When schools lack teachers and other specialists, it keeps children with disabilities from receiving the early intervention services they need. Three Nazareth College professors knew that they could play a role in solving the issue—at least locally. The result was Project RISE (Rochester Interprofessional Scholars of Early Intervention). Project RISE is helping recruit racially diverse graduate students in education and allied health programs with the goal of addressing staff shortages and diversifying the workforce. It also gives those students the ability to work in the field while completing their degree.
A major grant allowed Nazareth College and the Migrant Ministry of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester to collaborate on serving migrant farmworkers and their families. Thanks to frank conversations with community members about their needs, Nazareth’s School of Health & Human Services developed a suite of educational, therapeutic, and wellness services for the migrant community.
Kristina M. Blaiser, PhD, CCC-SLP, Idaho State University–Meridian
Donna Smiley, PhD, CCC-A, Arkansas Children’s Hospital
An interprofessional practice (IPP) team worked together to assess hearing loss and language skills in a 2-year-old child. The team recommended a cochlear implant and a plan of therapy for language development and listening skills. As a result, the child’s expressive vocabulary began showing steady growth.
Amy Costanza-Smith, PhD, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland Oregon
The parents of a 6-year-old girl with Down syndrome consulted an IPP team to get help with their daughter’s communication skills. The IPP team evaluated the girl, made recommendations, and helped the family purchase an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device to use at home. After 4 months, the family reported that the device was helping with communication.
Amanda Hitchins, MS, CCC-SLP, Center for Community Based Education and Rehabilitation, Aru, Democratic Republic of the Congo
When visiting a village school and outpatient rehabilitation clinic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a team of professionals from the United States worked with their local counterparts to provide training and help patients. One patient was a 6-year-old boy with a complaint of severely reduced expressive language. The team – comprising both US and DRC medical professionals – worked together to create an assessment and treatment plan for the boy. They also provided education and strategies to the boy’s mother.
Rosemarie Griffin, CCC/SLP, BCBA, ABA Speech LLC, Snellville, Georgia
Hank is a sixth grade student with autism who recently moved back to the United States. He has difficulty communicating and feeding himself, and he is not toilet trained. A team of professionals at Hank’s school created a plan focused on helping him improve his communication with others over the course of the school year. After 1 year, Hank is speaking and interacting more fully in the classroom.
Craig Coleman, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-F (SIG 4), Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia
An interprofessional team collaborated with the parents of a 10-year-old boy struggling with moderate-to-severe stuttering. By applying their expertise to group therapy, individual therapy, and family counseling services, the team members helped the boy and his family successfully manage his stuttering and enjoy better communication. After 6 months, formal assessments indicated improvement in the student’s reaction to his own stuttering and increased interaction in classroom and social settings.
Sue Grogan-Johnson, PhD, CCC/SLP, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
William Bolden III, MA, CCC-SLP, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Patty is a 10-year-old student with a seizure disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), receptive and expressive language impairment, and below-average cognitive functioning. A team of professionals at Patty’s school created a plan to help Patty improve her daily communication and social interaction with speech-language therapy telepractice services and a speech-generating device (SGD). Patty now uses the SGD to participate more fully in the classroom and continues work on her communication at home.
Catherine M. Constable, PhD, CCC-SLP, The Rye Learning Center, New York, New York
A team of education professionals collaborated across specialties to help a 7½-year-old boy with cerebral palsy improve his communication skills. By bringing in expertise from a local university’s speech and hearing center, the team was able to understand the student’s educational needs and develop an individualized education program (IEP) to address them. After 6 months of working with the team members, the boy could respond with 80% accuracy to familiar questions using his new Dynavox.