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Seton Hall University Health and Medical Sciences

SHMS Awarded $1.18 Million Training Grant from U.S. Department of Education

ihs campus

The IHS campus, home to the School of Health and Medical Sciences, where graduate students from the departments of Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology will be trained as part of the $1.18 million federal grant awarded on September 26 to the School of Health and Medical Sciences.

The Departments of Occupational Therapy (OT) and Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) in the School of Health and Medical Sciences (SHMS) received a five-year training grant totaling over $1.18 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) on September 26.

“We are thrilled to announce this exciting collaboration between SHMS’ SLP and OT departments to develop curriculum and training focused on improving outcomes for school-age children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD),” said Vikram Dayalu, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Interim Dean of the School of Health and Medical Sciences.

The grant will fund “Project Transitions,” an interdisciplinary training program for forty OT and SLP graduate students who will work collaboratively during their clinical education experience with educators and school-age children with ASD and their families. Dayalu and Ruth Segal, Ph.D., OTR, Department Chair and Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy are the grant’s co-program directors.

Dayalu noted that sixty-five percent of the grant's funds will be allocated to award scholarships for tuition fees to participating SHMS students. This includes forty $20,500 scholarships for twenty OT and twenty SLP students over a five-year period.

“We’re proud to offer these generous scholarships to support SLP and OT graduate students who demonstrate a commitment to improving the lives of special needs children,” Dayalu said. He added that this is the second five-year grant awarded to the OT and SLP teams by the OSEP. “This grant speaks to the excellence, dedication, and true interprofessional collaboration of SHMS’ SLP and OT departments,” Dayalu added.

shms slp

SHMS SLP and OT students will collaborate on new curriculum and training programs to benefit school age children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The curriculum is part of a $1.18 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

The remainder of the grant’s funds will be used for curriculum development and training of the project’s OT and SLP students, who, during their clinical practicum in local school districts, will be well-equipped to observe, assess, and plan interventions to assist school-age children with ASD as they transition to multiple activities and classrooms to receive instruction throughout the school day. “Research demonstrates that interventions incorporating transition-related factors as a foundation typically result in better outcomes for students with ASD,” Segal stated.

Upon graduation, Segal said that the participating OT and SLP scholarship recipients will be required to complete a two-year service obligation working with children with special needs in a school or hospital setting, underscoring the importance of servant leadership in the wider world the graduates will be part of. “This component of the grant ensures that our students will share their newly acquired skills and resources, giving back to the communities in which they work in the years to come. It complements Seton Hall’s commitment to servant leadership,” Segal said.

The project’s Key Personnel, who will be tasked with implementing Project Transitions’ curriculum and clinical fieldwork components, include Natalie Neubauer, EdD, CCC-SLP, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate and Clinical Education; Mara Podvey, PhD, OTR, PMH-C, FAOTA, Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy; and Megan Baumley, MS SLP, Director of Clinical Education, Department of Speech-Language Pathology.

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