Jacqui Kearns Staff Photo

Communication Initiative for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

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.

Contact jacqueline.kearns@uky.edu to learn more.

*funded by the Kentucky Department of Education

Young man with brown hair and beard wearing a black coat and brown flannel shirt seated at a library table in front of books. Multi-colored 3D printed objects are on the table.

Eagle Scout Project Supports Alternative Communication

Nate Slack, a senior at West Jessamine High School and member of Boy Scout Troop 473 at the Nicholasville United Methodist Church, completed his Eagle Scout project by leading volunteers to print 3-D tactile symbols developed by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill – Project Core. Nate used resources provided by the Jessamine County Public Library to print these symbols that are an alternative form of communication for children who are blind. The 45 printed objects will be donated to the Human Development Institute Center for Assistive Technology Services (HDI CATS).

HDI CATS is the Assistive Technology Regional Center serving Lexington and the surrounding area. HDI CATS provides assistive technology (AT) activities in accordance with the federal Assistive Technologies Act of 1998, as amended. AT is any item or piece of equipment (both low-tech and high-tech) used to improve and/or maintain independence in the home, at work, school or play.

Nate will present his project to the Eagle Board of Review in the coming weeks. If the project is approved, he will be the 91st Eagle Scout from Troop 473. HDI CATS appreciates this extraordinary donation that will benefit the children and families that we serve.

Learn more about HDI CATS at https://hdi.uky.edu/hdicats.

HDI CATS Contact
Christina Bard-Espinosa

Latest HDI Fund for Excellence Projects: Winter 2015

We’re excited to share that in the last quarter, HDI funded the following two Fund for Excellence projects:
Dr. Dwight Irvin’s Understanding Language Environments in Community Settings in Families of Children on the Autism Spectrum and Laura Butler’s My Choice Kentucky- Exploring Supported Decision-Making in the Commonwealth. Continue reading