The mission of the Munroe-Meyer Guild is to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities through fundraising for the UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute. The major fundraiser for the Guild has been the annual garden walk held the second Sunday of June. The funds that are generated through the Garden Walk are used to help fund programs at the Institute that might otherwise go unfulfilled.
1. Speech and Language-Use of Early Intervention Coaching Model to Increase Child Communication Skills--$4,050
Children communicate most readily and frequently with their parents/guardians, as these individual know their children best. However, traditional speech-language intervention for children with language delays and impairments is often clinician-led with caregivers taking on a "watch and listen" role. This limits the impact of the intervention, as many teaching moments occur outside of the therapy environment and there are fewer opportunities provided in a short therapy session. Speech pathologists demonstrate techniques a use to help improve their child's speech and language during their child's therapy session, but are often not guided through the process to ensure they are doing it accurately. This project developed a dedicated caregiver training program to offer training specifically to caregivers to help them learn to use techniques to support their child's speech and language development and help build them into their daily routine. Caregivers learned to follow their child's lead, match communication time, encourage turn taking, expand language, extend the topic, and adapt the home environment for enriched play and language-based interactions.. Children birth to five years of age with language delays or impairments and their families session, and home programming activities, to increase caregiver knowledge and involvement in their child's language learning and to help generalize these learned skills into the home and community settings.
2. Physical Therapy--Safe Transport Clinic and Equipment Closet for Children with Special Health Needs-$32,000
Safe transportation of children in vehicles is regulated by law. Guidelines mandate the types of conventional (of the shelf) seating or restraint systems that are required according to a child's weight and height as well a family's vehicle type. Even with explicit guidelines, care seat "misuse" is reportedly as high as 74-90%. For parents of children with developmental needs, the task of selecting purchasing and implementing proper vehicle restraints complicated. Such children rarely "fit" legal guideline criteria or are safe in conventional equipment. Differences in tone, strength, alignment, cardio-respiratory status, and/or body size are factors which complicate equipment choice. Expertise of "special needs" car safety seat for children or young adults with special health or developmental needs. Two MMI physical therapists are certified as both "basic" and "special needs" child passenger safety technicians. This team has the technical expertise to evaluate transportation needs, recommend restraint systems, and train families in appropriate use. However, no trial or loaner equipment is currently available. This project:1) established a "Safe Transport Car seat" Clinic for children with special needs: 2) equiped the clinic team with items needed to develop a specials needs care seat equipment" closet."A "closet" assures equipment fit and function is appropriate prior to purchase: 3) allocated staff time for program development and marketing: and 4) built capacity for community outreach events to monitor special needs care seat/restraint use, fit and function.
3. Occupational Therapy-- MMI OpPOURtunity BREW--$22,000
MMI Occupational Therapy collaborated with the UNMC/NE Medicine Project SEARCH staff to establish a mobile coffee cart at MMI. MMI OpPOURtunity Brew provides adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities a venue in which to learn how to take customer's order, make hot and cold espresso drinks, work a retail point of sale (POS) system, learn and practice workplace cleanliness, and practice safe food handling processes consistent with those in licensed establishments. Baked goods, prepared by another intern in the MMI kitchen,were added to our menu.
4. MMI Speech Language Pathology and Occupational Therapy Departments--Assisted Technology in a Simulated Home," -$11.000This grant was used to purchase equipment that will helped children and adults use trial technology and determine if it will benefit them in their home before they purchase the equipment. We did the following:
◦ establish a simulated home with integrated and automated assistive technology (AT) controls;
◦ develop an interdisciplinary group of professional to explore and develop new AT tools; and
◦ increase opportunities for children and adults to trial and learn how to use new technology that will increase their independence to control the technology in their home.
5. MMI Education and Child Development Department--Measuring Executive Functions* for NICU Graduates,"-$2,500. We developed a pilot study on high-risk NICU graduates to examine the benefits of including the evaluation of executive functions for the high-risk children attending MMI TIPS clinic into the standard clinical assessment practice. The results will help to guide assessment practices and allow the clinical team to provide parents with developmental guidance related to the importance of executive function studies for scholarly contribution to this field of study.
*Executive functions are a set of cognitive processes that include attention control, inhibitory control, self-regulation, working memory and cognitive flexibility, as well as reasoning, problem-solving and planning.
A total of $72,000 was given to the Institute in 2017.