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SRS Deputy Secretary Gary Haulmark Visits Parsons

Monday, April 9, 2012
SRS Deputy Secretary Gary Haulmark listens to Sara Sack's presentation with Dave Lindeman

SRS Secretary Gary Haulmark listens to Dr. Sack's presentation on Assistive Technology. Dr. Lindeman was also listening.

SRS Deputy Secretary Gary Haulmark visited the Parsons State Hospital & Training Center (PSH&TC) and the Life Span Institute (LSI) at Parsons on March 30.

Jerry Rea, Ph.D., Superintendent, PSH&TC, made introductions and talked budget. The tour continued with a visit to the Special Purpose School and two of the residence cottages.

Allotted one of the three scheduled tour hours, David Lindeman, Ph.D., Director, LSI at Parsons, made introductions, provided an overview of the Parsons group's work, activities and accomplishments. The overview involved highlights of a number of projects indicating the breathe of research, training and service conducted from the Parsons LSI. Also noted is the return on investment by the Center. For every $1 invested in the Parsons Program by the University there is a $5.68 return on that investment in grants and contracts. Finally, it was reported that faculty at Parsons have working relationships with 13 other Universities.

Next on the program, Sara Sack, Ph.D., Director, Assistive Technology for Kansans (ATK), told the deputy secretary that the goal of ATK is to solve problems and increase independence, employment, education and community living through access to technology. The statewide program serves over 2,000 Kansans annually in all 105 counties. Twenty-eight, well qualified staff are located at five AT access sites (Parsons, Topeka, Wichita, Salina and Oakley and one affiliated site (Garden City). Dr. Sack focused her discussion around the program's Core Services (FY 2010-2011):

  • 382 in-depth/complex demonstrations were completed and results typified by a five-year-old girl who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Based on staff recommendations, she now has an eye gaze communication device and with supported training is able to make requests, comments and ask questions – something she has never been able to do!
  • During the same one-year period, 666 devices were loaned to Kansans. For some customers, these devices were used while their own was repaired; for others, it was a try-before-you-buy option serving to provide peace of mind, access to a more independent lifestyle and cost savings.
  • The Equipment Reuse Program accepted donations of durable medical equipment, sanitized it, refurbished as needed and gave it to Kansans who needed it, saving the State of Kansas $900, 605.00. The nationally lauded assistive technology program is recognized as an example of "Best Practices" by the United States Centers on Medicaid and Medicare.
  • 420 devices worth $1,146,906.00 were funded with a variety of public and private funding sources such as Kansas Rehabilitation Services, Kansas Medicaid, Infant Toddler Services, public education, Medicare, Veterans Affairs, private health insurance, Rural Housing Grants, Friends of Man and others. ATK also works with the Kansas AT Cooperative (KATCO) offering flexible preferred rate financial loans for AT devices and services.

Dr. Sack shared this quote from a parent: "Our daughter will continue to need support throughout her life, but because of the services that have been provided since she was small and the access to assistive technology, she will be a much more independent and productive member of society. The returns seem large compared to the relatively small funding price of the program, especially when you consider that it helps minimize or avoid other costs that would be necessary if Kansans like our daughter did not have access to the technology."

Renee' Patrick, Ph.D., talked about the Dual Diagnosis Treatment Services Outreach Program and the Autism Assessment Clinic. Dr. Patrick highlighted the statewide Outreach Program's success at helping individuals maintain community placement. The program offers staff training on behavioral interventions, training on different diagnostic and behavioral profiles and individual behavioral profiles. The program receives more than 100 referrals per year and completes approximately 85 consultations.

The Outreach Autism Assessment Clinic opened in southeast Kansas in 2009 and offers families more local access to diagnostic testing by a licensed psychologist using state of the art assessment tools, parent behavioral consultations and advocacy and referral services. The clinic has received more than 150 referrals since 2009.

Katie Hine, Ph.D. described the evidence-based staff skills training that PSH Child Care Center has in place. All teachers learn skills focused on the development of positive adult-child interactions, such as, rotation of attention to all children in the area and providing descriptive praise for good behavior. The team found that, although more gradual, staff performance of untrained skills has also improved. Dr. Hine explained that much of the success of the Family Care Project is built around the same skills taught to foster and birth parents who, in turn, are experiencing the same success with their children. Katie has good news about the Family Care Project – check for the "rest of the story" in the July issue.

After lunch, Deputy Secretary Haulmark listened to a presentation by the PSH&TC Franklin Covey Coaches describing a new way to increase supports, built on a solid foundation of existing supports and implemented by those closest to the individual resident – the cottage staff.

Jerry Rea, Ph.D., Mike Dixon, Ph.D. and Ron Malmstrom presented their work on the Sex Offender Program completing the tour.

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