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Boys Town Pediatric Neuroscience Continues to Grow, Announces Rare Disease and Neurogenetics Care for Kidshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/boys-town-pediatric-neuroscience-announces-rare-disease-neurogenetic-careBoys Town Pediatric Neuroscience Continues to Grow, Announces Rare Disease and Neurogenetics Care for Kids2021-05-04T05:00:00Z<p>​Boys Town National Research Hospital is proud to announce the addition of the <a href="/services/pediatric-neuroscience/neurogenetics">Neurogenetics and Rare Disease Clinic</a> as part of Boys Town's growing Pediatric Neuroscience program to help patients and primary care doctors alike who have been searching for answers to rare medical conditions.</p><p>Boys Town Neurogenetics and Rare Disease Clinic is led by <a href="/physicians/dinesh-lulla">Dinesh Lulla, M.D.​</a>, pediatric neurologist and neurogeneticist. Dr. Lulla specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases that includes genetic epilepsies, leukodystrophy (white matter disorders of the brain), ataxia (balance disorders in children) and, a variety of different movement disorders, in addition to complicated genetic diseases and disorders that cause neurodevelopmental delays and regression in children.</p><p>In the United States, a disease is considered rare if it affects less than 200,000 people, or one in 1,500 individuals.</p><p>When asked what made him want to open the clinic, Dr. Lulla, whose calm and comforting demeanor is so reassuring to anxious patients, said, “When I was training as a general pediatric neurology resident, there were many patients with undiagnosed rare conditions. The way it impacts patients in terms of the physical burden of the disease itself, the emotional burden on the patient and the family, and the economic burden is difficult. I wanted to be an advocate for these patients in finding hope and a cure for some conditions, or just being there for them to explain a difficult diagnosis."</p><h2>A Comprehensive Clinic for Neurological Puzzles</h2><p>Treating rare diseases is often like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Clinical presentations of rare diseases are not always clear – individual symptoms may lead a patient from one specialist to another. The goal of Dr. Lulla's clinics is to provide advocacy and hope for patients who have long been looking for answers.</p><p>“Often, a child with a rare disease will have multiple organ systems involved in addition to the brain," said Dr. Lulla. “Sometimes, they are seeing multiple specialists. But what is really important for them is to have a specialist in place who zooms out and looks at the bigger picture. I don't look at the body as 'this is just the heart' or 'this is a problem with the stomach,' but I'm looking at you as a whole person and connecting the dots to find the bigger picture."</p><p>Boys Town Neurogenetics and Rare Disease Clinic provides Omaha and the surrounding regions a place where patients can receive this type of comprehensive assessment. With each new patient, Dr. Lulla conducts a comprehensive assessment that includes a thorough physical examination, any necessary lab work and a review of the patient's family history. Supporting him is a dedicated neuroscience genetic counselor who helps the patient and family through a very detailed three-generation family history. Plus, the clinic works on authorizing tests with the insurance companies, so families don't end up with unexpected bills.   </p><h2>World Class Care in Nebraska</h2><p>Boys Town Hospital is positioning itself to be the region's premier pediatric neuroscience provider. Prior to the recent founding of Boys Town Pediatric Neuroscience, Nebraska and the region have been historically underserved in this specialty.</p><p>“One thing that really got me interested in Nebraska is that it has been underserved, not only in neurogenetics but also in general child neurology care, which is my passion," said Dr. Lulla. “We want families to know that we do see rare diseases here," he said. “They don't have to travel to Colorado or Kansas City to look for an answer. We have the support team available here to help our patients go through that diagnostic journey."</p><p>Boys Town ​Neurogenetics and Rare Disease Clinic is open at the Downtown Medical Campus at 555 North 30<sup>th</sup> Street (30<sup>th</sup> and Dodge). Patients have access to the comprehensive team of pediatric neurologists and genetic specialists, as well as the neurology, neurosurgery and neurodevelopment programs that make up Boys Town Pediatric Neuroscience. </p><div class="embed-container"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KglW--X0WD0" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div>
Boys Town Hospital Announces New Surgery Clinichttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/pediatric-general-thoracic-surgery-opens-new-omaha-locationBoys Town Hospital Announces New Surgery Clinic2021-04-26T05:00:00Z<p>​Boys Town Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery has opened a new clinic at Boys Town Medical Clinics on 30<sup>th</sup> and California Street to provide greater access to general surgical care for children in eastern Omaha and southwestern Iowa. Led by pediatric surgeon Robert Cusick, M.D., the clinical team at this location is bilingual in English and Spanish. </p><p>Boys Town Pediatric General and Thoracic surgery can see new patients within days, and emergencies are seen immediately. The surgical team specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and management of conditions in the esophagus, stomach, intestine, appendix, colon, bile ducts, liver, pancreas, spleen, lungs and mediastinum and other common procedures. The team provides surgeries related to:</p><ul><li>Weight management</li><li>Cancer and tumors</li><li>Colon, rectum and bowel</li><li>Lungs and chest</li><li>Thyroid and endocrine systems</li><li>Hernias and reproductive organs</li></ul><p>“We strive to serve as a community resource," said Jason Bruce, M.D., Executive Vice President of Healthcare at Boys Town and Director of Boys Town National Research Hospital and Medical Clinics. “With more clinic locations, telemedicine visits and physician consultations, we're keeping our patients first, providing them with increased access to the care that families, physicians and providers have come to trust."</p><p>The surgical team at Boys Town Hospital also includes boa​rd-certified physician anesthesiologists, board-certified pediatric anesthesiologists and pediatric trained nurses. Should a patient need additional care, we are backed by a team of pediatric intensivists and pediatric hospitalists in our inpatient and advanced care units.</p><p>Learn more about <a href="/services/pediatric-general-thoracic-surgery">Boys Town Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery</a>. </p><h2>New Clinic Video Walkthrough<br></h2><div class="embed-container"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tUmTFArfSAY" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div>
Boys Town Names New Executive Vice President of Healthcarehttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/jason-bruce-named-executive-vice-president-healthcare-boys-townBoys Town Names New Executive Vice President of Healthcare2021-04-13T05:00:00Z<p>Boys Town is pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Bruce, M.D., as Executive Vice President of Healthcare and Director of Boys Town National Research Hospital and Clinics. </p><p>“Dr. Bruce is a trusted and compassionate physician with a long-standing commitment to service in our community," said Rod Kempkes, CEO at Boys Town. “His leadership and heart will help guide our efforts in shaping the way America cares for children, families and patients."</p><p>As interim Executive Vice President of Healthcare, Dr. Bruce was instrumental in helping the organization navigate a global pandemic while also ensuring hospital operations continued to thrive through many changes. </p><p>Dr. Bruce joined Boys Town in 2006 as a pediatrician. Throughout the last 15 years, he has held various leadership roles within Boys Town National Research Hospital, including Medical Director of Same Day Pediatrics, Pediatric Practice Leader for Boys Town Pediatrics, Associate Medical Director for Primary Care, and most recently serving as Chief Medical Officer and interim Executive Vice President and Director of Boys Town National Research Hospital. </p><p>Dr. Bruce earned his Doctor of Medicine from Creighton University in 2003. He is a current participant in the Certified Physician Executive (CPE) Program with the American Association for Physician Leadership. </p><p>He continues to be involved in the Omaha community as an active member of Metro Omaha Medical Society and volunteer for his church and his children's school and youth athletic teams. In addition, he volunteered at several professional organizations, including volunteer physician for the Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC), volunteer parenting class teacher for Essential Pregnancy Services, and committee member for Building Bright Futures – Omaha. </p>
Introducing a Ground-Breaking New Institute at Boys Town National Research Hospitalhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/new-research-institute-for-human-neuroscienceIntroducing a Ground-Breaking New Institute at Boys Town National Research Hospital2021-03-29T05:00:00Z<p>​​Boys Town National Research Hospital® is revolutionizing child and teen brain research at the new <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience">Institute for Human Neuroscience</a>, which opened in March 2021. The Institute is in a brand-new 15,000+ square foot research facility specifically built for this group of researchers and their state-of-the-art equipment. As one of the most cutting-edge neuroscience research facilities in the nation, it includes a high-performance research-grade Siemens Prisma MRI and two next-generation MEG (magnetoencephalography) systems. </p><p> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/tony-wilson">Tony Wilson, Ph.D.</a>, tapped to lead the new Institute, has also been named the Patrick E. Brookhouser Endowed Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience at Boys Town National Research Hospital.  </p><p>“One of the main reasons we came to Boys Town was the opportunity to build an incredible institute in an amazing environment. As the only site in the world with two next-generation MEG Neo systems, we'll have twice the capacity for major discoveries in pediatric neuroscience and neurotherapeutics and be able to impact the lives of children and families directly," said Wilson.</p><p>Wilson brings a team of almost 50 research scientists and staff who will work to understand how the brain changes as kids move through puberty and into young adulthood. The group will also study the impact of traumatic experiences on brain development and the brain changes associated with the emergence of psychiatric conditions like anxiety disorders, depression or schizophrenia. </p><p>The Institute of Human Neuroscience aligns directly with Boys Town's mission and growth of its Pediatric Neuroscience program. The emphasis will be on pediatric brain health and contribute directly to improved outcomes in children receiving care from our neurologists, neurosurgeons and behavioral health teams.  </p><p>For example, MEG is FDA-approved for use in identifying the focus of epileptic seizures. It creates the opportunity for neuroscience researchers to pinpoint the origin of such seizures, which can then be removed through surgery to maximize positive outcomes.</p><p>When the Institute is fully operational it will house nine to 10 different laboratories and 100 to 120 researchers, all under one roof. Each lab will focus on different sub-areas of human neuroscience using MRI, MEG and other state-of-the-art methods. Each laboratory will function independently, studying ​different disorders, different populations and different therapeutics.</p><p>“We're so excited to work in such a collaborative environment," noted Wilson. “We think it's going to give rise to a lot of​ great science that wouldn't have otherwise occurred."</p><p>“At Boys Town National Research Hospital our mission is to change the way America cares for children and families – and to do that, we've brought together the nation's best scientists to develop new and better treatments and intervention methods," said Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., Director of Boys Town Research. “Dr. Wilson and his team bring that expertise in neuroscience. What is learned in the lab will directly apply to our clinical care so that more children and families can benefit from this life-changing research."</p><div class="embed-container"> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ylxUx2KtfCU" title="YouTube video player" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div>
Tony W. Wilson, Ph.D., Named Patrick E. Brookhouser Endowed Chair in Cognitive Neurosciencehttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/tony-wilson-patrick-brookhouser-endowed-chair-cognitive-neuroscienceTony W. Wilson, Ph.D., Named Patrick E. Brookhouser Endowed Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience2021-03-28T05:00:00Z<p> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/tony-wilson">Tony W. Wilson, Ph.D.</a>, Director of the new <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience">Institute for Human Neuroscience at Boys Town National Research Hospital</a>, has been named the first recipient of the Patrick E. Brookhouser Endowed Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience. </p><p>Dr. Wilson is nationally recognized for his work utilizing neuroimaging to investigate typical and atypical brain development and use those findings to predict long-term outcomes and derive therapeutics.  He brings a team of almost 50 research scientists and staff who will work to understand how the brain changes as kids move through puberty and into young adulthood, which is obviously a period of major cognitive and emotional change.</p><p>Translating research to improve lives has been at the core of Boys Town Hospital since opening in 1977. Founding hospital director, Patrick E. Brookhouser, M.D. was a gifted physician and surgeon, and dedicated his life to being a steward of Father Flanagan's dream to help children. He was recognized across the U.S. for the ground-breaking research he initiated in the treatment and prevention of hearing loss and other communication disorders.  </p><p>“One of the unique things about holding the Brookhouser Endowed Chair is that I was fortunate enough to meet him when I first moved to Omaha", said Wilson. “Brookhouser believed that ground-breaking research wasn't enough. The findings need to be used to improve medical care and make lives better for children and families. One of the main reasons we came to Boys Town was the opportunity to build an incredible institute in an amazing environment to directly impact the lives of children and families. Boys Town has the infrastructure and a history of doing things like this and we are excited to carry on this critical mission. I think Dr. Brookhouser would have been excited about the unique opportunities that this Institute presents for pediatric brain health."</p><p>The Institute for Human Neuroscience is in a brand-new 15,000+ square foot research facility specifically built for this group of researchers and their state-of-the-art equipment. As one of the most cutting-edge neuroscience research facilities in the nation it includes a high-performance research-grade Siemens Prisma MRI and two next-generation MEG (magnetoencephalography) systems.</p>
Boys Town Leads National Research Efforts with Twice the Capacity for Major Discoveries in Pediatric Neurosciencehttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/boys-town-leads-research-efforts-in-pediatric-neuroscienceBoys Town Leads National Research Efforts with Twice the Capacity for Major Discoveries in Pediatric Neuroscience2021-03-27T05:00:00Z<p> <em>​​“As the only site in the world with two next-generation MEG Neo systems, we'll have twice the capacity for major discoveries in pediatric neuroscience and </em> <em>neurotherapeutics</em><em> and be able to directly impact the lives of children and families. Boys Town has the infrastructure and a history of doing things like this and we are excited to carry on this critical mission," said </em> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/tony-wilson"> <em>Tony Wilson, Ph.D.</em></a><em>, Director of the </em> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience"> <em>Institute for Human Neuroscience</em></a><em> and Patrick E. Brookhouser Endowed Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience. </em></p><p>MEG (magnetoencephalography) is unique in that it can see what is happening in the brain at a very fast millisecond level – meaning that it will allow researchers to image the brain at the speed of thought. With MEG, it is possible to see thoughts and sensations evolving in the brain as one processes their environment.</p><p>“In some of our MEG experiments, we show individuals a picture of a word, then we can watch the portion of their brain that controls vision activate or light up," said Wilson.  “And from there, we can watch it progress through the brain and activate different regions as the person sounds out the word, then understands the meaning of the word, and then vocalizes the word."</p><p>MEG technology uses highly sensitive magnetic sensors that are configured into a helmet to measure brain function. The helmet is comfortable, and participants are typically seated with their head within the helmet throughout the study. MEG studies are noninvasive, totally quiet, and are often a better fit for children than an MRI given the comfort factor.</p><p>An example of a practical application is for patients who have brain tumors. In the case of a brain tumor, surgery is performed to remove the tumor. But outcomes are much better if important functions such as the motor control of hands, feet and face can be accurately mapped. Further, mapping the location of the person’s language function with MEG can help ensure the patient does not have a major language deficit following the surgery. The MEG map of these essential functions is passed on to the neurosurgeon so that these parts of the brain can be spared to the extent possible during the surgery.<br></p><p>The <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience">Institute for Human Neuroscience</a> is one of the most cutting-edge neuroscience research facilities in the nation, and includes a high-performance research-grade Siemens Prisma MRI, two next-gene​ration MEG systems, a mock Prisma MRI scanner, and other state-of-the-art instruments for human neuroscience research. This technology supports the work of the research team to define normal brain development in children and identify the impact of traumatic experiences on brain development, as well as the brain changes associated with the emergence of psychiatric conditions like anxiety disorders, depression or schizophrenia.</p><h2>What is MEG (magnetoencephalography)?</h2><div class="embed-container"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2JS3wY0qAhs" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><h2>Cutting-Edge Neuroscience Technology</h2><div class="embed-container"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/x_fc4n6CwKE" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div>
Building a Center of Excellence in Neuroscience Researchhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/boys-town-builds-center-of-excellence-for-neuroscience-researchBuilding a Center of Excellence in Neuroscience Research2021-03-27T05:00:00Z<p>​​With the opening of The Institute for Human Neuroscience, Boys Town National Research Hospital is setting the pace for neuroscience research. </p><p>Unlike an already existing research center, the faculty at the Institute for Human Neuroscience had lots of input into creating this unique new workspace. They worked with the architects to make the building fit their vision for the best way to have patients and instruments all in the same spaces. Part of the plan was to develop a lab that would allow epilepsy patients to have a MEG and an MRI all in one visit. And having a research institute directly onsite means translating research to improve care can happen at a faster rate and help change the way America cares for children and families, everywhere.</p><p>“One of the main reasons we came to Boys Town was the opportunity to build an incredible institute in an amazing environment," said Wilson. “As the only site in the world with two next-generation MEG Neo systems, we'll have twice the capacity for major discoveries in pediatric neuroscience and neurotherapeutics and be able to directly impact the lives of children and families. Boys Town has the infrastructure and a history of doing things like this and we are excited to carry on this critical mission."</p><p>Also unique to this field of study is the work environment at Boys Town. When the Institute is fully operational it will house nine to ten different laboratories and between 100 to 120 researchers, all under one roof. Each of these labs will focus on different sub-areas of human neuroscience using MRI, MEG, and other state-of-the-art methods.</p><p>“All of us are different, we're experts in different things, and the niche that we know better than anything else is unique amongst all of us. We're excited to work in such a collaborative environment," noted Wilson. “We think it's going to give rise to a lot of great science that wouldn't have otherwise occurred."</p><h2>Six Neuroscience Research Labs…and Growing</h2><p>The breadth of study available from the moment the Institute opens will be impressive. With six key labs already conducting research on Boys Town campus with room to grow. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/dicon">Dynamic Imaging of Cognition & Neuromodulation (<strong>DICoN</strong>) Laboratory</a>v uses multimodal brain imaging to investigate the neural dynamics that underlie visual processing, attention and motor control in children and adults. A key goal is to determine how these brain dynamics predict cognitive performance in real time.</p><p>The primary aim of the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/brain-architecture-imaging-cognition">Brain Architecture, Imaging and Cognition (<strong>BrAIC</strong>) Laboratory</a> is to investigate the architecture of the brain and its association with cognition in health and disease, using a combination of behavioral and neuroimaging techniques. The goal is to use an integrative approach to map the brain networks that support cognitive abilities, and understand how different factors, such as age, environment and disorders, impact their interactions. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/power">Physiology of Walking & Engineering Rehabilitation (<strong>PoWER)</strong> Laboratory</a> primarily focuses on how humans process/attend to sensory information, produce motor actions and learn new motor skills. The laboratory uses a blend of MEG/EEG neuroimaging and advanced biomechanical engineering analyses. The outcomes are directed at the development of new technologies for rehabilitation and therapeutic approaches for improving the mobility of patients with developmental disabilities. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/developmental-clinical-neuroscience">Developmental Clinical Neuroscience (<strong>DCN</strong>) Laboratory</a> seeks to better understand how serious behavioral problems, particularly aggression, dev​elop and to better understand why trauma and PTSD play a large role triggering serious behavioral problem in some, but not all, youth. The lab examines changes in the brain and in endocrine function (hormones) and how those changes can lead to understanding the origins of serious behavioral problems.</p><p>The overarching goals of the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/casi">Cognitive and Sensory Imaging <span><span>(<strong>CASI</strong>)</span></span> Laboratory</a> are to understand the interactions between sensory experience and higher-order cognition such as working memory and executive function, and to characterize what these interactions look like in the brain. Current research focuses on the impact of hearing loss, and the quality and frequency of subsequent hearing interventions, on cognitive and neural development in children and adolescents.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/neurodiversity"><strong>Neurodiversity</strong> Laboratory</a> is dedicated to studying individual variability in neurocognitive development during childhood and adolescence. Development is a dynamic process that is continually modulated by one's environment and experiences. This lab uses advanced statistical modeling techniques and cutting-edge neuroimaging to explain the complex interactions between brain, behavior and environment, with the goal of producing knowledge that helps families and individuals thrive.  </p><div class="embed-container"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5DsvdsZIqeA" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div>
Physical Therapy May Hold the Key to Brain-Based Changes in Adults with Cerebral Palsyhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/physical-therapy-for-adults-with-cerebral-palsyPhysical Therapy May Hold the Key to Brain-Based Changes in Adults with Cerebral Palsy2021-03-26T05:00:00Z<p>A recent study conducted by the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/institute-human-neuroscience/power">Power of Walking & Engineering Rehabilitation (PoWER) Laboratory</a>, part of the Boys Town National Research Hospital® Institute for Human Neuroscience, used MEG (magnetoencephalography) imaging to study the brain activity of people with cerebral palsy to sensations applied to the leg.  </p><p>“This study measures what happens as individuals move into adulthood, which is a critical window that changes their mobility and motor actions," said <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/max-kurz">Max Kurz, Ph.D.</a>, director of the PoWER Laboratory. “What we've found is that when those sensations are applied, the brain is not as active as it is for the general population."</p><p>As people age, they do not register sensations as acutely as when they were younger. This study finds that the population with cerebral palsy has an accelerated downward trajectory in their nervous system. Essentially, people with cerebral palsy have nervous systems that age faster. </p><p>That can have detrimental effects on the lives of patients with cerebral palsy since even everyday activities like the ability to button a shirt or brush their teeth can become difficult.</p><p>“So, we've identified these deficits," said Kurz. “Now the question is how we alter them? How can we make the decline not so steep so that it becomes more normalized and maybe their nervous system doesn't age as fast?" </p><p>Currently, the PoWER lab uses physical therapy for patients with cerebral palsy to keep sensations flowing to the brain, improving the brain's flexibility and maintaining its ability to register sensations. </p><p>For example, if you sit in a chair all day long, your muscle tone diminishes. If people with cerebral palsy move less as they enter adulthood, their brain loses tactile acuity, which makes registering sensations even more difficult. The effects of this loss can be spiraling. The less confident a person is in their ability to read sensations, the less likely they are to move and the more out-of-practice the brain becomes at interpreting the signals it does get.</p><p>“We've done a small study which is physical therapy-based. And what we're seeing is that the brain's reactivity and registry of sensations is improved," said Kurz. “ We're looking to start a larger clinical research project soon that will champion the use of physical therapy. We hope to understand the key ingredients for making these brain-based changes."</p><p>For more information about the study just published, visit: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1113/JP280400" target="_blank">https://doi.org/10.1113/JP280400</a></p>
Boys Town National Research Hospital & Rush University Medical Center Receive a Shared NIH Research Granthttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/nih-research-grant-awarded-to-boys-town-rush-universityBoys Town National Research Hospital & Rush University Medical Center Receive a Shared NIH Research Grant2021-03-18T05:00:00Z<p>​Anyone who has ever spent time in a highly interactive school environment knows how noisy all that input and feedback can be.  </p><p>That's why researchers <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/katherine-gordon">Katherine Gordon, Ph.D.</a>, Research Scientist in the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning at Boys Town National Research Hospital®, and Tina Grieco-Calub, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center, are studying how constant noise affects children's ability to learn and retain new words. This work is being funded by a grant through the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).</p><div style="width:500px;margin:0px auto;display:table;"><div style="display:table-row;text-align:center;"> <span style="display:table-cell;"><img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/Gordon-Katherine.jpg" alt="" style="border-radius:8px;width:200px;" /></span><span style="display:table-cell;"><img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/GriecoCalub-Tina.jpg" alt="" style="border-radius:8px;width:200px;" /></span></div><div style="display:table-row;text-align:center;"><p style="display:table-cell;text-align:center;">Katherine Gordon, Ph.D.</p><p style="display:table-cell;text-align:center;"> Tina Grieco-Calub, Ph.D.</p></div></div><h2>A New Focus Brings New Collaboration</h2><p>Boys Town Hospital has been a leader in childhood hearing research since its inception in 1977. In recent years, interdisciplinary research questions on the relation between hearing and language arose. As a result, a team of language researchers was assembled to complement the team of hearing researchers, leading to many collaborative projects. </p><p>“In 2017, Boys Town National Research Hospital began building a program devoted to research in language science. Dr. Gordon was our first hire, and she continues to be an essential part of that program. Her newly funded project with Dr. Grieco-Calub marries our more recent focus on language with our traditional focus on hearing. I can't imagine a better team for advancing our understanding of the effect of noise on children's language learning," explained <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/karla-mcgregor">Karla McGregor, Ph.D.</a>, and Director at the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning at Boys Town Hospital.</p><p>The two researchers were introduced by Lori Leibold, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Hearing Research at Boys Town Hospital, who felt that their unique sets of skills would work well together. </p><p>“After learning of their research interests, I told both that I thought they should meet. Dr. Grieco-Calub visited Boys Town National Research Hospital in person and we set up a meeting between Katie [Dr. Gordon] and Tina [Dr. Grieco-Calub]. The rest is history," recalls Leibold. Leibold serves as a consultant on the grant.</p><h2> Language and Noise</h2><p>Language learning is an established field, but for years it has not included the noise component. Research has been primarily conducted in quiet settings. On the other side is hearing science, which has mostly focused on how people perceive words they already know, not how they learn new words in noisy environments. Both fields have gaps in knowledge, and Gordon and Grieco-Calub are targeting those gaps together to figure out how children learn new words in noisy environments.  </p><h2> Noise and Environment</h2><p>Different types of environments contain different types of background noise. This grant will allow Boys Town Hospital and Rush University Medical Center to look at how those different types and intensities of noise affect word learning. For example, in a classroom, there might be a fan running and kids talking in the background; right now, the effects of these factors on new language acquisition are unknown. </p><p>Children live, play and learn in environments that are often noisy. To understand language development, it is essential to understand how children learn language in different types of noise. Furthermore, there are some children who may particularly struggle with learning language in noise, such as children who are hard-of-hearing and children with language disorders. This study's long-term goal is to determine factors that can be changed to support word learning in the typical classroom environment. This should benefit all children, but especially benefit children who are strongly affected by the noise in their environments. </p><p>For more information on the study parameters, see <a href="https://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?aid=10052623&icde=53119606&ddparam=&ddvalue=&ddsub=&cr=2&csb=default&cs=ASC&pball=" target="_blank">Effects of background noise on word learning in preschool-age children</a>. As this study progresses, watch for Boys Town Hospital and Rush University Medical Center to publish additional updates. </p>
Do You Run Down the Mountain or Descend? That All Depends on Your Native Language!https://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/run-down-mountain-or-descendDo You Run Down the Mountain or Descend? That All Depends on Your Native Language!2021-03-18T05:00:00Z<p>​Have you ever wondered why a foreign language may sound “wrong" when you've translated it into English?  It's because that language may express certain parts of speech differently. Different groups of languages use verbs to express different aspects of motion, and the people who speak these different languages <span style="text-decoration:underline;">expect</span> to hear motion described in a certain way. </p><p> <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/SamanthaEmersonLecture.png" alt="Samantha Emerson Lecture" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin:5px;width:285px;height:445px;" />Samantha Emerson, Ph.D., conducted a study focused on what listeners' expectations were for the expression of motion. For example, what does an English speaker expect to hear, versus what a Spanish speaker expects to hear, when discussing someone headed down the mountain? </p><p>An English speaker expects the manner of the motion (or how the motion verb is carried out) to be included in the verb or come first, hence, the phrase “run down the mountain." 'Run' describes how the subject is moving (the manner), and 'down' describes where the subject is moving (or, the path of the verb). A Spanish speaker, on the other hand, expects the path to be the important part; therefore, a phrase like “descend the mountain running" is used.  'Descend' tells us where the subject is going (the path), and 'running' tells us how the subject is moving (the manner).</p><p>“The important thing about this paper is it's the first one to show that not only do we talk about motion differently, but it effects the way we <span style="text-decoration:underline;">think</span> about motion, even though physical motions happen the same way regardless," noted Emerson, who is now a researcher at the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning at Boys Town National Research Hospital®. </p><p>The answers to these questions are important. The findings from this research could eventually help those trying to learn a second language. It could also assist people with developmental language disorder in understanding patterns beyond the basic rules of grammar in their native language. </p><p>“They tell us something about learning a new language," said Emerson. “Learning to speak a language fluently involves more than just the rules of grammar. This (study) provides a neural basis for observations about how we prefer to talk about motion, but also affects how easy it is to process other people's speech."</p><p>Learn how the researchers created this <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028393220303109" target="_blank">fascinating study</a>.</p>
Lockdowns Increase Insomnia and Jeopardize Mental Healthhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/research-lockdowns-insomnia-mental-healthLockdowns Increase Insomnia and Jeopardize Mental Health2021-03-10T06:00:00Z<p>At the end of March 2020, more than 1.3 billion people in India entered a stringent 21-day lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. </p><p> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/sahil-bajaj">Sahil Bajaj, Ph.D.</a>, Director of the Multimodal Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory (MCNL) at the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/neurobehavioral">Center for Neurobehavioral Research</a> at Boys Town National Research Hospital®, saw the need to quickly study how this would affect Indian residents' sleep health and how that could relate to millions of people across the world who were experiencing the same lockdown conditions.</p><p>The study looked at gender, age, income level and how worried respondents were about becoming ill using a Worry Scale, a Sleep-Quality Scale, and a Depression Symptom Scale. Residents completed the scales only during the weeks of lockdown. </p><p>A hefty 53% of respondents rated themselves as having low to severe insomnia during the COVID-19 lockdown.</p><p>Bajaj and his team wanted to make sure the insomnia was related to the COVID-19 pandemic and wasn't simply a pre- existing condition. The researchers considered that typically, 18.6% of the population suffers from insomnia, meaning that 34% of the insomnia reported could be directly related to the COVID-19 lockdown.</p><p>“People get worried. Worry leads to insomnia. Insomnia leads to depression. Our conclusion was if we can improve people's sleep during this pandemic situation, then that can lead to better mental health and less depression," said Bajaj.</p><p>Unfortunately, sleep studies tied to the pandemic have received little attention. </p><p>“It is very difficult to treat depression, so it's better if people understand that poor sleep and depression are related to each other," noted Bajaj. “The more we can raise awareness of this relationship, the more likely we are to create a positive impact on mental health during the pandemic."</p><p> <em>To find out which groups of people suffered the most insomnia, click the link below and read Dr. Bajaj's complete study.</em></p><p> <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0243527" target="_blank">https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0243527</a></p>
Boys Town Physicians Voted Best Doctors in Americahttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/best-doctors-in-americaBoys Town Physicians Voted Best Doctors in America2021-02-25T06:00:00Z<p>Every year, Omaha Magazine releases a list of the Best Doctors in America®. This list includes the nation's most respected specialists and outstanding primary care physicians. Boys Town National Research Hospital is honored to have 37 physicians and community partners make the 2021 list.</p><p>“As Boys Town Hospital continues to grow, we strive to be a community resource that can provide life-changing care to the Omaha-area and surrounding communities," said Jason Bruce, M.D., Boys Town Chief Medical Officer and Interim Executive Vice President and Hospital Director. “Having these physicians recognized by their peers endorses our belief that the best physicians and the best care are available right here at Boys Town."</p><p>Congratulations to all the physicians recognized as Best Doctors in America! Thank you for providing life-changing care for our patients and families.</p><h2> <a href="/services/allergy-asthma-immunology">Allergy, Asthma and Immunology</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/kevin-murphy"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/MurphyKevin.jpg" alt="Kevin R. Murphy, M.D." /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Kevin R. Murphy, M.D.</span></span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/DoeJane.jpg" alt="Nicki Nair, M.D." /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Nicki Nair, M.D.</span></span></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/internal-medicine">Internal Medicine</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/ariana-bauer"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/BauerAriana.jpg" alt="Ariana Bauer, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Ariana Bauer, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/jeremiah-gums"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/GumsJeremiah.jpg" alt="Jeremiah Gums, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Jeremiah Gums, M.D.</span></span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/DoeJane.jpg" alt="Emily Hill-Bowman, M.D." /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Emily Hill-Bowman, M.D.</span></span></div> <div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/lilli-mauer"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/MauerLilli.jpg" alt="Lilli K. Mauer, M.D., M.Sc." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Lilli K. Mauer, M.D., M.Sc.</span></span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/lauren-nelson"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/NelsonLaura.jpg" alt="Lauren Nelson, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Lauren Nelson, M.D.</span></span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/robert-schwab"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/SchwabRobert.jpg" alt="Robert J. Schwab, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Robert J. Schwab, M.D.</span></span></a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/pediatric-neuroscience/neurology">Neurology</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/deepak-madhavan"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/MadhavanDeepak.jpg" alt="Deepak Madhavan, M.D., MBA" /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Deepak Madhavan, M.D., MBA</span></span></a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/orthopaedics-sports-medicine">Orthopaedics</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/thomas-connolly"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/ConnollyThomas.jpg" alt="Thomas J. Connolly, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Thomas J. Connolly, M.D.</span></span></a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/ear-nose-throat-institute">Otolaryngology</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/jane-emanuel"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/EmanuelJane.jpg" alt="Jane M. Emanuel, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Jane M. Emanuel, M.D.</span></span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/elizabeth-kelly"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/KellyElizabeth.jpg" alt="Elizabeth A. Kelly, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Elizabeth A. Kelly, M.D.</span></span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/w-derek-leight"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/LeightDerek.jpg" alt="W. Derek Leight, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">W. Derek Leight, M.D.</span></span></a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/allergy-asthma-immunology">Pediatric Allergy Immunology</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/DoeJohn.jpg" alt="Brian Kelly, M.D." /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Brian Kelly, M.D.</span></span></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/anesthesiology">Pediatric Anesthesiology</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/denise-drvol"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/DrvolDenise.jpg" alt="Denise M. Drvol, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Denise M. Drvol, M.D.</span></span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/jane-kugler"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/kugler-jane.jpg" alt="Jane A. Kugler, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Jane A. Kugler, M.D.</span></span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/travis-teetor"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/TeetorTravis.jpg" alt="Travis Teetor, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Travis Teetor, M.D.</span></span></a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/hospital-care/pediatric-intensive-care-unit">Pediatric Critical Care</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/mohan-mysore"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/MysoreMohan.jpg" alt="Mohan Mysore, M.D., FAAP, FCCM" /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Mohan Mysore, M.D., FAAP, FCCM</span></span></a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/pediatric-general-thoracic-surgery/thyroid-clinic">Pediatric Endocrinology</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/kevin-corley"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/Corley_Kevin_MD.jpg" alt="Kevin P. Corley, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Kevin P. Corley, M.D.</span></span></a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/pediatric-gastroenterology">Pediatric Gastroenterology</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/sharad-kunnath"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/KunnathSharad.jpg" alt="Sharad Kunnath, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Sharad Kunnath, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/anna-trauernicht"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/TrauernichtAnna.jpg" alt="Anna Trauernicht, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Anna Trauernicht, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/jon-vanderhoof"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/VanderhoofJon.jpg" alt="Jon A. Vanderhoof, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Jon A. Vanderhoof, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/pediatric-general-thoracic-surgery">Pediatric General Surgery</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/shahab-abdessalam"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/AbdessalamShahab.jpg" alt="Shahab F. Abdessalam, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Shahab F. Abdessalam, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/robert-cusick"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/CusickRobert.jpg" alt="Robert A. Cusick, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Robert A. Cusick, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/stephen-raynor"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/RaynorStephen.jpg" alt="Stephen C. Raynor, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Stephen C. Raynor, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/pediatric-ophthalmology">Pediatric Ophthalmology</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/andrew-troia"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/TroiaAndrew.jpg" alt="Andrew Troia, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Andrew Troia, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/robert-troia"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/TroiaRobert.jpg" alt="Robert Troia, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Robert Troia, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/sebastian-troia"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/TroiaSebastian.jpg" alt="Sebastian Troia, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Sebastian Troia, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/behavioral-health/child-adolescent-psychiatry">Pediatric Psychiatry</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/nicholas-basalay"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/Basaly%2c%20Nicholas%20MD.jpg" alt="Nicholas P. Basalay, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Nicholas P. Basalay, M.D.</span></span></a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/pediatric-rheumatology">Pediatric Rheumatology</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/adam-reinhardt"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/ReinhardtAdam.jpg" alt="Adam Reinhardt, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Adam Reinhardt, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div></div><h2> <a href="/services/pediatrics">Pediatric General</a><br></h2>​ <div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/kent-amstutz"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/AmstutzKent.jpg" alt="Kent R. Amstutz, D.O." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Kent R. Amstutz, D.O.</span></span>​</a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/michael-dawson"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/DawsonMichael.jpg" alt="Michael G. Dawson, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Michael G. Dawson, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/mark-domet"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/DometMark.jpg" alt="Mark J. Domet, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Mark J. Domet, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/charles-sprague"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/SpragueCharles.jpg" alt="Charles J. Sprague, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Charles J. Sprague, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/debra-whaley"><img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/WhaleyDebra.jpg" alt="Debra K. Whaley, M.D." /><span class="is-block"><span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Debra K. Whaley, M.D.</span></span>​</a></div></div><h2>Community Partners</h2><ul><li>​Jason Miller, M.D., DMD, FACS</li><li>Mark Puccioni, M.D., FAANS</li></ul> <br> <p>Great doctors thrive in great environments. We are grateful for ALL of our physicians and medical staff for continuing to be on the front lines providing care for patients throughout this unique time.</p>
Remembering a Visionary, Dr. Pat Stelmachowiczhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/remembering-pat-stelmachowicz-endowment-fundRemembering a Visionary, Dr. Pat Stelmachowicz2021-02-09T06:00:00Z<p>​​​​A leader, visionary and scholar in audiology research, Pat Stelmachowcz, Ph.D., will be remembered for her contributions to the field and their translational impact that improved the lives of so many with hearing loss.  </p><p>Pat passed away in January 2021. Her husband and research colleague, Michael Gorga, Ph.D., has established the <strong>Pat Stelmachowicz Audiology/Hearing Research Endowed Fund</strong> to help continue the legacy of Boys Town's nationally recognized translational hearing research. Contributions made in memory of Pat will with designated to the Fund. <a href="https://support.boystown.org/site/Donation2?df_id=2421&mfc_pref=T&2421.donation=form1&s_src=web&s_subsrc=pat_s" target="_blank">Click here to donate</a>.<br></p><p>Pat began her Boys Town career in 1980. From 1994 until her retirement in 2014, Pat served as Director of Audiology & Vestibular Services. Her work fundamentally changed pediatric hearing aid research, clinical practice, and the design of hearing aids.</p><p>Although she retired from Boys Town in 2014, her legacy lives on through the important clinical and research programs she led in pediatric audiology. Serving as Director of Audiology & Vestibular Services for 20 years, Pat made many contributions to Boys Town Hospital, including her early mentorship of Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., current Director of Research, who started as an audiology intern.</p><p>“Dr. Pat Stelmachowicz was an internationally recognized leader in the field of pediatric audiology. Her research provided an important foundation for how audiologists fit hearing aids for infants and young children today," said Ryan.“She was an outstanding mentor to many audiologists and scientists and built theBoys Town audiology program into one of the best in the nation.  Pat will be greatly missed."</p><p>As a renowned researcher in her field, Pat had close collaborations with many national and international scientists working in the field of audiology research. She served as a mentor for many of the current leaders in pediatric audiology research who work across the United States.</p><p>Pat was recognized nationwide for her groundbreaking research, having received the  D​istinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Iowa and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 6th International Phonak Sound Foundations Conference in 2013; and in 2015, she was honored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) with the Honors of the Association award, which is the highest career achievement award bestowed by the organization. Pat was also a nominee for the 2013 Kleffner Lifeti​me Clinical Career Award by the Nebraska Speech Language and Hearing Association.</p><h2>Continuing Her Legacy – Research Endowed Fund</h2><p>Pat Stelmachowicz Audiology/Hearing Research Endowed Fund has been established to support translational hearing research at Boys Town. Donations in Pat Stelmachowicz's memory can be given in two ways:</p><ol><li>Mail check or cash to:<br> Boys Town<br> Attention: Pat Stelmachowicz Memorial<br> PO Box 8000<br> Boys Town, NE 68010</li> <br> <li> <a href="https://support.boystown.org/site/Donation2?df_id=2421&mfc_pref=T&2421.donation=form1&s_src=web&s_subsrc=pat_s" target="_blank">Click here to donate.</a> Contributions designated in memory of Pat will be allocated to the Pat Stelmachowicz Audiology/Hearing Research Endowed Fund</li></ol>
$35,000 Research Grant Awarded to Boys Town Hospital Audiologistshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/research-grant-awarded-to-boys-town-audiologists$35,000 Research Grant Awarded to Boys Town Hospital Audiologists2021-02-05T06:00:00Z<p>A team of research and clinical audiologists at Boys Town National Research Hospital<sup>®</sup> was recently awarded a $35,000 Researcher-Practitioner Collaboration Grant from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation (ASHFoundation).</p><p>The grant money is being used to improve high-frequency auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing. This test is important for identifying and measuring levels of hearing in individuals who are unable to provide reliable behavioral responses to sound, such as infants, very young children and individuals with significant developmental delays. At the time ABR testing was first being evaluated for clinical application, it was thought that high frequencies were not critical for speech understanding. However, more recent research suggests otherwise.</p><p>According to <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/hearing-speech-perception/human-auditory-development/team">Heather Porter, Ph.D.</a>, the study's co-investigator and a research associate, this research has the potential to improve the diagnosis of high-frequency hearing loss, which can be directly applied to hearing aid programming at high frequencies. Jan Kaminski, the study's other co-investigator and coordinator of Boys Town Hospital's Clinical Sensory Physiology Laboratory, was part of the Boys Town team who originally evaluated ABR testing for widespread clinical implementation. She understands first-hand the widespread impact that researcher-clinician collaborations can have on patient care.</p><p>“Our objective is to overcome obstacles to clinical implementation of ABR testing at high frequencies because we now know that high-frequency audibility is important for hearing in daily life," explained Dr. Porter. “A large body of evidence now shows that high-frequency information contributes to successful speech understanding, sound localization and listening in background noise. Many of these important findings came from hearing research done at Boys Town by our former Director of Audiology, Dr. Patricia Stelmachowicz." </p><p>The research is expected to have direct clinical application wherever ABR testing is performed. That is one of the primary reasons the grant was awarded to Boys Town. The ASHFoundation encourages collaborations between researchers and practitioners to increase knowledge that will improve and enhance the care provided to individuals with communication disorders. </p><p>“We are proud to continue the tradition of leadership in translational research established at Boys Town National Research Hospital by those that came before us," Dr. Porter said. “This study would not be possible if not for their example, research findings and development of the infrastructure to support this kind of collaborative translational research." </p><p>In addition to Dr. Porter and co-investigator Jan Kaminski, the research team includes clinical experts in ABR assessment, Drs. Anastasia Grindle, Brenda Hoover, Ashley Kaufman, Natalie Lenzen, Haley McTee and Susan Stangl. The team embraces participation of current audiology trainees Christina Dubas and Abigail Petty, as student involvement is an important investment in inspiring future generations to support translational research to advance evidence-based care for individuals with communication disorders.  </p>
Retrieval-Based and Spaced Learning: Two Strategies to Support Word Learninghttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/retrieval-based-and-space-learning-language-disordersRetrieval-Based and Spaced Learning: Two Strategies to Support Word Learning2021-02-02T06:00:00Z<p>​​Sometimes, tried-and-true teaching methods are just that – effective and for good reason. However, in the past that reason may not itself have been tested. That's why the new article: “The Advantages of Retrieval-Based and Spaced Practice: Implications for Word Learning in Clinical and Educational Contexts," is so significant.</p><p>In this article, Katherine Gordon, Ph.D., Director of the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/speech-language/language-learning-memory">Language Learning and Memory Laboratory</a> at Boys Town National Research Hospital®, has taken the outcomes of dozens of research studies with individuals who have language disorders and synthesized them to make a case for two of the oldest teaching methods and their use in classroom education. </p><p>Retrieval-based practice and spaced practice are effective learning strategies for children and adults with typical development. However, students who know fewer words can struggle to understand classroom content and miss out on a lot of important information. This is especially the case for students with language disorders, including students with developmental language disorder (DLD). </p><p>A key question of Dr. Gordon's review is whether proven teaching methods support vocabulary learning in children with language disorders. The answer to this question is “yes." </p><p>An essential part of the solution is to use teaching strategies that help children learn words during the lesson and remember the words long-term. Without this, educators are pouring water into a leaky bucket. Children may show good learning in the moment but quickly forget the words once the lesson is over.  </p><h2>Tried-and-True: Testing and Flash Cards</h2><p>During retrieval-based learning, the teacher asks the student to retrieve something that they learned previously from memory. However, this strategy does not need to use formal testing to be effective. Retrieval-based learning can occur anytime a teacher asks a student a question about key information. </p><p>Learning with flashcards is a common and familiar form of retrieval-based learning. The teacher is not just testing the student's knowledge of the information, but also supporting the student's ability to learn the information. By actively trying to remember the key information during a lesson, the student is more likely to remember that information when the lesson is over. </p><p>In the research reviewed by Dr. Gordon, it became apparent that word learning is achieved most effectively through effortful retrieval (testing) instead of passive listening for students with language disorders.  </p><h2>Key Components of Retrieval-Based Learning</h2><p>The literature reviewed by Dr. Gordon showed that retrieval-based learning benefitted adults and children with language disorders and promoted better learning and retention of the material over time. Most of the retrieval-based learning articles Dr. Gordon reviewed shared three key components. </p><h3>1. Opportunity for Effortful Retrieval of the Material Early in the Learning Session</h3><p>Learners do not like to be asked to remember information they've only heard a few times. </p><p>When teaching vocabulary to individuals with language disorders it seems logical to present the key words many times before asking the student about it. However, testing the student's memory for words early in the learning session produces better results. This may seem counterintuitive as students are likely to get the answer wrong if they are asked questions early in the lesson, however, trying to remember key information and getting an answer wrong can actually benefit learning if the student is given feedback. In general, students become more engaged and more aware of what they are getting from the lesson if they are asked questions early and often.</p><h3>2. Providing the Correct Answer Promptly and Explaining it Thoroughly </h3><p>As mentioned above, students are more likely to learn information after getting an answer wrong. They can become aware that they do not yet know the information fully and put in more effort to learn it. </p><h3>3. Providing the Learner Multiple Chances to Retrieve the Learned Information </h3><p>A vital element in this third aspect is having the learner retrieve information multiple times, even if they answered it correctly the first time. Repeated retrievals of learned words increased the chances that the information learned would be retained even after a delay.</p><h2>Cram for That Exam? Not the Best Way to Study.</h2><p>Spaced practice has been strongly shown to support learning in individuals with typical development. In her review, Dr. Gordon found that spaced practice supports word learning in individuals with language disorders. </p><p>When you think of spaced practice learning, think of your parents or junior high teachers telling you, “It's better to study it for 20 minutes every night than to cram for an hour before the test." Recent research demonstrates that they were right. </p><p>Spaced practice occurs when the same information is presented multiple times, but those presentations are spaced across time. A common example is a student studying with flashcards every day the week before an exam. In this way they introduce a space in time between each time the cards are studied. </p><p>Like retrieval-based practice, spaced practice is beneficial because it makes the student put in effort when trying to remember the key information. If a student is asked a question directly after they hear the information, it may be easy for them to remember the information. However, if asked a question after a delay, even a delay as short as 10 minutes, they must work harder to remember the information.</p><p>Educators and clinicians can introduce spaced practice during a lesson by asking about each key word at the beginning of a lesson, providing information about the key words in the middle of the lesson and then asking about each key word again at the end of a lesson. </p><p>Spaced learning can also be introduced across lessons. For example, students can be asked about words they learned yesterday or earlier in the week. Combining retrieval-based practice and spaced practice can be particularly powerful. By spacing out opportunities to retrieve information, educators can increase the likelihood that students, including students with language disorders, will remember the information long-term.</p><h2>Learning that Lasts</h2><p>To change the educational outcomes for individuals with language disorders, it is important to get past pouring water into the leaky bucket. Individuals with language disorders need to develop strong mem​ories for words that they are taught in lessons for them to be able to use those words in the classroom and in their everyday lives. </p><p>As all educators realize, meaningful word learning does not occur in one sitting. Learners need to be exposed to words repeatedly to commit them to memory. Using retrieval-based and spaced practice over repeated classes or language therapy sessions, is the best way to help students learn and remember words. Children with language disorders enrolled in therapy can receive retrieval-based and spaced practice that is more tailored to their individual needs.</p><p>For more information about how spaced and retrieval-based practice can be used to support vocabulary learning, read Dr. Gordon's full paper here: <a href="https://osf.io/nm4uj/" target="_blank">https://osf.io/nm4uj/</a></p><p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_LSHSS-19i-00001" target="_blank">https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_LSHSS-19i-00001</a><br></p><p> <strong>Dr. Gordon is continuing </strong>this research line to learn how to further optimize these learning techniques for the benefit of children with language disorders. By giving educators and clinicians the tools to support vocabulary learning that lasts, they can best support academic success for individuals with language disorders.</p>
Supporting Children with Sensory Sensitivity during COVIDhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/support-for-sensory-needs-sensitive-children-wearing-masksSupporting Children with Sensory Sensitivity during COVID2021-01-22T06:00:00Z<h2>​Boys Town Partners with Omaha Public Schools and Munroe-Meyer Institute</h2>​ <p>​​​Obscu​red mouths. Muffled voices. Concealed emotions. <a href="/knowledge-center/communication-benefits-of-clear-face-masks">Masks have challenged everyone's ability to communicate</a> with and understand others. </p><p>Most adults can overcome some of these obstacles by reading other social cues. However, for young children, especially those with communication delays or sensory-processing difficulties, masks are an unwelcome barrier when trying to express themselves and comprehend the world around them. </p><p>For students in the <a href="/services/center-for-childhood-deafness-language-learning/preschool-program">preschool program</a> at Boys Town National Research Hospital<sup>®</sup>, masks are required. Easing their discomfort and encouraging proper mask-wearing techniques require a combination of patience, understanding and positive reinforcement.  </p><p>According to Kate Kaiser, lead teacher at the preschool, staff members were pleasantly surprised to see most students were ready to wear their masks when in-person school resumed after an extended period of remote learning. Many of the preschoolers are deaf or hard of hearing, and the mask's straps can be irritating when children already have hearing aids, cochlear implant processors and eyeglass frames around their ears. Some of the children also have <a href="/knowledge-center/sensory-processing-disorder">sensory-processing disorders</a> or difficulties, making them overly sensitive to the texture, scent or pressure of face masks. These unpleasant sensations can magnify their distress and overwhelm their bodies, leading to meltdowns and mask removal. </p><p>Kaiser credits parents for teaching their little ones about the importance of masks and getting them used to wearing them. But when a child struggles or has a bad day, Kaiser and her team are grateful for the collaboration and training support they receive from their partners at Omaha Public Schools and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Munroe-Meyer Institute.</p><p>Omaha's Experts Join Forces for Optimal Outcomes</p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/newborn-occupational-therapy">Occupational therapists</a> from the Munroe-Meyer Institute provide education-related occupational and physical therapy services to Omaha Public Schools students who attend the Boys Town Preschool Program. The therapists also collaborate and lead specialized training sessions with staff, which is an invaluable benefit during these times.  </p><p>Christina Edelbrock, a board-certified pediatric occupational therapist at UNMC's Munroe-Meyer Institute, led a collaborative coaching session where she shared ideas and strategies to help preschool staff calm, reassure and guide children who become overwhelmed, frustrated or frightened by masks. </p><p>“In this pandemic, kids in general are more anxious and scared of things they don't understand, especially children who are deaf and hard of hearing," explained Edelbrock. “They rely on facial expressions, but masks hide that. So, there is increased anxiety because things and people look different." </p><p>To eliminate some of the fear factor, the preschool uses clear masks designed especially for individuals who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, allowing teachers and parents to communicate using facial expressions. The masks also make lip reading possible, which is critical for the children who are just learning to listen, talk or sign.  </p><p>Additional strategies that have helped children with sensory difficulties become more comfortable with masks include:   </p><ul><li>Desensitizing kids by having them hold, feel and press the masks against their skin and face</li><li>Normalizing the situation by putting masks on stuffed animals and other favorite toys</li><li>Reading social stories and using visual aids to walk students through why we wear masks </li><li>Creating routines to increase familiarity and limit impulsive reactions (For example, every morning students exchange the masks they wear from home with school masks. At day's end, they put their school masks in a baggie to be washed and put back on their masks from home.)  </li><li>Using lots of encouragement and positive reinforcement (reassuring words, high fives and thumbs up) to celebrate progress and reinforce expectations</li></ul><p>“We know not all the children will be able to wear their masks for the full three-hour preschool day, so we coach them through the moments when they're having a hard time," said Kaiser. “We use a lot of visual supports, like timers and picture cues, to help them understand the expectations. A lot of positive reinforcement and encouragement goes a long way."</p><p>Both Kaiser and Edelbrock agree that the best things teachers and parents can do for children who have special sensory sensitivities is to show patience, empathy and understanding.</p><p>The Boys Town Preschool is a five-day-a-week early ch​ildhood program that provides comprehensive educational programming to children ages 3 to 5 who are deaf or hard of​ hearing and includes neighborhood friends who are hearing. Highly trained educators and specialists provide intensive differentiated instruction focused on developing listening, spoken language and sign language skills.</p><p>The preschool is located in the <a href="/locations/lied-learning-technology-center">Lied Learning and Technology Center</a>, at 30<sup>th</sup> and Dodge. To learn more, call <a class="js-phone">(531) 355-5000</a>.</p><div class="embed-container"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gGyVDxjaOMY" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div>
Boys Town Researchers Featured in ASHA Top 10 Articles of the Yearhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/asha-top-10-articles-features-boys-town-researchBoys Town Researchers Featured in ASHA Top 10 Articles of the Year2021-01-20T06:00:00Z<p>American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Journals Academy has released their top ten articles of 2020, and three publications by Boys Town researchers earned a spot on the list! </p><p>“This is really an incredible honor," says <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/ryan-mccreery">Ryan McCreery, Ph.D.</a>, Director of Boys Town Research. “Having one article on this list is impressive. Having three truly speaks to the innovation, dedication and talent of our speech-language research team and path they are leading to change the way America cares for children with language disorders." </p><h2>Top Articles from Boys Town Research </h2><p> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/karla-mcgregor">Karla McGregor, Ph.D.</a>, Director of the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning, had two articles featured: </p><ul><li> <a href="https://pubs.asha.org/doi/10.1044/2020_LSHSS-20-00003" target="_blank">How We Fail Children with Developmental Language Disorder</a></li><li> <a href="https://pubs.asha.org/doi/10.1044/2019_PERSP-19-00083" target="_blank">Developmental Language Disorder: Applications for Advocacy, Research and Clinical Service</a></li></ul><p> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/hope-sparks-lancaster">Hope Sparks Lancaster, Ph.D.</a>, Director of Etiologies of Language and Literacy Laboratory, listed for:</p><ul><li> <a href="https://pubs.asha.org/doi/10.1044/2019_JSLHR-19-00162" target="_blank">Early Speech and Language Development in Children with Nonsyndromic Cleft Lip and/or Palate: A Meta-Analysis</a></li></ul><p>American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is a national professional organization for audiologists, speech-language pathologists and hearing, speech and language researchers and students. </p><p>For more information on the top articles of 2020, <a href="https://academy.pubs.asha.org/2021/01/in-case-you-missed-it-our-top-articles-of-2020/" target="_blank">please click here. </a> </p>
Donation Helps Boys Town National Research Hospital in Eye Tracking/Listening Research Projecthttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/eye-tracking-listening-research-project-donationDonation Helps Boys Town National Research Hospital in Eye Tracking/Listening Research Project2021-01-19T06:00:00Z<p>You may have noticed that it is hard to understand what someone is saying when they are wearing a face mask. That's because in face-to-face conversations, seeing a speaker's mouth move usually helps us understand them, especially in noisy places. Understanding speech in background noise is much more challenging for children than adults, and there is variability in children's ability to use visual speech cues, in other words, lipreading.</p><p>That's why a donation to purchase a Tobii Pro Nano eye tracker to support research on the subject was so appreciated by <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/kaylah-lalonde">Kaylah Lalonde, Director of the Audiovisual Speech Processing Laboratory</a> at Boys Town National Research Hospital. </p><p>Lalonde received the donation from an anonymous Boys Town donor about a year ago with the assistance of Boys Town development. The tracker, along with software that has been developed, will assist in planned studies that examine how much children and adults look at a speaker's face while listening to speech in noisy environments and to what parts of the face they look. Lalonde said this will help understand children's listening strategies.</p><p>The long-term goals of research in the audiovisual speech perception lab are to provide a unified account of how audiovisual speech perception develops, and ultimately to improve audiovisual communication outcomes for children with hearing loss. Lalonde said children with hearing loss benefit more from visual speech cues than children with normal hearing.</p><p>The eye tracker will be used to explore how much age- and hearing-related differences in audiovisual benefit observed in speech perception studies might be due to differences in looking behavior.</p><p>“Specifically, we will conduct standard auditory and audiovisual speech recognition tests while collecting data about whether and where participants look at or on the screen," Lalonde said. “The study will look at a variety of different age and hearing groups. With eye tracking data, we will determine the extent to which differences in looking behaviors among children explain individual, age-related and hearing-related differences in audiovisual benefit."</p><p>The eye tracker will serve as a control in future experiments in the lab. It will also serve as a tool for testing young children and infants without requiring overt responses. In future research, it will be used for more detailed studies of visual attention during audiovisual speech perception.</p><p>Lalonde said thanks to donations like this, Boys Town Hospital is able to continue its advances in studying how children tie together hearing with visual cues.</p><p>“Donations like this are important to Boys Town, because they allow us to be innovative in our research approach and support our goal of improving outcomes for children with communication difficulties," she said.</p>
Project INCLUDE Introduces Remote Testing Kits Due to Pandemic Constraintshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/remote-testing-kits-research-data-collectionProject INCLUDE Introduces Remote Testing Kits Due to Pandemic Constraints2021-01-14T06:00:00Z<p>Boys Town National Research Hospital® was in the middle of research for <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/hearing-speech-perception/human-auditory-development/participate/project-include-study">Project INCLUDE</a>, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), when the pandemic upended how many things were being done nationally, locally and at Boys Town.  </p><p>Project INCLUDE measures language, problem solving and hearing abilities in background noise for children with Down syndrome to identify factors that contribute to successful listening in noisy situations – like classrooms. Because Project INCLUDE is conducting research with children who have Down syndrome, many of whom are medically fragile, project leader <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/hearing-speech-perception/human-auditory-development/team">Heather Porter, Ph.D.</a>, knew they had to find alternatives to in-person research methods.</p><p>“Right in the middle of our Project INCLUDE research, the pandemic hit, and we had to switch to remote testing to protect our participants and lab staff," said Dr. Porter Research Scientist in the Human Auditory Development Lab.</p><p>The first remote project tried sending a program over the internet for test participants to download and use on their personal computer using whatever headphones they had at home. However, this system proved to be unreliable. Some participants had results that were very different from other participants. Although it was most likely because of the various types of computer hardware being used across the test population, the results couldn't fully be explained and alternative solutions were developed.</p><p>“We developed test kits that included all of the hardware and software needed for the study," said Dr. Porter.  “These kits are being delivered contact-free to each individual's home. The kits include an iPad, two sets of headphones and an instruction binder, plus sanitizing and screen wipes. Lab staff and participants have their safety concerns met. As a bonus, participants can complete the study at their convenience in their own homes. The response has been super positive."</p><p>Once the remote test kits were up and running, it was simply a matter of dropping them off, picking them up, sanitizing them thoroughly and repeating the process. Most importantly, it meant that Project INCLUDE could proceed safely for both participants and researchers.</p><h2>Advancements in Adversity</h2><p>The changes the pandemic instituted are only the beginning for Boys Town Hospital researchers. The challenges of 2020 have pushed forward new ways of doing things, research included, that may have positive impacts in the future.</p><p>“There's always been a push from the NIH to have larger groups of participants included in Down syndrome research, but it can be difficult because there are only so many participants available locally," Dr. Porter said. “Remote test kits have the potential to help us exponentially, allowing us to collect data from all over the country." </p><p>Families of children with Down syndrome are also being interviewed using secure web-based platforms to find out what about listening and communication is most important to them. That information will be included in Boys Town National Research Hospital's next grant submission to the NIH, along with the possibility of expanded research cohorts created by working remotely and conducting research nationwide.</p><p>Additionally, Boys Town Hospital is looking into various remote test kit configurations to further the ability of all research areas to continue conducting remote research during the pandemic and beyond. </p>
Mapping Aging Brain Networks with the Groundbreaking Atlas55+https://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/groundbreaking-atlas55-aging-brain-network-mappingMapping Aging Brain Networks with the Groundbreaking Atlas55+2021-01-05T06:00:00Z<p>Brain atlases of various kinds have existed for decades, each mapping various areas and centers of the brain. But up until now, most of these atlases created by various researchers have used subjects in early adulthood (typically 18 to 35 years old) for their studies.</p><p>Yet older individuals represent 15% of the United States population, and that segment is expected to continue growing significantly through 2050. This left a vacuum in the research arena when it came to looking at age-related brain changes and diseases, since no atlas for that age group existed, undermining the validity and reliability of neuroimaging research when it came to older adults.</p><p>That is what makes the Atlas55+ brain atlas, mapped by the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/neurobehavioral/brain-architecture-imaging-cognition">Boys Town Brain Architecture, Imaging and Cognition Lab</a> and its affiliates, so important. Now scientists researching brain and cognition changes in later adulthood have a reliable atlas of the brain networks that has been created using functional MRIs of healthy individuals between the ages of 55 and 95.</p><p>“By providing the first age-adapted brain atlas for late adulthood to the scientific community, this work has the potential to reveal how dysfunction of the brain networks contributes to neurodegenerative conditions like dementia," reported <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/gaelle-doucet">Gaelle Doucet, Ph.D.</a>, Director of the Brain Architecture, Imaging and Cognition Lab at Boys Town National Research Hospital®.</p><p>This brain atlas identified five major networks. The study conducted by Dr. Doucet found that three of these networks, the default-mode network (DMN), which is involved in internal-related functions such as thought generation and memory; the executive central network (ECN), which supports working memory, and the salience network (SAL), which helps the transition between different cognitive activities, showed the most changes in functional integrity in older adults, compared to younger adults.</p><p>These three networks “support high-order cognitive activity such as memory, attention and any type of mental activity that helps you work, live and think correctly," explained Dr. Doucet. “Our work showed that these three networks are particularly vulnerable to aging."</p><p>Though further research is needed, this new atlas of the aging brain may help explain why some adults struggle with cognitive decline as they age. This research suggests that interventions to prevent or attempt to reverse cognition loss should focus on the DMN, the ECN and the SAL since these are the major networks that lose functional integrity with aging.</p><p>Atlas55+ has been published and is available for other researchers to consult and use. </p><p>“We are hoping that other neuroscientists in the field of aging will use Atlas55+ as they conduct research with older populations," said Dr. Doucet. “Previously they only had atlases based on younger populations, which may create bias. Now there is an atlas available for working with studies of Alzheimer's, dementia and other age-related cognitive declines."</p><p>The end goal for Atlas55+ is that it can be used as a reference for any population above the age of 55 and that it will be able to aid in the diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer's disease by providing a comparative baseline for what a healthy aging brain networks look like.</p><p>The Atlas55+ research study was funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), which is part of the National Institute of Health, the research agency of the DHHS. NIA's mission is to sponsor biomedical, behavioral and social research nation-wide to improve the health of older adults.  </p><p>“We know that age affects the brain throughout life, so my goal is to eventually take the same type of approach with children," said Dr. Doucet. “We need to create these same types of normative reference templates in children since none currently exist. I envision this eventually being done with 10- to 18-year-olds since younger children prove more difficult to get accurate brain scans from."</p><p>Researchers wishing to view the published article in the journal <em>Cerebral Cortex</em>, published by Oxford Academic Journals, should use the following link:  <a href="https://academic.oup.com/cercor/article/31/3/1719/5981728" target="_blank">academic.oup.com/cercor/article/31/3/1719/5981728</a>.</p><p> <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/atlas-1200x630.jpg" alt="Atlas 55+ Brain Image Mapping" style="margin:5px;width:900px;height:463px;" /> <br> </p>
Boys Town Hospital’s Kristal Platt Doesn’t Let Blindness Block Her Vision of Helping Othershttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/kristal-platt-vision-coordinator-helping-othersBoys Town Hospital’s Kristal Platt Doesn’t Let Blindness Block Her Vision of Helping Others2021-01-04T06:00:00Z<p>To say that Boys Town's Kristal Platt seems to always be looking out for someone else might be a tremendous understatement.</p><p>With less than five percent vision and considered legally blind, Kristal is a licensed certified genetic counselor and vision program coordinator at the Genetics/Center for Childhood Deafness, Language & Learning at the Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><p> <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/Platt-Kristal.jpg" alt="Kristal Platt" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:200px;" />But she has made it her mission during her 30 years in the field to see that others with conditions like hers, especially children, are given the opportunity to experience normal activities they might not otherwise be able to enjoy. And today, she is also advocating for adults with disabilities facing issues with diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, working to create paths for them to overcome these challenges.</p><p>Kristal was 9 years old when she was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a form of juvenile macular degeneration. The macula is the part of the retina responsible for finest acuity. Kristal said originally it was just thought she needed glasses, but as her condition worsened, she was diagnosed with the disease at the University of Wisconsin, the state where she grew up. Her central vision is primarily affected, causing poor recognition of facial features, color vision and difficulty with close work such as reading.</p><p>“If you want an example of what I'm able to see, let's say a computer has a million pixels," Kristal said. “I can see about 1,000."</p><p>While her brother also has Stargardt disease, her parents are both unaffected carriers of the autosomal recessive condition. Kristal also has a sister who does not have the disease.</p><p>Kristal never let her visual impairment slow her down, however. After graduating from high school, she received her bachelor's degree at Iowa State University and then earned her master's degree in Medical Genetics at the University of Wisconsin.</p><p>“At a young age I could explain inheritances and eventually this led to my career choice," Kristal said. </p><p>Landing her first job had a rocky beginning. Originally, she accepted a job in Chicago, only to find out her new employer chose not to honor its commitment. That ended up being a good break, however, as she landed a job at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in December of 1988. She worked there for 15 years until her sister, Shelly Carney, informed her that Boys Town was looking to hire someone for the “vision" component of the department at the Boys Town Hospital. Carney already worked at Boys Town as a preschool teacher and is a certified interpreter for the deaf. She was selected as the National Council for Exceptional Children, Teacher of the Year, in 2019.</p><p>“Coming to Boys Town was an excellent opportunity for me," Kristal said. </p><p>When she first arrived at Boys Town Hospital, she helped with the research laboratories by returning results for participants who had Usher and branchio-oto-renal syndromes. Today, she says she wears two hats, in genetics and vision, her two favorite areas. She presently works in the hearing and neurology clinics.</p><p>“I work with families to explain genetic testing, help them through the process and review test results," she said.</p><p>Kristal says her second hat is developing programs for families with children who are blind or visually impaired. The accessible egg hunt, called the Beeping Easter Egg Hunt, was held for the 13<sup>th</sup> time in 2019.</p><p>“Although it was designed for a child with a visual impairment, our event incorporates activities for families and friends to learn what a child who is visually impaired experiences. It allows them to interact in a fun activity together," Kristal said.</p><p>She also started Camp Abilities Nebraska because there were limited opportunities for youth with visual impairments to participate in sports and recreational activities. In 2019, Boys Town held its 7<sup>th </sup>camp. The camp is run by Boys Town National Research Hospital and Outlook Nebraska.</p><p>"When I was a kid, I couldn't play soccer because of not being able to see the ball," Kristal said. "My goal is to be able to bring this fun activity to the kids, so they get to compete just like their sighted peers."</p><p>Camp Abilities is filled with fun, but the experience the campers get is even more important.</p><p>"Being able to come to camp they can hang out with other kids that get it," Kristal said. "They don't have to explain about their vision, because everybody else lives the experience."</p><p>She says it allows the kids to run, play, fall down and get up, without their parents having to worry.</p><p>“Parents sometimes over-protect a child with a visual disability," Kristal said. “It's understandable. But at camp, the kids and the parents learn they can do more. It's ok to fall down and skin up your knee. That's why we have band-aids."</p><p>As if she doesn't have enough on her plate already, Kristal has also become a strong advocate for people with disabilities in their pursuit of equal opportunities in the workplace.</p><p>She serves on the National Society of Genetic Counselors' Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee. Kristal says many times people with disabilities have a difficult time securing workplace advancements and often struggle even getting in the door. </p><p>“We are making efforts across the country to improve diversity, equity and inclusion, but when everything is said and done, we always seem to look the same," she said. “Minorities and those with disabilities are very under-represented. Societal misconceptions keep companies from hiring these groups."</p><p>Kristal says she is proud of Boys Town for giving herself and others with disabilities opportunities. She said Father Flanagan laid the groundwork and led by example when he accepted all boys, regardless of their race, creed or cultural background.</p><p>“Boys Town has always supported me," she said. “Since I've come here, Boys Town has allowed me to do my job by providing all kinds of assistance. My colleagues make me proud to work here. Everyone is so supportive."</p><p>Kristal met her husband of 27 years, Dan, ballroom dancing. Together, they have three young adult children, Halie, Jacque and Nate.</p>
Boys Town Residential Treatment Center Turns 25https://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/boys-town-rtc-25-anniversaryBoys Town Residential Treatment Center Turns 252020-12-23T06:00:00Z<p>​​​On December 26, 1995, when most of the city was enjoying their holiday presents, Boys Town was overjoyed to give the best gift of all – the gift of a brighter, healthier future for children in need. This year, <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/services/behavioral-health/residential-treatment-center">Boys Town Residential Treatment Center (RTC)​</a> is proud to be celebrating 25 years of second chances!</p><h2>A History of Changing the Way America Cares for Children and Families</h2><p>In the early 1990s, Boys​ Town's leaders saw a nationwide need for a unique behavioral health service to help youth who were not successful in the programs being offered at the time. Calling on the organization's expertise and experience with youth care and medical care, the team formed a new model that focused on medically directed behavioral health treatment, specifically for ages 5 to 17. </p><p>“What makes our program unique is that it is a program created for kids – a place with bright colors, high ceilings, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities, home-like living facilities, all staffed with individuals specifically trained to care for the mental and behavioral needs of kids,” Dennis Vollmer, Director of the RTC said. </p><div class="is-clearfix"><div class="inline-image is-size-7">​​​​​​​​<img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/boys-town-rtc-care-graphic.png" alt="Boys Town RTC has served 3,000 children from 7 countries and 30 states" class="inline-image__image" /> <h2 class="is-size-5">25 Years of Life-Changing Care</h2><p>Boys Town Residential Treatment Center</p></div>​ <p>The success of the child-tailored, research-based model led to incredible growth. What began as a 20-bed facility at the downtown Boys Town Hospital grew to 30 beds within a few years. In the early 2000s, the RTC reached full capacity at 47 beds. In October of 2013, a new 36-bed facility opened on Boys Town Campus. Four years later, the RTC expanded to the 80-bed RTC it is today. </p><h2>25 Years of Life-Changing Results</h2><p>The children who come to the RTC receive a safe and beautiful temporary home, a second chance and the knowledge that there is a group of people at Boys Town Hospital who believe they are good kids with valuable futures. These simple gifts produce life-changing results. </p><p>Since opening its doors, the RTC has logged 500,00 patient days, serving 3,000 youth from 30 states and seven countries. Twelve months after leaving the RTC, 85 percent of youth are either in school or have graduated. Under the leadership of Douglas Spellman, M.D., highly trained staff review each youth’s medication regimen and adjust psychotropic prescriptions to ensure the child is receiving the appropriate medication for optimal mental and physical health. </p><p>“This is the place where children with backgrounds of abuse, aggression and unstable homes can get the treatment they need and find hope in their lives," Dr. Spellman said. “We give them a safe and secure environment where they can begin to make positive changes to learn better self-control and social skills." </p><p>And it’s not just the youth who reap the benefits of th​is unique program. </p><p>“One of my greatest joys of being here over the last 25 years is seeing youth that come here very sad, very disgruntled, and then see them in six weeks or a couple months, leaving the RTC extremely happy,” said Pat Connell, Boys Town Healthcare Policy Advocate. “It really brings joy to my heart and I’m so grateful we’ve been able to help so many kids.” </p><h2>The Work Continues</h2><p>Despite the incredible success of the RTC’s 25 years, there is still much to be done. Even with the facility’s rapid growth, there continues to be a waiting list for the program. The behavioral health team continues to update its evidence-based intervention methods to stay on the leading edge of behavioral health care for children with help from programs like the Boys Town Center for Neurobehavioral Research in Children, which strives to learn more about how childhood trauma can impact brain development and function. </p><p>As Father Flanagan said, “The work will continue, you see, whether I am there or not, because it is God’s work, not mine.” For 25 years, the RTC has proven this to be true; and we are thrilled to see what these dedicated employees can accomplish as the program continues. </p><div class="embed-container"> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YqB7kMSCTcs" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div></div>
First Boys Town Hospital Employees Receive COVID-19 Vaccinehttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/front-line-workers-receive-covid-vaccine-at-boys-townFirst Boys Town Hospital Employees Receive COVID-19 Vaccine2020-12-22T06:00:00Z<p>​​​​​​On Tuesday, December 22, Boys Town National Research Hospital received a delivery of 400 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and began vaccinating direct healthcare staff, specifically those working with positive COVID-19 patients. </p><p>“I just got the COVID vaccine, and I’m thrilled to be able to do this for my patients, for myself and for my family – to keep all of us safe,” said <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/physicians/mohan-mysore">Mohan Mysore, M.D., Director of the Boys Town Advanced Care Unit​</a>. “We anticipate that this is the beginning of the end, but we still need to maintain social distancing, wear a mask, wash our hands and d​o all the things that we’ve been doing so well over the past several months.”</p><p>With 830 direct care staff working in healthcare settings across the hospital, primary and specialty care clinics and Residential Treatment Center, the first shipment allows Boys Town to provide vaccinations for 48% of direct care staff, with hopes of receiving more vaccines in the coming weeks.</p><h3>Thank you to all who have continued to keep patients and families first throughout this pandemic and to those who are helping us distribute this long-awaited vaccine! </h3><div class="embed-container"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XmB_hJcVMI4" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div>
Robots Help Students Learn at Boys Town Residential Treatment Centerhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/robots-help-students-learn-at-boys-townRobots Help Students Learn at Boys Town Residential Treatment Center2020-12-14T06:00:00Z<p>​Boys Town Residential Treatment Center (RTC) students are now learning from robots.</p><p>Well, sort of.</p><p>Actually, the robots are helping the students get interested in learning.</p><p>Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers play a key role in the growth and stability of the U.S. economy. Now, thanks to a pilot STEM Acellus Robots course for Boys Town RTC students, that exposure could also lead to future job opportunities.</p><p>Alyssa Biskup is Education Coordinator for the RTC at the Boys Town National Research Hospital<sup>®</sup>. She is excited about the opportunity STEM education provides Boys Town kids.</p><p>“STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy and enables the next generation of innovators," Biskup said. “Because of that, STEM education in school is important to spark an interest in pursuing a STEM career in students."</p><p>Biskup says Boys Town RTC students have not always had the opportunity to experience what these work fields have to offer.</p><p>“Many of our students have missed out on some of these opportunities due to some challenges that they currently face," she said. “Especially for our kids who are highly mobile, they have been in multiple schools, multiple placements or have just not had the opportunity in their communities or school districts. Some of our kids lack the motivation and interest in even going to school. Here at the RTC, we can offer them something new and exciting that may spark their interest or get them excited to come to school."</p><p>Boys Town RTC instructors are more than just teachers.</p><p>“Part of our job, for some kids, is to get them to like school again and to feel confident in the classroom," Biskup said. “For other kids, our job is to get them caught up with their course work and challenge them in such a way that builds confidence for their return to their public school."</p><p>RTC high school students in good academic standing have the option to enroll in an Acellus course for elective credits. The students must show safe behaviors and will sign a robot safety contract. Only 15 youth at a time will be enrolled in the class to give everyone plenty of individual instruction time. New youth will be able to enroll as others complete the course.</p><p>In the Acellus Introduction to Coding course, students are taught how to program using the Blockly coding language. With Blockly, everything is done with little building blocks that snap together in an intuitive way. As students learn to program by snapping blocks together, they are laying a foundation for more advanced programming languages.</p><p>In the first half of the class, the course builds a baseline understanding of the concepts needed to learn coding.<strong> </strong>In the second half of the course, the students are introduced to Cellus Bot, a teaching robot equipped with lights, a motor and sensors, all of which are controlled by block coding modules included as part of the course. Students then progress through different levels of coding and fundamental programming concepts.</p><p>Statistics tell us there are currently millions of job vacancies in the STEM industry, while at the same time only 16% of college students graduate in STEM fields or subjects. Demand for STEM jobs has increased dramatically and continues to grow, with many new fields and professions emerging each day.  This as a tremendous opportunity for RTC students.</p><p>“The fantastic thing about STEM education is that it's ever-expanding," Biskup said. “STEM is so important to kids because technology is all over our world. From the smartphone device to the personal computer and tablet, we utilize technology in new ways every single day. STEM is an area of education that isn't going to fade away; it's merely going to grow larger. Encouraging a creative, motivated problem solver and a kid who can enjoy learning and think outside of the box is the best gift you can ever give our youth as a teacher."</p><p>Boys Town is not only working to help children with their behavioral and mental health problems but helping them continue to grow and learn.</p>
Voice of America Features Boys Town® Researcher Karla McGregor, Ph.D.https://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/karla-mcgregor-feature-voice-of-americaVoice of America Features Boys Town® Researcher Karla McGregor, Ph.D.2020-12-03T06:00:00Z<p> Recently, Voice of America (VOA), the United States' largest international broadcaster, featured an article about U.S. students with disabilities being afforded reasonable accommodations and the chance to succeed thanks to the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.</p><p>Students as young as 3 years of age can access IEPs (individual education programs) that address a multitude of learning issues including developmental language disorder (DLD) and ADHD, as well as other physical, medical and learning disabilities. Reasonable accommodations such as extended test-taking time, dedicated note-takers and sign language interpreters can continue through college to help students reach their full potential.</p><p> <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/McGregorKarla.jpg" alt="Karla McGregor, Ph.D." class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:200px;" />“We want a diverse student population. And having these students included is super important," Dr. Karla McGregor, Director of the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning and professor emeritus at the University of Iowa, said in the VOA article. </p><p>However, only 33% of students eligible for reasonable accommodations at a college level receive them. This is due, in part, to the high cost involved in testing for accommodations, as well as the fear of being stigmatized, Dr. McGregor shared in the article.</p><p>Helping students with communication and learning disabilities is what led Dr. McGregor to her current position as Director of the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning at Boys Town National Research Hospital<sup>®</sup>. Dr. McGregor specializes in DLD, a neurodevelopmental disorder that limits a person's ability to learn, understand and use language.</p><p>DLD affects 7% of the population, which translates to about two children in every classroom. Despite its prevalence and impact on learning, listening and speaking, DLD has historically suffered from a lack of societal awareness and clinical studies. </p><p>Dr. McGregor often describes DLD as “a hidden disorder." Many children with DLD go unnoticed because they have mastered the minimums necessary for communication. DLD goes by many names – language delay, specific language impairment, expressive-receptive language disorder, speech-language impairment or language learning disability – and this, too, hinders understanding of the condition.</p><p>“Many children who are identified with DLD are diagnosed because they have a co-occurring condition such as a speech impairment, or a behavioral concern that is more noticeable to adults than immature language patterns. However, the consequences for academic success with DLD are often greater than those of co-occurring conditions," said Dr. McGregor.</p><p>Raising awareness of DLD is a major objective for Dr. McGregor. She is a founding member of DLDandMe.org, a website created by a nationwide panel of expert volunteers, with the mission of raising awareness amongst educators, parents and policymakers. <a href="https://dldandme.org/" target="_blank">DLDandMe.org</a> provides an overview of DLD and articles summarizing the latest DLD research. </p><p>Dr. McGregor is also the U.S. representative on the board of <a href="https://radld.org/" target="_blank">Raising Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder</a>. This international organization hosts yearly DLD Awareness Day campaigns and on-going multimedia offers on DLD. The 2021 DLD Awareness Day is scheduled for October 15<sup>th</sup>.</p><p>Together these two organizations, along with researchers like Dr. McGregor, hope to alert parents and educators to the potential signs of DLD, as well as make clear the importance of spoken language development in children's academic and social success. </p>
Boys Town Residential Treatment Center Youth Get Rare Virtual Experience with Dolphinshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/rtc-vitual-dolphin-experienceBoys Town Residential Treatment Center Youth Get Rare Virtual Experience with Dolphins2020-12-01T06:00:00Z<p>​Boys Town Residential Treatment Center (RTC) Education Coordinator Alyssa Biskup calls it “a total COVID blessing."</p><p>There's one you don't hear very often.</p><h3>But this story is special.</h3><p>Florida dolphins helping with the treatment of troubled youth in Nebraska.</p><p>Troubled Nebraska youth helping with the treatment of dolphins in Florida.</p><p>It all came about in late October when through a mutual acquaintance, Biskup was put in contact with Missy Johnson, a native of Valley, NE, now working at Island Dolphin Care in Key Largo, FL. The two discussed virtual sessions where Boys Town's RTC students could interact with the dolphins in a fun learning experience.</p><h3>Then COVID hit the Boys Town RTC.</h3><p>“We really had a pretty severe outbreak," Biskup said. “This pandemic is hard, but our kids are away from family and friends with or without a pandemic. Anything to connect them to the outside world, especially dolphins, is amazing not only for them but for us as staff to experience with them. We were able to give our kids an experience that will go into their memory bank as a positive one -- maybe an experience they would otherwise never come close to experiencing in a lifetime."</p><p>What made the relationship special for both parties was that Island Dolphin Care was experiencing its own COVID crisis.</p><p>“Their facility was shut down due to COVID, also," Biskup said. “They couldn't have any visitors into their facility, so our virtual meetings were all each of us had. It was a bad situation, but it fell at exactly the right time for both of us."</p><p>Biskup's staff was challenged to get the virtual meetings set up in the individual student's rooms. Due to the pandemic, they weren't able to do the meetings in larger settings. So, Johnson and Island Dolphin Care trainer, Eli Smith, made plans to stream live interactions between the dolphins and their new friends at the Boys Town RTC in Nebraska.</p><p><img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/RTCDolphin8.jpg" alt="class observing dolphins" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:300px;" />Smith, who has a background in special education, served as a guide for the youth. Holding a camera, he walked through the facility, down to the dock and lagoon where the dolphins live. The sessions lasted 45 minutes. During that time, students learned how the dolphins were cared for and how they can help with the treatment of others. They learned about dolphin anatomy and watched and learned how they are trained.</p><p>The actual virtual interactions with the dolphins included getting a dolphin kiss, feeding the dolphins and learning about their behavior management.</p><p>“Even though they were watching on laptops, these were live, unplanned interactions for our kids," Biskup said. “We had never done anything like this before. It was an incredible opportunity and it really was a nice, relaxing project that helped the kids get through a tough time and gave them a chance to have fun, too."</p><p>Biskup estimated that around 60 students participated in the dolphin experience. She said it also provided something different for her staff.</p><p>“We were all hands on deck due to the COVID outbreak," she said. “It gave our teachers 45 minutes of therapeutic relief. It was a great experience for everyone."</p><p>Biskup said students weren't asked to write any reports or do special school assignments with the dolphin experience. Instead, she said they just wanted everyone to relax and enjoy.</p><p>“It really was never intended to be an academic project," she said. “We just wanted them to enjoy the experience. Afterwards, we just talked about what they had seen and heard. I think it left quite an impression on everyone involved."</p><p>Johnson said the experience was a satisfying one for the staff of Island Dolphin Care, as well.</p><p>“2020 has been an unprecedented year for us here at Island Dolphin Care, just like it has been for so many others," she said. “This year our primary focus is keeping our staff and family of dolphins safe and taken care of until we are able to re-open and safely continue our in-person therapy programs."</p><p>She said being able to work with an organization like Boys Town fits into Island Dolphin Care's philosophy of helping others.</p><p>“Working with organizations such as Boys Town is phenomenal because the passion and love for education and well-being for children is shared," Johnson said. “We were honored to get to be a part of such a life-changing time for the children that Boys Town works with. In times like these, with so many changes to life and what feels 'normal,' we can sometimes forget to notice and appreciate the changes that are positive. In a typical year, we probably would not have had the opportunity to get to know the children you serve at Boys Town, or to share our services, dolphins, or story with all of you."</p><p>Johnson said 2020 is the perfect year for groups to come together and help each other.</p><p>“It is so very important during this pandemic that we as a larger community ban together and share all that we can with one another," she said. “It's important to know there is hope and love still surrounding us, and it's good to have reminders to look for it. In difficult times such as these, we all need as many smiles, giggles and as much hope as we can get our hands on. It's pertinent that we remember children are just as affected by this current climate as adults are. Staying strong together is what will help pull all of us through to the other side of this as better people and a stronger community."</p><p>Island Dolphin Care's Mission Statement states that it is “To provide unique, animal-assisted (dolphin), therapeutic, motivational and educational therapy programs to children, adults with special needs, and their families and caregivers. Through interactive programs, education and research, participants are inspired to value and respect marine mammals and their environment."</p><p>The Boys Town Residential Treatment Center (RTC) provides medically directed care for children ages 5 to 17 who have severe behavioral health problems or mental illness. The Center is licensed as a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) by the state of Nebraska and is accredited by The Joint Commission. The troubled children, pre-teens and teens Boys Town serves need systematic and professional treatment for their behavioral, emotional and academic problems. </p>
New App Measures Attention in 2 to 5-Year-Oldshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/research-app-measures-attention-in-childrenNew App Measures Attention in 2 to 5-Year-Olds2020-11-13T06:00:00Z<p>​Designed with an engaging theme and graphics, the Visual Attention Processing Protocol (VAPP) application collects research data on how children between the ages of 2 and 5 process visual information in their environment.</p><p>Created by Anastasia Kerr-German, Ph.D., Director of the Brain, Executive Function and Attention Research Laboratory at Boys Town<sup>®</sup>, this app measures visual attention and brain processing efficiency during play, while keeping kids entertained and interactive. Available in the App Store, the VAPP application is accessible to researchers wishing to participate in normative data collection.</p><p>In keeping with the under-the-sea game format, the first thing children are asked to do is click on sea creatures as quickly as they see them. In the next tier of the game, children will have to make choices about the direction the fish are going and drag them to the right location on the screen. In the third part of the game, children will sort visual stimuli (sea creatures and sea trash) to the appropriate locations based on their labels.</p><p>This game tells us about how children see things and how they make choices about visual information in their environment. To keep the engagement level high, there are also parts of the game that are just for entertainment like a pop-the-bubbles segment and the ability to earn underwater treasure games. </p><p>The Child Visual Attention Protocol application gauges how children use categorical labels and visual attention to guide decision-making, both in the moment and during a task that requires attention skills. The Protocol tests what children know and how quickly they can process and make decisions about that visual information.</p><p> <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/Bear-App-1.png" alt="Child Visual Attention Protocol app" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin:5px 15px 5px 5px;width:370px;height:278px;" />For example, in the “<em>Find the Fish"</em> exercise, children can quickly tap a creature with little thought in one portion of the task, which allows us to gauge how quickly they can process those visual stimuli. During <em>“</em><em>Where Are They Going?"  </em>and<em> “Rescue or Recycle?"</em> children must not only see the object but must label it and then do something with it. That is where decision-making comes in. Both pieces are important when understanding the development of attention in young children.</p><p>So far, the Child Visual Attention Protocol has been piloted with a dozen or so 2 to 5-year-olds and the children have been enthusiastic about using the application. There is still a large amount of normative data to collect before this can become a potential diagnostic tool to identify children who may be at risk for developing disorders such as ADHD. But the information collected to date is promising and might eventually help identify risk for ADHD much earlier than is now possible.</p><p>This application may eventually allow for diagnosis and care of those at risk for ADHD long before the behavioral and psychological struggles these children face become disruptive to their day-to-day lives. If interventions could start early, before school age, these children may have an easier time adjusting and there may be less of an impact on their academic achievement and social-emotional health.</p><p>“My hope is that we can use this app to better understand typically developing children prior to school age so that we may begin to understand the evolution of disorders of attention and executive functioning such as ADHD. A portion of our children in the Boys Town Residential Treatment Center, as well as outpatient clinics, have ADHD, and this line of research is aimed at early identification of risk and earlier interventions," said Dr. Kerr-German.</p><p>Researchers interested in helping to collect data for this ongoing project should contact Dr. Kerr-German through the Brain, Executive Function and Attention Research Lab at Boys Town National Research Hospital<sup>®</sup>.​</p> <a href="https://apps.apple.com/app/id1523758420" target="_blank"><img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/apple-store-badge.png" alt="Download on the iOS App Store" /></a>​<br>
Ears On An Evidence-Based Program to Improve Hearing Device Use in Childrenhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/ears-on-program-improve-hearing-device-use-in-childrenEars On An Evidence-Based Program to Improve Hearing Device Use in Children2020-11-03T06:00:00Z<p>​ <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/ears-on-page.jpg" alt="Child with hearing aid participates in research study" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px 10px;width:344px;height:333px;" />​For children with hearing loss, hearing devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants provide access to speech sounds that are critical to their development of spoken language. Ho<span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1">wever, children m</span>ust regularly wear their devices to receive the full language development benefits [1]. </p><p>Ears On is a program developed and evaluated by Sophie Ambrose, Ph.D., Coordinator of the Clinical Measurement Program and her team at Boys Town National Research Hospital. Ears On is designed to help parents ensure regular device use for their children. The program focuses on educating families of the importance of children consistently wearing their hearing devices and provides practical tips to help with compliance of wearing them. </p><h2>Practical Concerns Affect Hearing Device Use</h2><p>When it comes to getting children to wear hearing devices, there are some common challenges. We know children take them off without parents' knowledge. Parents may choose not to have kids wear their devices during some activities. Other caregivers may not realize the importance of the devices and may fail to encourage or enforce wearing them. And, families sometimes just forget [2-3]. </p><p>Some of these factors are made worse by a lack of understanding of the developmental importance of consistent hearing device use. Hearing the sounds of speech and language during critical developmental periods supports brain development that will affect a child's long-term academic, social and professional success.</p><h2>Ears On Education to Help Families Manage Hearing Device Use</h2><p>Ears On starts with ensuring parents understand their child's individual hearing loss, including the speech sounds their child will miss without amplification and the impact it can have on language development. The intervention also seeks to show parents how much of a difference they can expect in hearing and language development with regular device use and to empower parents to believe they can establish consistent device use.</p><p>To meet these goals, Ears On methods include reviewing the results of the child's previous hearing assessments, using simulations of the child's hearing with and without hearing devices, presenting video examples of the language development of children with hearing losses similar to their child's and discussion of related topics. </p><p>Finally, to help parents improve their child's hearing device use, Ears On includes sessions that support parents in identifying and becoming confident in using strategies to address each of the barriers the family faces in establishing consistent device use. For examples, parents may learn strategies to encourage their child not to remove his or her devices or advocacy strategies to use with other caregivers. </p><h2>Ears On Program Evaluation</h2><p>Dr. Ambrose and her team tested Ears On with three parent-child pairs, with the three children being from 16 to 33 months old at the time of entry into the study. After Ears On, they found that all three improved in hearing aid compliance, with two them meeting the program goal of eight hours of average daily device use [2].  This study shows early promise for supporting parents and children by offering an intensive intervention focused on hearing device use. One of the keys to the success of the intervention was the individualization based on each family's needs. Additional work by the research team has included developing and validating a measure of parents' perceived beliefs, knowledge, confidence, and actions related to supporting their children's hearing device use and language development. This tool, which is available in <a href="https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/jehdi/vol5/iss1/9/" target="_blank">a recent article in the Journal of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention</a>, can help clinicians individualize their efforts to support families in increasing device use. </p><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital is recognized around the world as a leader in hearing and language research. </p><h2>References</h2><ol><li>Ambrose, S. E., Appenzeller, A., Al-Salim, S., & Kaiser, A. P. (2020). Effects of an intervention designed to increase toddlers' hearing aid use. <em>Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 25</em>(1), 55-67. doi:10.1093/deafed/enz032</li><li>Moeller, M. P., Hoover, B., Peterson, B., & Stelmachowicz, P. (2009). Consistency of hearing aid use in infants with early identified hearing loss. <em>American Journal of Audiology</em>, <em> </em>(1), 14–23. doi:1059-0889_2008_08-0010</li><li>Muñoz, K., Rusk, S. E. P., Nelson, L., Preston, E.,White, K. R., Barrett, T. S., & Twohig, M. P. (2016). Pediatric hearing aid management: Parent-reported needs for learning support. <em>Ear and Hearing</em>, 37(6), 703–709. doi:10.1097/AUD.0000000000000338</li></ol>
The Scientific Truth about Herd Immunityhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/scientific-truth-about-herd-immunityThe Scientific Truth about Herd Immunity2020-10-29T05:00:00Z<p>As we enter a crucial stage in the coronavirus pandemic, Nebraska's hospitals and public health agencies want you to know the truth about herd immunity. You may have read about this concept as a way to get us through this difficult time. It would be disastrous for our country, our health care systems, and for millions of fellow Americans. </p><p>The herd immunity concept is based in an assumption that everyone who recovers from COVID-19 is immune from re-infection. That is an assumption that has not been proven. In fact, medical scientists have now reported a number of persons with proven re-infection. With a virus that has existed for less than a year, it is impossible to know whether people can be re-infected on a large scale. </p><p>Let's look at the numbers:</p><p>For herd immunity to take hold, you would need a minimum of 60% of the entire population to be infected. Antibody studies tell us that some small pockets of New York City and Mumbai, India, may have reached 50% infection rates, but cities with major outbreaks have had overall infection rates of less than 25%. Based on CDC testing nationally, we estimate 10% of the U.S. population has experienced COVID-19 coronavirus infection. Given the overall number of confirmed deaths, we can estimate that approximately 0.6% of people with COVID-19 will perish as a result. As of this writing, over 220,000 Americans have already died from COVID-19. So, what would happen if 60% of the population were infected rather than 10%? Here are our estimates for what a “herd immunity" experience in the US would look like:</p><ul><li>197 million cases</li><li>3.6 million people hospitalized</li><li>1.2 million deaths</li></ul><p>This is not a solution. The loss of life would be many times more devastating than what we see now. The economic impact would be ruinous for our state and country. If you see statements that claim otherwise, keep in mind there has not been a single scientifically verified study anywhere in the world that shows unchecked herd immunity as a solution. </p><p>What is the solution? As scientists around the world work tirelessly toward a vaccine, we must follow what we know works to stop the spread. We agree with state leaders who encourage you to avoid the three Cs:</p><ul><li> <strong>Crowded places:</strong> Avoid gathering in groups where you cannot maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance from others</li><li> <strong>Close contact:</strong> Wear a mask whenever you are within 6 feet of people from outside your household. Masks work – scientific data from around the world continues to show this. In areas with mask mandates, the primary driver of COVID cases is people who spent significant time without their masks on in places like bars and restaurants</li><li> <strong>Confined spaces:</strong> Avoid enclosed spaces with poor ventilation. We know how the virus spreads. When people are physically separated from others by 6 feet or more in well-ventilated areas, they are much less likely to become infected.</li></ul><p>We do not have to choose between the total shutdown of society and letting the virus run unchecked through the population. We can instead rely on science and a spirit of helping each other by protecting each other and getting through this together. </p><p style="text-align:center;"> <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/CoalitionBlogLogos.jpg" alt="healthcare logos" class="ms-rtePosition-4" style="margin:5px;" /> <br> </p>
Boys Town Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatient Unit 1-Year Anniversaryhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/child-adolescent-psychiatric-inpatient-unit-anniversaryBoys Town Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatient Unit 1-Year Anniversary2020-10-15T05:00:00Z<p> <strong>Congratulations to the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatient Center on Its 1-Year Anniversary! </strong></p><p>This month marks the 1-year anniversary of the opening of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatient Center at Boys Town National Research Hospital – West. During the last year, the Inpatient Center has provided expert, life-saving services and care to 280 children and teens. Please join us in celebrating the truly remarkable work the entire staff has done to provide healing and hope to some very vulnerable kids who are in desperate need our help.    </p><p>The Psychiatric Inpatient Center is the highest level of care in Boys Town's range of child-behavioral and mental health services and addresses a vital need for mental health services in the region. Children who come to the Inpatient Center are in crisis and present as a danger to themselves or others. Most patients are either suicidal or have attempted suicide, and all must be referred to the Inpatient Center by a doctor.</p><h2>A Healing Environment at Boys Town</h2><p>The 16-bed Psychiatric Inpatient Center provides the highest level of safety and care for children, ages 5 to 17, who need psychiatric hospitalization. It includes classrooms, a gymnasium, living spaces and recreational areas. While staying at the Inpatient Center, patients complete goal-setting exercises, attend school, participate in group activities and receive care and treatment from a multidisciplinary team of board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists, pediatricians and pediatric specialists, highly trained psychiatric nurses and social workers.</p><h2>Healing Beyond the Psychiatric Inpatient Center</h2><p>Upon leaving the Center, patients may be referred to one of Boys Town's lower levels of care, such as residential treatment, outpatient care, telehealth or in-home services to meet the behavioral and mental health needs of the child and family.</p><p>Most patients will return to their families and receive follow-up care at home. Follow-up care will begin within seven days of the patient's discharge to promote a strong community of care. Their social worker and teacher will also reach out and communicate as needed to ease the transition back to home.</p><p>Boys Town is proud of and grateful to all the hardworking, dedicated staff at the Psychiatric Inpatient Center. Over the last year, they have helped some of the most vulnerable children every day. The Inpatient Center has been a tremendous success, and we can't wait to see how it continues to grow and change the way America cares for children and families for years to come!</p>
Researchers and Kids Work Together to Create Scientific Article on Hearing Researchhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/research-kids-create-scientific-article-on-hearing-researchResearchers and Kids Work Together to Create Scientific Article on Hearing Research2020-10-09T05:00:00Z<p>Imagine if kids were offered the opportunity to give input and ask questions for a scientific journal. </p><p>Boys Town researchers Angela AuBuchon, Ph.D., and Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., Director of Research, are doing just that in a similar manner with the publication <em>Frontiers for Young Minds</em>, which offers a unique approach to do this in a scientific journal that is aimed at young audiences. What makes it remarkable is that this journal emulates other peer-reviewed scientific publications, but with kids serving alongside scientist mentors as the editors and reviewers of submitted papers.</p><p>In their article, <a href="https://kids.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frym.2020.00104" target="_blank"><em>When Choosing NOT to Listen Helps You Hear and Learn</em></a><em>, </em>Dr. AuBuchon and Dr. McCreery explain the science of sound and perception related to their research. Kids learn that decibels (dB) are the scale that scientist use to quantify sound levels. They learn things about the anatomy inside the ear that turn sound waves into information signals that the brain understands, and they learn the parts of the brain that allow us to understand and pay attention to the sounds that matter to us.</p><p>The researchers also present a piece of data in the article that shows one area where science is helping to improve hearing experience for kids and adults with hearing loss. Our brains help us focus on someone speaking, as kids must do in the classroom, even when surrounding noises could distract from or distort the speaker. For children with hearing loss, it is harder to separate a speaker from a noisy background as is shown in their article. The figure itself, can be found in <a href="https://kids.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frym.2020.00104">the article</a>, and serves as an example for the reviewers and readers of how to present data in a quickly understandable visual summary.</p><p>To complete the article, kids review the submission with their own scientific mentors. The young reviewers asked their questions and offered suggestions to Dr. AuBuchon and Dr. McCreery in the same way that scientific peers would review papers in other journals. According to Dr. AuBuchon, “This is a really great opportunity for our researchers to work with the kids to create educational scientific content. They learn about the scientific process and we have the privilege to help develop the next generation of scientists that will continue the pursuit of new knowledge."</p><p>During the current COVID-19 pandemic, families in search of educational materials for home have also discovered this article, and the Frontiers for Young Minds journal. Dr. McCreery and Dr. AuBuchon have been contacted by some of these families and are happy to learn that they are using the content as an enrichment activity with their kids. This is exactly what we would hope for and it is possible because <a href="https://kids.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frym.2020.00104" target="_blank">the Frontiers for Young Minds article</a> is also open access, so anyone can read it!<br></p><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital is a global leader in hearing research and works extensively with children with a range of hearing needs. It regularly communicates technical findings through a variety of professional research and clinical publications. The hospital also works to provide educational content that is accessible to patients and families.​<br></p><h2>References<br></h2><ol><li>AuBuchon A. and McCreery R. (2020) When Choosing NOT to Listen Helps You Hear and Learn. Front. Young Minds. 8:104. doi: 10.3389/frym.2020.00104</li></ol><h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter" target="_blank">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div>
Jason Bruce, M.D., Appointed Boys Town Chief Medical Officerhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/jason-bruce-chief-medical-officerJason Bruce, M.D., Appointed Boys Town Chief Medical Officer2020-10-08T05:00:00Z<p>​​Boys Town is pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Bruce, M.D., to the position of Chief Medical Officer at Boys Town National Research Hospital and Clinics, effective Oct. 1, 2020. </p><p>Since joining Boys Town in 2006, Dr. Bruce has held leadership positions as Pediatric Practice Leader, Medical Director of Same Day Pediatrics and most recently, Associate Medical Director for Primary Care.<br>He has been instrumental in the growth of Same Day Pediatrics, a service offering same day sick appointments for all children in the area, by increasing capacity from one to four locations across the Omaha metro. His leadership while working with Incident Command during the COVID-19 pandemic has played a key role in maintaining the highest quality of care for Boys Town patients during this challenging time. </p><p>As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bruce will oversee the quality and safety of patient care delivered by medical staff. He will help lead the hospital and clinics in strategic planning, recruit and retain doctors and providers and oversee the operations of medical staff and patient services.</p><p>“Boys Town Hospital has seen tremendous growth in services and the number of patients we serve – most recently with the addition of higher levels of hospital care and pediatric neuroscience," said Edward Kolb, M.D., MBA, Executive Vice President of Health Care and Director of Boys Town National Research Hospital and Medical Clinics. “Dr. Bruce's leadership and attention to patient-centered care will help lead Boys Town Hospital as we continue to expand to serve more patients and families."</p><p>Dr. Bruce was awarded his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Creighton University School of Medicine. He completed residency training at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in affiliation with the Medical College of Wisconsin. He is board certified in pediatrics and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is part Hawaiian and a proud graduate of the Kamehameha Schools. As a bilingual physician (English and Spanish), he enjoys caring for a diverse patient population. </p><p>Boys Town congratulates Dr. Bruce on his appointment!​<br></p>
Peg Reit Named 2020 Professional of the Year by Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizationshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/peg-reit-professional-of-the-yearPeg Reit Named 2020 Professional of the Year by Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations2020-10-08T05:00:00Z<div class="is-clearfix"><div class="inline-image is-size-7">​​​​​​​​​​<img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/PegReitPoster.jpg" alt="Peg Reit" class="inline-image__image" /></div>​ <p>Peg Reit spent over 27 years advocating for youth and families at Boys Town.</p><p>Even after being diagnosed with cancer, she continued to work every day to make a difference in the lives of children and families. Unfortunately, in June of this year, she lost a courageous bout to cancer. But her tireless work did not go unrecognized as the Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations (NABHO) recently named her as its 2020 Professional of the Year. This is the first time a Boys Town employee has won the award. She was honored in a virtual celebration on October 7. </p><p>The individual chosen for the NABHO award demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities and a commitment to supporting their peers and building alliances that strengthens the behavioral health system of care. Peg was a role model for other professionals in the behavioral health field. </p><p>As an administrator at Boys Town's Residential Treatment Center (RTC), she worked behind the scenes for NABHO in advocating for positive and constructive changes in Nebraska's mental health and Medicaid regulations. She spent countless hours reviewing and analyzing existing regulations with the goal of removing those that did not improve quality, patient care, or patient safety.</p><p>Peg developed an effective system of not only identifying what changes were necessary, but also proposing clear and concise language for regulations. As a result, she was effective in helping NABHO bring about significant changes in telehealth and child/adolescent related regulations. Additionally, in order to improve access to mental health and substance abuse services, she was a strong advocate for mental health parity and more equitable provider rates. </p><p>Peg worked on behalf of Boys Town Behavioral Health to expand the RTC, open the first new child inpatient program in over thirty years, and develop telehealth outpatient psychiatry services to improve rural access and provide continuity of service for children and adolescents in their home community. </p><p>Throughout her career at Boys Town, Peg was a passionate advocate for children and families. She humanized the psychiatric environment. Pat Connell, Vice President of Behavioral Health Services and Government Relations, who worked directly with Peg stated “She was determined to ensure that every child who entered Boys Town's services had a positive experience. She knew the traumas and heartaches of these children and was determined to make a difference. She always made sure that in addition to therapeutic services, there were plenty of seasonal activities for the children to engage in and that positive memories would be created while at Boys Town."</p><p>The holidays were a special time for Peg. She was acutely aware that many of the children in Boys Town's care had limited positive experiences during the holiday seasons. She made it her own personal mission to ensure the facility was festively decorated both inside and out. She was constantly looking for innovative ways to help children in the program celebrate and to experience the joys of each holiday season. </p><p>Peg was working on several new and expanded programs before she passed away.​ One of her colleagues, Dennis Vollmer, Director of Boys Town Residential Treatment Center, said she will be sorely missed not only for her spirit and passion in serving behavioral health patients and their families, but also for her relentless determination in improving Nebraska's mental health system. </p><p>“When I first met Peg, she immediately impressed me with her determined nature, advocacy for children, and sense of humor," Dennis said. “As my close colleague, she continued to display her strong will, determined spirit, and dedication to children. But it was during the past seven years that she and I worked together virtually daily. Her vision and clear thinking contributed to improvements in the design of our second RTC building as well as being a primary contributor to the overall design of the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit. She will be greatly missed."<br></p><p>Peg is survived by her loving husband, Kyle. Boys Town and Peg's family are determined to keep her memory alive through a memorial scholarship fund directed to the Boys Town kids who need it most. The “Peg Reit Memorial Scholarship" will go to a Boys Town senior that has spent time receiving services at the RTC.</p><p>Through your support, her legacy can live on for years to come.</p></div><p></p>​ <div> <a href="https://support.boystown.org/site/Donation2?df_id=3101&mfc_pref=T&3101.donation=form1" target="_blank" class="button is-primary">Give to the Peg Reit Memorial Scholarship Fund</a></div>
Shining a Light on Developmental Language Disorderhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/shining-a-light-on-developmental-language-disorderShining a Light on Developmental Language Disorder2020-10-07T05:00:00Z<p>​Developmental language disorder (DLD) is a highly prevalent neurodevelopmental condition that limits a person's ability to learn and use language. Despite the importance of spoken language for success in school, social settings, career and quality of life, there remains major obstacles in securing the quality and quantity of care needed to help children with DLD to reach their full potential.  </p><p>Considering its prevalence and impact, DLD is greatly under researched relative to other neurodevelopmental disorders, a situation that has not improved over the past decade. The number of children with DLD who receive clinical services also falls far short of prevalence estimates. In a recent article, Karla McGregor, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning at Boys Town Hospital, explores reasons for the relative neglect of DLD in research and clinical realms [1]. She maintains that increasing public awareness of DLD is a key step forward. </p><h2>DLD Awareness is an Ongoing Problem </h2><p>Despite being recognized and studied by speech-language experts for many years, Dr. McGregor points out that DLD remains an “unknown disorder". A lot of the confusion arises because of the large mix of terms used for DLD. If your child has been described as having a language delay, specific language impairment, expressive-receptive language disorder, speech-language impairment, or language learning disability they may have DLD. Organizations like Raising Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder (RADLD) are working to implement more uniform terminology and a greater understanding of the settings and reasons why one might encounter one term or another. </p><p>Another problem with awareness, as Dr McGregor describes it, is that DLD is “a hidden disorder". Children with DLD often don't stand out as different. They “can carry on a basic conversation, follow a simple command, and answer a routine question [1]." Many children who are identified with DLD are diagnosed because they have a co-occurring condition such as a speech impairment, or a behavioral concern that is more noticeable than immature language patterns to adults. However, the consequences for academic success with DLD are often greater than those of co-occurring conditions. </p><h2>Improving DLD Care for Future Generations </h2><p>Progress will almost certainly accelerate if we can help parents and educators understand the critical importance of spoken language development to academic and social success and to alert them to potential signs of DLD. Speech-language researchers and clinicians must ensure that evidence-based information is accessible to educators, families and policy makers.  </p><p> <a href="https://dldandme.org/" target="_blank">DLDandMe.org</a> is a website founded by a nation-wide panel of experts to help. DLDandMe.org provides brief, readable summaries of evidence on a range of topics related to DLD such as <em>Causes of DLD</em>, <em>Gender Differences in Language Development</em>, the <em>Difference between DLD and Autism</em>, and <em>Test Score Interpretation</em>. Since 2017, RADLD.org has organized <a href="https://radld.org/dld-awareness-day/" target="_blank">DLD Awareness Day</a>, including events and multi-media campaigns designed to improve awareness. </p><p>This year's DLD Awareness Day is Friday, October 16, 2020. Keep an eye out for news, information and events on twitter and Facebook by following the hashtags #DLDseeMe and #DLDandMe. </p><h2>References </h2><ol><li>McGregor, K. A. (2020) How We Fail Children with Developmental Language Disorder. <em>Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch</em>. 5; 1–12. doi: 10.1044/2020_LSHSS-20-00003. </li></ol><h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter" target="_blank">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div>
Boys Town Collaborates to Expand Diversity in Speech Language Pathology and Audiologyhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/impact-efforts-expand-diversity-in-speech-language-pathology-audiology-fieldsBoys Town Collaborates to Expand Diversity in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology2020-10-06T05:00:00Z<p class="MsoNormalCxSpFirst">​Boys Town National Research Hospital is pleased to announce that we are supporting faculty at Hampton University and Case Western Reserve University in a program designed to improve minority representation in speech language pathology and audiology graduate programs, clinics, and research. </p><p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">The IMPACT (Innovative Mentoring and Professional Advancement through Cultural Training) Program is a 1-year program that will provide formal mentoring to students in communication sciences programs from underrepresented backgrounds. Mentorship will be provided by diverse faculty at research-intensive universities and hospitals to enhance practical learning opportunities through research training, communication skills development, and formal test preparation to improve the students’ readiness in graduate school.</p><p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">The overarching goal of the IMPACT Program, according to co-collaborators Jessica Sullivan, Ph.D. at Hampton University and Lauren Calandrucio, Ph.D., at Case Western Reserve University “is to begin to train the next generation of speech-language pathology and audiology leaders who encompass inclusion, diversity, and compassion.”</p><p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">Boys Town Hospital researchers, Monita Chatterjee, Ph.D. and Daniel Rasetshwane, Ph.D. will join students in September for a virtual “family dinner” where they will discuss their experiences as prominent scientists from underrepresented minority groups. On October 22, multiple investigators from Boys Town Hospital Research will be conducting virtual lab tours and providing an overview of what it’s like to be part of our research team.</p><p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., Director of Research, and Lori Leibold, Ph.D., Director of Hearing Research, will be supporting IMPACT Program initiatives at Boys Town National Research Hospital. Dr. Leibold explains that “Boys Town Hospital is committed to promoting inclusion and diversity. The IMPACT Program will give students who are traditionally underrepresented in hearing and language sciences insight into their fields of interest and prepare them to join the next generation of researchers and clinicians. We are proud to be a part of this effort, which will serve as a model for similar local programs in the future, supported by the IMPACT Program team.”</p><p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle">The IMPACT Program is funded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.</p><h2>About Boys Town National Research Hospital</h2><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital offers a broad range of hospital and clinic services, backed by 40 years of life-changing research to provide the latest, most innovative care to our patients. The Hospital is internationally recognized as a leader in hearing research and clinical care and is leading research efforts in language and neuroscience to improve the lives of children and families across America.</p><h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter" target="_blank">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div>
Boys Town Pediatric Neuroscience Expands Care to Help More Familieshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/pediatric-neuroscience-care-clinic-expansionBoys Town Pediatric Neuroscience Expands Care to Help More Families2020-10-02T05:00:00Z<p>​When children need neurological care, they need this life-changing, and often lifesaving, care as quickly as possible. To help meet this need, Boys Town National Research Hospital is expanding pediatric neuroscience care with more physicians, clinics and telemedicine to provide even greater access to care for children in the Omaha community and across the region. </p><p>With the recent addition of three pediatric neurologists, Boys Town Hospital is one of the largest pediatric neuroscience teams in the state with a team of neurologists, neurosurgeons and pediatric specialists to provide care for co-occurring conditions.</p><p>Pediatric Neuroscience services are now available at three locations: Boys Town Medical Clinic - Pacific Street, 14080 Boys Town Hospital Road on Boys Town Campus; Boys Town Medical Clinic – Downtown, 555 North 30<sup>th</sup> Street, and an outreach pediatric neurosurgery clinic at CNOS Medical Clinic in Dakota Dunes, SD. </p><p>To reach more children and families across the state and our neighboring communities, patients can now meet with their neurology specialists online. This service has been especially beneficial for the Boy Town Autism Clinic, as it allows children to remain in the comfort and familiarity of their home while visiting with their specialist.  </p><p>Boys Town Pediatric Neuroscience provides care for the whole child, from medical diagnosis and treatment to wrap-around services that address physiological, social, emotional and co-occurring conditions. We are excited to share of our growth and continue expanding neurological services that change the way America cares for children and families.</p><h2>Three Pediatric Neurologists Join Boys Town National Research Hospital</h2><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital is pleased to welcome three pediatric neurologists across two clinic locations: Boys Town Pacific Street Clinic, 14080 Hospital Road (Boys Town Campus) and 555 North 30<sup>th</sup>​ Street.</p><p> <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/NaranjoValeria.jpg" alt="Valeria Naranjo" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin-left:0px;margin-right:10px;width:170px;height:170px;" /> <strong>Valeria Naranjo, M.D.</strong>, is a pediatric neurologist with a special interest in neurodevelopmental disorders in children. She received her medical degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador in Quito, Ecuador and completed her pediatric residency at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY. She completed a child neurology fellowship at the University of Kentucky.<br clear="all"></p><p> <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/BandatmakurMadhav.jpg" alt="Madhav Bandatmakur" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin-left:0px;margin-right:10px;width:170px;height:170px;" /> <strong>Madhav Bandatmakur, M.D.</strong>, joins Boys Town Hospital from Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University where he completed his pediatric and pediatric neurology residency and served as chief resident and chief educational officer for the pediatrics department. He received his medical degree from Andhra Medical College in Visakhapatnam, India.<br clear="all"></p><p> <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/LullaDinesh.jpg" alt="Dinesh Lulla" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin-left:0px;margin-right:10px;width:170px;height:170px;" /> <strong>Dinesh Lulla, M.D.</strong>, is a pediatric neurologist with special interest in neurogenetics. He joins Boys Town Hospital from Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University where he completed his pediatric and pediatric neurology residency and served as chief resident for the child neurology department. He received his medical degree at National Medical College, Nair Hospital in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.<br clear="all"></p>
Language Benefits of Hearing Aid Use are Significant in Fourth-Grade Childrenhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/language-benefits-hearing-aid-useLanguage Benefits of Hearing Aid Use are Significant in Fourth-Grade Children2020-09-08T05:00:00Z<p>​While it is not the only factor, the quality of our children's hearing plays a pivotal role in how well they understand speech and develop spoken language skills. However, there is some ambiguity when it comes to assessing and treating kids with mild, bilateral hearing loss. In these cases, there is not always a strong clinical opinion for early fitting or consistent wearing of hearing devices. This is partly because these kids do not always appear noticeably different from their classmates in every day conversation, or on language tests, so clinicians and families may take a “wait-and-see" approach to hearing devices.</p><p>Scientists at Boys Town National Research Hospital and the University of Iowa have been collaborating on a series of studies to see what the real benefits of consistently worn and early fit hearing aids are for kids, and especially those with mild hearing loss. As part of this collaboration, Elizabeth Walker, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, and others recently assessed both written and spoken language skills of fourth-grade children to identify the language risks associated with mild hearing loss [1].</p><p>In this study, the team compared 60 children with mild, bilateral hearing loss and 69 peers with typical hearing. All participants were tested the summer after fourth grade. Dr. Walker and her team found that kids with hearing loss had significant deficits in spoken language comprehension and understanding of morphology—the structural parts of words that indicate verb tense or plurality, such as  the word endings in “He is play<em>ing</em>" or “She walk<em>ed</em>" or “many cat<em>s"</em>. In contrast, vocabulary and reading were not significantly different between the kids with hearing loss and typical hearing.</p><p>The goal of this study was not just to see what the language differences were, but also to see how intervention with hearing aids affected these outcomes. Therefore, Dr. Walker's team also needed to know from caregivers how much the kids in the hearing loss group wore their hearing aids. Kids with milder hearing loss, whose caregivers reported more time wearing hearing aids, did better with comprehension of spoken language than kids with more severe hearing loss and/or lower hearing aid usage.</p><h2>What These Findings Tell Us</h2><p>Findings from this study show us that consistent hearing aid use is important for kids to reach their full language potential. Furthermore, waiting to see how kids with mild, bilateral hearing loss do before recommending hearing amplification could come at the cost of some language ability. This is something clinicians should emphasize to families of children with mild hearing loss. Along with educating families, clinicians should strongly consider early hearing testing and intervention for children with mild hearing loss.</p><h2>Related reading</h2><p>Last year, Ryan McCreery Ph.D., Director of Research at Boys Town Hospital, and co-authors published a paper titled, <em>Audibility-based hearing aid fitting criteria for children with mild bilateral hearing loss [2]</em>. That paper outlines a set of guidelines for assessing when children with mild, bilateral hearing loss should be fitted with hearing aids based on language outcomes. <a href="/news/checking-speech-audibility-importance-when-assessing-hearing-loss">Read more about that study</a>.</p><h2>References</h2><ol><li>Walker E. A., Sapp C., Dallapiazza M., Spratford M., et. al. (2020) Language and Reading Outcomes in Fourth-Grade Children With Mild Hearing Loss Compared to Age-Matched Hearing Peers. <em>Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch</em>. 51(1):17–28. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_LSHSS-OCHL-19-0015" target="_blank">https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_LSHSS-OCHL-19-0015</a>. </li><li>McCreery R.W., Walker E.A., Stiles D.J., Spratford M., et. al. (2020) Audibility-based hearing aid fitting criteria for children with mild bilateral hearing loss. <em>Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch</em>.​ 51(1): 55–67. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_LSHSS-OCHL-19-0021" target="_blank">https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_LSHSS-OCHL-19-0021</a>.</li></ol><h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div> ​<br>
Alcohol and Cannabis Use Alter Emotional Processing of Future Eventshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/alcohol-cannabis-use-disruptionAlcohol and Cannabis Use Alter Emotional Processing of Future Events2020-08-27T05:00:00Z<p>​​Alcohol and cannabis are two of the most commonly abused drugs, and early use puts kids at higher risk of long-term cannabis and alcohol use disorders. Because their brains are still developing, there are substantial concerns about the long-term impacts of substance use. At Boys Town National Research Hospital, we often work with kids with substance use issues and our neurobehavioral research team is working to provide clinicians with a better understand of the impacts of substance use on the brain.<br></p><p>While most people understand that our short-term judgement is impaired under the influence of alcohol or cannabis, there is also evidence that regular substance use leads to longer term impairment in judging good or bad outcomes. With this in mind, the neurobehavioral research team, led by Joseph Aloi, M.D., Ph.D. and James Blair, Ph.D. recently conducted a study of 112 adolescents, 14 to 18 years old.  Their goal was to determine the extent the teens' prior alcohol and cannabis use affected how their processing of possible future outcomes.<br></p><div class="is-clearfix"><div class="inline-image is-size-7"> <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/OB_Picture.png" alt="brain activity" style="max-width:100%;" /> <p>Figure 1. Brain regions involved in responding to emotional outcomes that are less responsive in those with heavier prior cannabis use.</p></div><p style="margin-bottom:1rem;">The researchers found that severity of prior cannabis use, in particular, changed how the adolescent’s brains responded to high-intensity good, or high-intensity bad possible futures. This activity can be seen on brain scans in brain regions known to respond to emotional outcomes.<br></p><p>Representing emotional outcomes well is important. To live well, we need to act to avoid highly negative futures and work towards highly positive ones. The data from this study showed that cannabis use significantly impairs this ability.. </p><p>This problem also has implications for treatment. When someone comes in for treatment, one of the tools clinicians rely on is the person’s motivation to change drug use. A diminished capacity to imagine and and work towards a positive future identifies yet another difficulty faced by adolescents with a history of high cannabis use.​</p></div><p>One thing we don't yet know is how long these changes are. It will be important to determine the extent to which successful treatment, including the Boys Town model, reverses this difficulty. </p><h2>References</h2><ol><li>Aloi, J., Blair, K. S., Meffert, H., et. al. (2020) Alcohol use disorder and cannabis use disorder symptomatology in adolescents is associated with dysfunction in neural processing of future events. Addict Biol; epub ahead of print. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/adb.12885" target="_blank">https://doi.org/10.1111/adb.12885</a> </li></ol><h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div> ​<br>
Behavioral Health Care is Now Available in Every Boys Town Pediatrics Clinichttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/behavioral-health-available-in-every-clinicBehavioral Health Care is Now Available in Every Boys Town Pediatrics Clinic2020-08-03T05:00:00Z<p>​​​Boys Town outpatient child and adolescent psychiatry and behavioral health counseling services are now in five Boys Town Pediatrics clinics across Omaha. </p><p>Mental and emotional health has been ranked one of the top health concerns among children and teens in the Omaha metropolitan area, according to the recent <a href="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_docs/2018-Child-Adolescent-Community-Health-Needs-Assessment-Report.pdf" target="_blank">Child and Adolescent Community Health Needs Assessment</a>, a study sponsored by Boys Town National Research Hospital, Children's Hospital and Building Bright Futures. </p><p>“The need for mental health care for children continues to grow," said Jason Bruce, M.D., associate director of Boys Town primary care and pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics. “We have embedded psychiatry and counseling services into our primary pediatric clinics to provide greater access to this needed care, and to provide a team approach to mental, social and emotional care for our patients and their families."</p><p>During a medical visit or examination, a parent may reach out for behavioral health support or a child may show signs of mental health struggles. Having counselors and child psychiatrists in the same building with our pediatricians helps us better coordinate and accommodate the additional care that some of our patient families need. It also provides a resource for pediatricians if they have concerns about a patient and when to refer to a behavioral or mental health provider. </p><p>Boys Town Behavioral Health provides diagnostic and counseling services for children with ADHD, school problems, anxiety, anger management challenges, depression, phobias, peer relationship challenges, habits, sleep problems, eating disorders, neurodevelopmental delays and spectrum disorders. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry provides diagnostic services for the above, in addition to individualized treatment plans which may include medication management.  </p><p>“Boys Town is known for its top behavioral and mental health care services," said Dr. Bruce. “Now, we are improving access to these great services by bringing them to our patients." </p><p>Boys Town Pediatrics is located at five clinics across the Omaha area:</p><ul><li>Downtown Clinic (30<sup>th</sup> & Dodge Street)</li><li>72<sup>nd</sup> Street Clinic (72<sup>nd</sup> & W Center Road)</li><li>Pacific Street Clinic (139<sup>th</sup> & Pacific Street, on the Boys Town Campus)</li><li>Lakeside Clinic (168<sup>th</sup> between W Center Road and Pacific Street)</li><li>Harrison Street Clinic (180<sup>th</sup> & Harrison Street)</li></ul>​ <p>If you are a current Boys Town Pediatrics patient family and are interested in behavioral health services, please talk to your child's physician or medical provider, or call <a class="js-phone">(531) 355-1449</a>.​</p>
Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., Recognized for Professional Achievement with Prestigious ASHA Awardhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/prestigious-asha-professional-achievement-award-ryan-mccreeryRyan McCreery, Ph.D., Recognized for Professional Achievement with Prestigious ASHA Award2020-08-03T05:00:00Z<p>​​​​We are very pleased to recognize our Director of Research, <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/ryan-mccreery">Ryan McCreery, Ph.D.</a>, for his selection as a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). ASHA has more than 211,000 members and is the primary professional, credentialing and scientific organization for speech-language pathologists, audiologists and speech/language/hearing scientists. Fellowship is the most prestigious recognition they can award for professional contribution and achievement. </p><div class="is-clearfix"><div class="inline-image is-size-7">​​​​​​​​<img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/McCreeryRyan.jpg" alt="Ryan McCreery, Ph.D." class="inline-image__image" /> <h2 class="is-size-5">Ryan McCreery, Ph.D.</h2><p>Director of Research, Boys Town</p></div>​ ​ <p>Dr. McCreery was nominated by his colleagues, including ASHA Fellow Mary Pat Moeller, Ph.D. Among his many leadership strengths, Dr. Moeller emphasizes that “Dr. McCreery brings a rare combination of clinical and scientific expertise, people skills, management knowledge, the ability to make tough decisions and a strong vision for the future of the organization he is leading.” </p><p>Ryan joined Boys Town National Research Hospital in 2004 as a research audiologist. He worked with Pat Stelmachowicz, Ph.D., former Director of Audiology at Boys Town Hospital, who realized that Ryan would make an excellent researcher and encouraged him to pursue his doctorate. Ryan earned his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2011, researching hearing and top-down processing of auditory information in children. </p><p>Along with being Director of Research, Dr. McCreery is also Director of the Audibility, Perception, and Cognition Laboratory. His current research is advancing our understanding of the importance of auditory experience, including optimal hearing amplification in kids with hearing loss, for the proper development of language. </p><p>Dr. McCreery’s research helps families and clinicians understand the importance of consistently wearing hearing aids to facilitate a rich sound environment that supports healthy brain development. Ryan also recently published guidelines that emphasize language understanding and development when fitting hearing aids in children. Dr. McCreery also notes that “children who lack sufficient sound exposure early on, may not attain their full language potential even if they get that experience later in life.” </p><p>One of Dr. McCreery’s regular collaborators, Beth Walker, Ph.D., at the University of Iowa describes his research by saying, “Ryan McCreery has accomplished more in terms of promoting evidence-based practice in pediatric audiology in 10 years than most people accomplish in a lifetime.” </p><p>To understand why Dr. McCreery deserves this award, you simply need to look at how versatile he is as an investigator, leader and administrator. Brenda M. Ryals, Ph.D., is a professor at James Madison University and a colleague of Dr. McCreery. She sums up her support for his award with: “A brief review of Dr. McCreery’s resume provides easy evidence for his skill and success at administration. It is nothing less than astounding to review the speed with which Dr. McCreery moved from Research Audiologist in the Boys Town Hospital Hearing Aid Research Laboratory (2007) to Director of Research in 2017. Such a speedy advancement is a strong indication of his superior skills in administration, as well as the high degree of regard with which he is held by peers and higher administration.” </p><p>Ryan also takes a special interest in mentoring researchers who are at the beginning of their careers and helping them to meet their full potential. Many of his peers would likely agree with Adam Bosen, Ph.D., who said, “He is willing to commit resources, both institutional and his own time, to ensure the success of researchers at Boys Town. Despite his numerous responsibilities, he has never turned down a request to meet with me and has always provided high quality advice on anything I have asked him about. I have said numerous times that I think Boys Town National Research Hospital is the best place in the world for me to start my career, and I believe that Ryan's leadership is an essential component of what makes Boys Town excel in hearing science.”​</p><p>Dr. McCreery is highly sought after for his ability to communicate clinical and scientific information. He has given over 160 talks. His schedule is always full but never too full to find time to look out for the needs of his colleagues. Perhaps most importantly, Dr. McCreery remains energetic and committed and likely has many years ahead in a career that has already benefitted so many. </p><p>​On behalf of Boys Town National Research Hospital, we would like to congratulate Dr. McCreery for being recognized for his research, clinical care and leadership and for his contributions to advancing the fields of audiology and speech-language pathology to improve the lives of children and families. </p><h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div></div>
Developmental Language Disorder Affects Adult Learning Toohttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/developmental-language-disorder-affects-adult-learningDevelopmental Language Disorder Affects Adult Learning Too2020-07-24T05:00:00Z<p>​<a href="/knowledge-center/red-flags-developmental-language-disorder">​Developmental language disorder (DLD)</a> is a common condition, affecting around 7% of the population. A key feature of DLD is that it cannot be explained by other conditions that affect language learning like intellectual disability, <a href="/knowledge-center/autism-spectrum-disorder">autism s​pectrum disorder</a>, or <a href="/knowledge-center/about-hearing-loss">hearing impairment</a>. In other words, the primary problem is difficulty learning, understanding, and using language. The problem arises in childhood; however, DLD persists into adulthood, interfering with language learning in ways that can affect educational and professional achievement. </p><p>Most research on DLD is focused on school-aged children ​where the goal is to support effective strategies for educational programs. For adults with DLD, there is much less awareness and information. <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/karla-mcgregor">Karla McGregor, Ph.D.</a>, and her team at Boys Town National Research Hospital have been working to address this information disparity. </p><p>In a series of studies they hav​e examined the ability of young adults with DLD to learn and recall new words. Dr. McGregor explained that “there are many parts to learning a new word, including its sounds, spelling, meaning, grammatical role, and its appropriate use”. Her research shows that adults with DLD have strengths and well as weaknesses in various aspects of word learning. </p><p>In their most recent study [1], the team found that learning new words is a challenge for young adults with DLD but, once learned, their memory for the new words was generally good. There is also an interesting finding from this study that the women demonstrated stronger retention of the words than men, although this finding varies across studies. When it comes to new words, learning the sounds and their order is difficult for people with DLD, but learning word meaning is also a relative strength. </p><p>One of the biggest challenges with DLD is awareness. It is a prevalent condition, but many people have never heard of it. Researchers at Boys Town Hospital and around the world are working to educate people, develop resources, and raise awareness. If you are interested in learning more about these efforts, check out Raising Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder (RADLD) and <a href="https://www.dldandme.org/" target="_blank">DLDandMe.org</a> for more articles and information.</p>​ <h2>References</h2><ol><li>McGregor, K.K., Arbisi-Kelm, T., Eden, N., Oleson, J. (2020) The word learning profile of adults with developmental language disorder; Autism & Developmental Language Impairment; 5(1) 1–19. DOI:10.1177/2396941519899311</li></ol><h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div>
Going the Distance for Life-changing Care: Lincoln's Storyhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/life-changing-craniofacial-care-lincolns-storyGoing the Distance for Life-changing Care: Lincoln's Story2020-07-23T05:00:00Z<p>​​​​Little Lincoln Johnston’s path to Omaha might have been long, but his road to recovery looks to be on track thanks to the doctors and staff at Boys Town National Research Hospital. </p><p>Kylee Johnston and her husband started to notice ridges on Lincoln’s head at 1 year old. Lincoln’s pediatrician assured his parents the ridges were normal, and kids can grow out of it. However, when they returned for Lincoln’s 18-month check-up, the pediatrician said it was time to look to a specialist. </p><p>Lincoln was diagnosed with sagittal craniosynostosis. This condition causes pressure on the brain and prevents it from growing. Surgery can reduce the pressure and allow for proper brain development. </p><p>With the Johnston family being from Collinsville, Oklahoma, they had never heard of Boys Town Hospital, but that all changed. </p><p>Kylee turned to her craniosynostosis group on Facebook for recommendations and heard great feedback about Dr. Jason Miller, craniofacial surgeon, and Dr. Linden Fornof​f, pediatric neurosurgeon, at Boys Town Hospital, and the family decided to make the drive to Omaha. </p><p>In November of 2019, the Johnstons came to Omaha and decided surgery was Lincoln’s best option. Dr. Miller and Dr. Fornoff removed a small strip of Lincoln’s skull allowing Lincoln’s brain to expand and grow normally. </p><p>The Johnstons said they couldn’t have been more pleased with their experience at Boys Town Hospital. </p><p>“The whole hospital experience was great,” Kylee said. “Lincoln had been hospitalized before, but we have never seen the doctors as much as we did here. I felt he was a priority. From the first appointment, to the diagnosis, to the surgery, the care here was just phenomenal, and I haven’t seen that care at another hospital.”</p>​ <p>Approved by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, the comprehensive team of physicians, surgeons, clinicians, nurses and support staff help make Boys Town Hospital a truly unique place to care for children with craniofacial conditions. </p><p>For Lincoln and the Johnston family, the journey to Omaha was a life-changer.</p><div class="embed-container"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wKk86kezYGE" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div>
Researchers Investigating How Isolation is Stressing Kids During the COVID-19 Pandemichttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/how-isolation-social-distancing-affect-kids-mental-healthResearchers Investigating How Isolation is Stressing Kids During the COVID-19 Pandemic2020-07-22T05:00:00Z<p>​​There are many societal impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, beyond just the viral illness. One of the most widespread impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is the sudden, unexpected social isolation resul​ting from adults and children being encouraged or forced to stay at home, sometimes with accompanying job loss. W​hile isolation helps to slow the spread of the virus, it also creates another stressful and unhealthy set of problems.</p><p>Researchers at Boys Town National Research Hospital, led by <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/stuart-white">Stuart White, Ph.D.</a> and <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/anastasia-kerr-german">Anastasia Kerr-German, Ph.D.</a>, are attempting to determine how the sudde​n shift this spring has been affecting children who, without any transition, went from highly social school environments to at-home isolation. According to Dr. White, this pandemic is unprecedented in modern times, and technology and media make it unlike any historic comparisons. </p><p>Since COVID-19 virus transmission is still a concern, Dr. White and Dr. Kerr-German designed <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/neurobehavioral/current-studies/covid-19-isolation-study">an online study to assess how the stress of this pandemic is affecting kids</a>. The study has several components to help us get a clear idea of how kids are handling stress. Kids who participate will fill out a survey that asks relevant questions about things like how they are coping, how they feel about being at home, and their relation​ships. Parents will also complete a survey asking questions about how the family is coping with the pandemic. </p><p>Along with these quality of life indicators, youth will complete a series of downloadable computer tasks. Dr. Kerr-German says that their task performance will quantify things like emotion regulation, attention, and adaptive thinking. Finally, the data from the assessments will be put into biological context with hormone levels from a small hair sample. </p><p>Dr. White explains that human hair stores certain biological markers of stress that can be reliably analyzed for up to 3 months after a stressful event. Hair samples are also ideal for this study because they can be easily done at home and sent through the mail with minimal precautions. </p><p>This research will support our own extensive youth care programs, as well as supporting best practices at other organizations. School administrators and other policy makers are also in need this kind of critical information as they weigh the importance of returning to school and assessing what complicating factors they will need to deal with when they are allowed to return. If you are interested in finding out more about this study, you can contact the lab at <a href="mailto:DCN.lab@boystown.org">DCN.lab@boystown.org</a>.</p><h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div>
Childhood Sexual Trauma Alters Emotional Regulation and Brain Developmenthttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/childhood-sexual-trauma-alters-emotional-regulation-brain-developmentChildhood Sexual Trauma Alters Emotional Regulation and Brain Development2020-06-25T05:00:00Z<p>​​​​​Traumatic experiences during childhood have the ability to disrupt long-term brain development and function. Advances in imaging technology have shown us that not all traumatic experiences do this in the same way. Sexual trauma, in particular, severely alters how the brain responds to perceived threats as the child learns to deal with the terrible experience.</p><p> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/faculty/karina-blair">Karina Blair, Ph.D​</a>. is a behavioral neuroscientist at Boys Town National Research Hospital, and an e​xpert in the area of how trauma affects brain development. She has been using functional brain imaging (fMRI) to investigate the areas of the brain that are involved in trauma, and especially looking for changes that persist long after specific events and relative to different types of trauma.</p><p>Much of the literature on post-traumatic stress is focused on the amygdala, a small, almond-shaped region in the brain that is associated with emotional responding and fear. In a recent paper, Dr. Blair was interested in how other regions that may also be involved might also be altered.</p><p>For this study, Dr. Blair worked with 23 adolescents who had reported sexual trauma, and 24 adolescents who had not experienced significant trauma as comparisons. Participants were placed in an fMRI scanner that allowed her to measure increases or decreases in brain function in specific anatomical regions while they were shown either threatening or neutral images.</p><p>Dr. Blair and her team identified several areas of increased activation during threatening stimuli. These areas of the brain were in the frontal lobe that we know are involved in emotional responding and regulation that are also necessary for understanding social situations. The data appears to suggest that past sexual abuse may cause exaggerated responses when these kids are exposed to stimuli that are perceived as threatening, or potentially threatening.</p><p>Dr. Blair's work helps clinicians at Boys Town Hospital, and elsewhere, understand what has happened to the brains of children after trauma. It's a useful tool for selecting and developing appropriate treatment plans. Unfortunately, these kids also end up in trouble more frequently. Understanding that, unless they get the right help, their brains have been altered for the long-term, if not permanently. This shows the critical need to help children get the right help and not punish them for things beyond their control. </p><p>For over 100 years Boys Town has been treating and advocating for children under these and other terribl​e circumstances. Our research team is critical to our efforts to provide the best care possible for these youth.​<br></p><p>Read more about the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/neurobehavioral">Center for Neurobehavioral Research</a> at Boys Town.</p><h2>References</h2><ol><li>Blair, K. S., Bashford-Largo, J., Shah, N., et. al. (2020) <i>Sexual Abuse in Adolescents Is Associated With Atypically​ Increased Responsiveness Within Regions Implicated in Self-Referential and Emotional Processing to Approaching Animate Threats</i>. Front. Psychiatry; <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00345" target="_blank">https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00345</a>.</li></ol> <h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div>
Boys Town Stands for Racial Equalityhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/boys-town-stands-for-racial-equalityBoys Town Stands for Racial Equality2020-06-18T05:00:00Z<p>​Nearly a century ago, Boys Town founder Father Edward Flanagan spoke these profound words: </p><h3>"I … see danger for all in an ideology which discriminates against anyone politically or economically because he or she was born into the 'wrong' race, has skin of the 'wrong' color, or worships at the 'wrong' altar."</h3><p>Today, America is at a crossroads. The dangerous ideology of racism Father Flanagan described then continues to exist today. </p><p>At Boys Town, we share the sadness of so many mourning the senseless killings due to violence and racism. We also share the anger that is sweeping our natio​n as we unequivocally condemn all forms of racism, hatred, and injustice that tear at the seams of our society.</p><p>When Father Flanagan opened his first Home for Boys in 1917, he welcomed kids of every race, color, and creed. But his efforts to be inclusive and compassionate in his care of children went far beyond creating a place where they could grow and thrive. Father Flanagan also recognized and rejected the laws and customs that enshrined and reinforced institutional racism. He passionately attacked those unfair laws and practices, shining a spotlight on prejudice and injustice, and using Boys Town as a model for the incredible possibilities that existed when people of all colors lived, worked, and played side by side in mutual respect and equality.</p><p> <strong>Boys Town has never wavered from the principles on which it was founded. As a passionate advocate of positive social change, we firmly stand with those individuals and groups who have dedicated themselves to the cause of racial equality and justice, and strongly support their efforts to bring about lasting, significant change. </strong> </p><p>We have recognized since our formation that it is not enough to simply avoid racist behavior as individuals. We all must work together proactively to create a more just, a more peaceful, and a more equitable society. We all must live by the values of diversity and inclusion more deeply in the days, months, and years to come. We all must strive to re-create a society in which everyone feels that they belong, that they matter, and that they are respected for who they are.</p><p>People have rediscovered their voice, and their pain and anger are being felt and heard. Boys Town adds its voice to this rising chorus with the fervent hope that racism, injustice, and prejudice can finally be vanquished.     </p><p>God's Blessings,</p><p>Father Steven E. Boes<br>President and National Executive Director, Boys Town</p>
Pediatric Autism and Down Syndrome Clinics Now Openhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/pediatric-autism-down-syndrome-clinic-now-openPediatric Autism and Down Syndrome Clinics Now Open2020-06-15T05:00:00Z<p>​Boys Town National Research Hospital is pleased to announce the <a href="/services/down-syndrome-clinic">Down Syndrome Clinic</a> and the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/services/autism-clinic">Autism Clinic</a>. The two clinics are open and ready to care for pediatric patients. These clinics are structured to care for the whole child with comprehensive medical and clinical care, as well as school support.</p><p>“We are here to provide a holistic approach to management of complex neurological conditions,” said <a href="/physicians/shaguna-mathur">Shaguna Mathur, M.D., pediatric neurologist</a> and lead physician of the clinics. “We work closely with the families to create a treatment plan that is unique and catered to each child.”</p>“We are here to provide care for the whole child, said <p>Children with autism and Down syndrome have unique medical and clinical needs and often have co-occurring medical conditions. Our goal is to identify these needs early and provide coordinated care and treatment to maximize a child’s development. Boys Town Hospital’s comprehensive clinics are designed to p​rovide diagnosis, management and care in one familiar location. The comprehensive clinic team includes specialists and clinicians in pediatric neurology, developmental-behavioral pediatrics, behavioral health, genetic counseling, physical therapy and social work, among others. Select services offer virtual appointments, allowing families to get the care they need from the comfort of their home. </p><p>The Autism Clinic and Down Syndrome Clinic are located at Boys Town National Research Hospital's  <a href="/locations/pacific-street-clinic">Pacific Street Clinic</a> on the Boys Town Campus. </p>
DO BETTER: A Framework for Organizations to Implement Translational Research Knowledge for Clinical Practicehttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/implementing-translational-research-knowledge-in-clinical-careDO BETTER: A Framework for Organizations to Implement Translational Research Knowledge for Clinical Practice2020-06-03T05:00:00Z<p>​​The passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) in 2018 includes new rules for social service organizations to formally follow practices that are supported by clinical research ([1]; U.S. Bipartisan Act, 2018). In recognition of these important changes to the law, researchers at Boys Town National Research Hospital, led by Patrick Tyler, Ph.D., Director of Research Translation, have published a framework to help organizations meet the new requirements [2].</p><p>Simply put, research translation means taking the findings from controlled research studies and applying them to protocols for use in treatment. This broad term can cover any area of medical or behavioral therapy applications. The DO BETTER framework is built on published studies on translational research practices as well as the extensive experience of our team at the <a href="https://www.boystown.org/research/Pages/Translational-Research-Center.aspx" target="_blank">Boys Town Child and Family Translational Research Center</a> in order to produce a clear plan for implementing research into practice [2]. A summary of the framework can be viewed in the <a href="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_docs/Do-Better-Framework-Boys-Town-Translational-Research-Center.pdf" target="_blank">accompanying PDF</a>.</p><p>As organizations look to implement their own research requirements for the FFPSA, they will want a research model that adds seamles​sly to their current practices. The DO BETTER framework acknowledges the need for research programs that specifically responds to the needs of practitioners and families. Those needs can be identified based on views from practitioners and consumers using surveys, focus groups, and interviews. The organization can then identify the practitioners, clients and researchers who will collaborate to help solve the problem.</p><p>The team approach is critical to the DO BETTER framework. This ensures that the research addresses the issues specific to the treatment programs and that the findings are not blind to the practical limitations of providing care. Involving practitioners and families in the research also increases confidence that the results are relevant to their needs. For the researchers, this collaboration will help improve their future experimental designs, as well as its relevance to society. Additionally, successful collaborations can increase the prominence and visibility of a research program through word of mouth and project successes. </p><p>The overarching goals of the FFPSA are to provide the best care to families by following practices that are supported by good research. The inclusion of a collaborative research program that monitors clinical data can also help practitioners identify issues that may not be overtly obvious and help improve treatment programs. Our goal with DO BETTER is to make that process easier to achieve with a clear set of steps that are outlined in the <a href="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_docs/Do-Better-Framework-Boys-Town-Translational-Research-Center.pdf" target="_blank">accompanying PDF</a>. A more detailed description is published in the article <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10566-020-09548-3" target="_blank">Practice to Research and Back in a Social Service Agency: Trying to DO BETTER in the journal Child & Youth Care Forum</a> [2].</p><h2>References</h2><ol><li>Wilson, S., Price, C. S., Kerns, S. E. U., et. al. (2019). <i>Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse. Handbook of standards and procedures. Version 1.0.</i> Office of Planning Research and Evaluation. Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.</li><li>Tyler, P. M., Mason, W. A., Vollmer, B., Trout A. L. (2020) Practice to Research and Back in a Social Service Agency: Trying to DO BETTER. <i>Child & Youth Care Forum</i>, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-020-09548-3.</li></ol><h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div>
Research During the COVID-19 Pandemichttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/research-during-covid-19-pandemicResearch During the COVID-19 Pandemic2020-06-03T05:00:00Z<p>​​​Life-changing research doesn't stop during a pandemic. For more than 40 years, Boys Town National Research Hospital has been conducting research to improve lives. Our mission is to change the way America cares for children and families. Below are some of the ways we are continuing our mission during these unprecedented times.</p><h2>Continuing to Train and Innovate</h2><p>Each year, Boys Town Hospital selects audiology student investigators to participate in a summer research traineeship. This program is designed to give formal research experience through a mix of clinical and research audiology experiences, presentations, and scientific group discussions. This summer we will still host our students, and they will be challenged to find new ways to answer questions about hearing and speech recognition through virtual tools.</p><h2>Research Forging Ahead</h2><p>With the current pause in inviting research volunteers to come to our laboratories to participate in studies, our researchers have moved to online interviews, questionnaires and mobile applications for testing. Some studies are even collecting hair or other biological samples, which can be done with simple instructions through the mail, for needed data.</p><h2>Researching Health Outcomes of the Pandemic</h2><p>Our behavioral health scientists regularly investigate brain development as well as asking how traumatic experiences such as abuse and neglect affect neural, cognitive​, and social development. Unfortunately, this COVID-19 pandemic has presented a societal trauma on a very large scale, including impacts on our youth who have experienced weeks of disruption to their school, daily routines and social lives. </p><p>Additionally, new precautions for wearing masks and social distancing may have an even greater impact on children with hearing and communications difficulties. These kids rely more than others on facial expressions to get the full meaning of speech. Our hearing and language experts are looking at how this new reality is affecting them and way we might be able to help.</p><p>Our researchers are working with our youth care programs to monitor how these large-scale disruptions in daily life, and the accompanying stress, are affecting treatment progress and outcomes. The research team is uniquely positioned to examine the effects of these changes on children and adolescents through our community relationships with families and care providers. Over the coming months, these researchers will be helping the nation understand how the isolation, change in routines, and the stress of the pandemic have affected our youth.​</p><h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div>​<br>
Residential Care for At-Risk Youth has Long-Term Economic Benefits for Governments and Societyhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/economic-benefits-helping-at-risk-youthResidential Care for At-Risk Youth has Long-Term Economic Benefits for Governments and Society2020-04-27T05:00:00Z<p>​​Residential care for youth with severe emotional or behavioral issues involves intensive treatment and around-the-clock care. This makes the cost of care high and policy makers often want to know if there are other ways to provide this care or to reduce the amount of services in order to reduce costs. However, young people typically end up in these programs only after multiple other forms of care have been tried and failed, making group residential care programs very important. Therefore, it is vital to show the value of these services and to advocate for continued support.</p><p>Researchers at Boys Town and elsewhere have been looking at ways to place the context of residential care in relationship to the costs of not providing these services. In a recent study, Jonathan C. Huefner and his colleagues adapted a previously developed Return on Investment Tool (ROI tool) for use with Boys Town’s Family Home Program data [1]. The ROI tool relates the cost of care to projected government fiscal and societal impacts, including increased economic contributions after treatment, tax revenue increases from employment gains, and costs associated with criminal recidivism and dependency on safety-net programs like unemployment [2].</p><p>The study looked at 141 individuals who had been treated for less than 6 months (median stay of 3.7 months) and 1031 who had been in treatment for longer than 6 months (median stay of 18.4 months). Outcomes were assessed by a 35-question assessment that was given 24 months after treatment. To compare the 2 groups, the authors normalized the data for the smaller group to the cost of similarly treating 1031 youth. Costs can only be compared for shorter treatment vs. longer treatment because it would be unethical to have a comparison group of young people needing treatment that do not receive it.</p><p>When it comes to cost, one thing that policy makers are often concerned about is whether there is really a need for longer, more costly stays; represented here as stays longer than 6 months. They reasonably want to know if a shorter stay could produce similar results while saving expense. In this study, the authors report that there was a definite benefit for kids who were in treatment for longer than 6 months, with higher educational achievement, better employment outcomes, and​ reduced recidivism. Here is a brief summary of the findings in this paper [1]:</p><ul><li>The estimated cost to care for 1031 kids for 6 months or less was approximately $29 million, whereas the estimated cost for the same number of youth in treatment for more than 6 months was $153 million.</li><li>The net benefit to government is estimated at $44 million through increased revenue and decreased expenditures in the future. However, with the increased cost of care for longer treatment amounts to an $80 million additional cost to the government.</li><li>The societal savings through increased productivity, better employment, and other contributions over a 40-year adult lifetime increased for the more-than-6-month group by $325 million.</li><li>For the group that received more than 6 months of care, the authors calculate that for every $1 spent the societal lifetime return is $3.61.</li></ul><p>A short-term perspective which focuses only on governmental expenditure might conclude that the cost of care is greater than the fiscal returns. This perspective ignores the real human impacts of not taking care of these kids, which most people would not advocate. However, adult lifetime societal savings that are realized by giving kids who need it more care, training and education makes it clear that complete treatment has financial benefits that exceed any arbitrary cutoff. Such improvements (e.g., increased productivity and wages) have a direct impact on the community through spending and investment by these individuals over time. These outcomes should be of concern to policy makers who we need to support these programs.</p><h2>References</h2><ol><li>Huefner J.C., Jay L. Ringle J.L., Thompson R.W., and Wilson F.A., (2018) Economic evaluation of residential length of stay and long-term outcomes. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 35(3), 192–208.</li><li>Wilson F.A., Araz O.M., Thompson R.W., Ringle J.L., et. al. (2016) A decision support tool​ to determine cost-to-benefit of a family-centered in-home program for at-risk adolescents. Eval Program Plann, 56, 43–49.</li></ol><h2>Research Newsletter</h2><p>Please sign up to receive occasional research news and events emails from Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><div align="center"> <a class="button is-primary" href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/newsletter">Newsletter Sign-Up</a></div>
Virtual Learning Begins for Children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing at Preschoolhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/virtual-learning-deaf-hard-of-hearing-childrenVirtual Learning Begins for Children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing at Preschool2020-04-23T05:00:00Z<p>As our communities and nation face the extraordinary and unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis, we at Boys Town are changing our services to adjust to the pandemic. Because we are currently unable to serve children in a fixed learning environment, we are using technology to reach the children.​</p><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital’s Early Education Services – part of the <a href="/services/center-for-childhood-deafness-language-learning">Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning</a> – is working hard to develop virtual lesson plans and recording videos for the families they serve. The two programs that are providing virtual e-learning are the <a href="/services/center-for-childhood-deafness-language-learning/preschool-program">Preschool Program</a> and the <a href="/services/center-for-childhood-deafness-language-learning/early-intervention-program">Parent-Infant Early Intervention Program</a>. Each of these services provides comprehensive programs and learning for infants and young children who are deaf or hard of hearing.</p><p>Children who are deaf or hard of hearing are at risk for speech and language delays which may impact their current and future academic success. They often require intensive educational intervention​s to make sure their learning keeps pace with their peers who are hearing. Providing services during this time is critical to support their ongoing growth and development.</p><p>“We want to make sure families can continue to support their children’s development during this time.,” said Cathy Carotta, Director of Clinical, Educational and Outreach Programs at the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning. “We can do this naturally by providing parents with suggestions for supporting their children’s language and listening development using regular home routines.”</p><p>Our counseling team for deaf or hard of hearing students is also providing tele-counseling services to those students who were previously enr​olled in services. These services are provided through a contract with ESU #3.</p><p>The Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning is also continuing to provide <a href="/services/pediatric-speech-language-therapy">Pediatric Speech-Language Therapy</a> for their students as well as community patients via virtual visits. Early intervention for children who struggle with speech and language development is important for their future success with reading, talking and learning. Our mission with these services is to make sure any child with speech, language, or communication needs can access support during the COVID-19 outbreak.</p><p>To learn more about the programs and services offered for children at the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning, <a href="/services/center-for-childhood-deafness-language-learning">visit our website</a>.</p><h2>Resources for Families</h2><p>Check out these examples of at home activities provided by our preschool teachers. These sensory, art and music guides can be enjoyed by families regardless of hearing ability.</p><ul><li><a href="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_docs/Music-Art-Ideas-for-Home-Learning.pdf">Music Art Ideas for Home Learning</a></li><li><a href="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_docs/At-Home-Sensory-Play.pdf">At Home Sensory Play</a><br></li></ul>