A UK Human Development Institute (HDI) Fund for Excellence award has been given to Jacqui Kearns, PhD, to create a set of unique online modules for speech/language pathologists, case managers, direct support workers, and program administrators, on developing communicative competence for the adults that they serve. Though many gains have been made in communicative competence for people with significant cognitive disabilities, we have learned that students who do not have a symbolic mode of communication can develop symbolic levels of expressive communication (Holman, 2011). The Teaching Age Appropriate Academic Learning via Communication (TAALC) Project* and Kentucky National Core Indicator Data suggest that the communication needs of many adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities are not being met.
The Fund for Excellence award will support the development of a set of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association-certified professional learning modules to meet the communication needs of adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who do not currently have or use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This will increase awareness and promote the availability of AAC and services for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
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*funded by the Kentucky Department of Education
The UK Human Development Institute (HDI) and the UK College of Dentistry have received a grant from the WITH Foundation, the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry, and Ability Central to create materials to enhance the dental care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). These materials will include videos and symbol sets that will improve communication and understanding for AAC users, their supporters, and dental professionals. Additionally, the materials will facilitate the use of supported decision making in dental care.
Applicants were encouraged to develop new partnerships or significantly enhance existing partnerships between disability organizations, advocates, community organizations, and healthcare providers. Laura Butler and Jacqui Kearns will represent HDI in this project that forges a new partnership between the HDI and the UK College of Dentistry.
Dr. Kathy Sheppard-Jones, Executive Director of HDI says, “This is a powerful collaboration with the potential to positively impact dental health for AAC users. The partnership shows how we can not only build capacity for success, but also bridge capacity across areas of expertise that ultimately builds stronger communities.”
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Project Contact: Laura Butler
Photo by Cristina Romano