University of Vermont

CDCI Grant Awards Presentation

Colleagues and friends gathered last Wednesday in Mann Hall auditorium to hear members of CESS’s Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI), present on two significant and important grant awards recently received by the Center.  After welcoming those in attendance, CDCI Executive Director Susan Ryan introduced first Susan Edelman, Director of Vermont Sensory Access Program (VSAP) at CDCI, and Emma Nelson, VSAP Program Coordinator, who spoke in turn about the recent $570,000 grant received by VSAP from the US Department of Education.  The five-year grant, Susan explained, is earmarked to provide monies for both technical assistance and dissemination to improve services and results for children with disabilities, as well as to support State technical assistance projects to improve services and results for children who are deafblind. 

In her remarks, Susan explained that the VSAP program has been continuously funded since 1987, and administered in collaboration with the I-Team (Vermont Interdisciplinary Team).  And that its mission is to provide expertise in dual sensory impairment (deaf-blindness) to early intervention or school teams requesting technical assistance and training.  Deaf-blindness, Susan said, while rare, afflicts nationally more than 10,000 children.  In Vermont, according to the 2012 census there were 38 children with various degrees of dual sensory impairment.  She made clear that deaf-blindness is a disability of access.  As such, Susan and Emma took turns elaborating on VSAP’s mission and work, specifically its focus on technical assistance and training for families and I-Teams, explaining that technical assistance is targeted on training teams around individual student needs, and with a parent advisory council guiding the team efforts. 

Up second, Jesse Suter, Research Assistant Professor in the Education Department, presented about a newly awarded five-year grant, VT-FACTS (Vermont Functional Assessment, Case Planning, and Treatment Services), that he and Jessica Strolin, Associate Professor of Social Work, and the PI on the grant, received from the Administration for Children and Families Children’s Bureau, a division of the Department of Health & Human Services.  Jesse explained that VT-FACTS is a program designed to promote the well being of youth in foster and out-of-home care after trauma.  The grant would provide for the implementation for universal screening and functional assessment, as well as improved referral and collaborative case planning for all youth in care.  Additionally, he said, it would make available training and education for and to service providers, to enhance their effectiveness in providing care to foster, kin, and adoptive families in need of caregiver support.  


Congratulations to Susan, Emma, and the VSAP team, and to Jessica and Jesse and VT-FACTS.