In partnership with the University of Southern California, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (USC-UCEDD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), Guam CEDDERS facilitated a four-day interdisciplinary training conducted by three CHLA consultants: Irina Zamora, Psy.D., Shelby Surfas, OTD, and C. Blake French, M.S., CCC-SLP. Thirty early intervention and preschool providers from the Guam Department of Education and Department of Public Health and Social Services attended the four-day training on December 4-7 at the University of Guam School of Business Building Room 129. The purpose for the training was to build capacity of early interventionists (EI) on the early identification and delivery of services for young children with developmental delays. The interdisciplinary training curriculum was designed to increase the knowledge of EI providers in the following topical areas: 1) social-emotional development of young children; 2) language development of children with disabilities; 3) strategies to address language delays in young children; red flags for autism; 4) partnering with parents when providing early intervention services; 5) sensory differences in young children; 6) feeding challenges and feeding therapy; and 7) understanding and addressing the impact of trauma in children with disabilities. The training curriculum was delivered within the Guam EI program’s coaching model and framework for implementation and sustainability, which included “live practice” of the strategies reviewed with young children and their families. In addition, the CHLA consultants facilitated an evening dialogue session with nine parents of children with developmental delays. The session, “Supporting Your Child in Early Intervention,” provided an opportunity for parents to share their successes, challenges, and to ask questions of other parents and the CHLA consultants. At the end, one parent remarked how she learned so much from listening to other parents share their stories.
Guam CEDDERS’ June De Leon facilitated the on-site consultation, from November 27 to December 1, in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Pohnpei State, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The focus of the on-site consultation was to support FSM’s efforts to improve educational results for students with ASD. Irina Zamora, Psy.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and Ms. De Leon conducted the on-site consultation, which included classroom and home visits, and parent and school personnel sessions.
The classroom and home visits were opportunities to learn from family members and school personnel on the needs of children with ASD in the FSM. The two 2-hour parent sessions, attended by 32 family members and service providers of children with ASD, included an overview of ASD and dialogue on the “what and why” of ASD. At the end, family members shared that the behavioral strategies, such as calming techniques, visual supports, and schedules were helpful to them in supporting their child with ASD.
The two-day school personnel session was attended by 50 service providers from Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Yap. The session, “Working with Children with ASD: Early Identification and Intervention,” incorporated the needs observed and discussed during the school and home visits conducted earlier in the week. Similar to the parent sessions, the school personnel session included the “what and why” of ASD and strategies to support children with ASD in school. At the end, school personnel reported that they will be able to use the behavioral and sensory strategies, visual supports, and schedules in their classroom to support children with ASD.
In partnership with the University of Southern California, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (USC-UCEDD) and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), Guam CEDDERS facilitated the continuation of the comprehensive autism assessment training to build the capacity of Guam Department of Education (GDOE) providers to identify and assess children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms. November 13-17 marked the third and last on-site visit conducted by Irina Zamora, Psy.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine, USC, to work with GDOE’s Cohort #2 comprised of 11 early intervention and special education personnel. The third visit continued with the training on the administration, scoring, and interpretation of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition (ADOS-2). With assistance from GDOE’s Cohort #1 members, Dr. Zamora provided additional practice activities in preparation for Cohort #2 members completing the Western Psychological Services (WPS) ADOS-2 certification examination. In 2016, GDOE’s Cohort #1, comprised of five early intervention and special education personnel, completed all training requirements, including passing the WPS ADOS-2 certification examination.