacing with other databases and occasional focus groups … This has indirectly impacted my leadership by making me more aware of different approaches to achieve the same ends, and the some of the benefits and drawbacks of each.”

Nicole Graham, a URLEND trainee in nursing and public health, visited Alaska and had this to say: “The leadership project pushed me and helped me increase my confidence in many skills such as communication, prioritization, having a long-term vision, and teamwork. I also had the chance to see what it is like to provide developmental therapy and public health nursing at the very top of the world in Barrow, Alaska … This experience impacted my view on how important it is to try and maximize our resources so we can provide care to those who would not have access to it otherwise.”

Valerie Collier, a URLEND trainee and genetics counselor, also visited Alaska and had this to say: “My experience in Alaska exposed me to the unique healthcare challenges of rural areas. I was able to see how leaders from the LEND program in Alaska and other healthcare workers … have created solutions to overcome these challenges. It helped me to recognize that the status quo is not always the best way to get a job done and it takes people willing to advocate for change to improve the system.”