SHANGHAI – Dr. Laura Gaudet, Chadron State College counseling and psychology professor and department chair, returned to China for the second time this year to once again present at a professional conference. She was one of more than 60 speakers at the International Conference on Higher Education Research in Shanghai Sept. 18-20.
In late May, she represented Chadron State College at an international neuropsychology conference, “Neuro-Talk 2015,” in Hangzhou.
The title of Gaudet’s presentation was “Technological and Instructional Advance for Students with ‘Low-Incidence Disabilities’ in the United States: New Advances for Students with Traumatic Brain Injury and Autism.”
The presentation focuses on the causes and impairments resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The causes include diseases, substance abuse, athletic injuries, car accidents and assaults. The most common age range of injuries is 15 to 24.
Additional injuries are likely following a TBI due to impulsivity and judgement deficits and balance and coordination problems, according to Gaudet.
She stressed the importance of immediate assessment and treatment of a TBI by medical professionals. Sometime victims show no outward symptoms increasing the risk they will not receive prompt and adequate care.
Cognitive rest is also an important aspect of treatment following a concussion. This is a state in which the patient reduces cognitive activities that require concentration and attention such as school work, video games and text messaging.
“Reading, even leisure reading, can worsen symptoms,” Gaudet said.
Turning to the Autism portion of her presentation, Gaudet explained that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are the most well-known of Pervasive Development Disorders (PDDs), conditions that involve impaired communication, social, behavioral and cognitive skills.
She explained three functional levels and therapeutic interventions including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), one of the most empirically supported approaches. She cited examples of children helped by the approach along with Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) and Discrete Trial Teaching.
Technology also holds promise for helping people with ASD to communicate, some for the first time. Research into apps for mobile devices in Canada is slow but promising, Gaudet said.
She closed her presentation with a section entitled, “Heads up to Schools,” including TBI advice for school nurses, parents, athletes, coaches, teachers, counselors and administrators about prevention, treatment and accommodations.
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