Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders faculty Jennie Harvey-Northrop, Ph.D., and Ciera Lorio, Ph.D., have received Interdisciplinary Grants from the College of Arts and Sciences. The purpose of these grants is to expand existing programs and build new interdisciplinary connections between programs in the college.

Harvey’s project, “A cross-university, multi-state, multi-site collaboration to apply for external funding for the Bingocize, cognitive, exercise, and social interdisciplinary program,” includes faculty collaborators in the fields of exercise science and kinesiology and speech-language pathology at Western Kentucky University and Midwestern University. The goal of this project is to bring the Bingocize cognitive, exercise, and social interdisciplinary program to nursing homes in Illinois. Bingocize is an innovative program that combines physical exercise, cognitive stimulation, socialization, and health education in the context of a familiar “bingo” game (Shake, Crandall, Mathews, Falls, and Dispennette, 2018). It is a featured Civil Money Penalties Grant (CMP) program and is on the National Council on Aging (NCOA) list of evidence-based fall prevention programs.

Lorio’s project, “Interdisciplinary Opportunities in Early Intervention Caregiver Coaching for students in CSD and SED,” brings together professionals in the Department of Special Education (SED) and Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD). Team members include Maribeth Lartz, Ph.D. (SED); Ann Beck, Ph.D. (CSD); Karla Giese (SED); and Heidi Harbers, Ph.D. (CSD). The goal of this project is to create a pilot interdisciplinary learning experience for students who have an interest in pursuing careers in early intervention.

Early intervention programs play a vital role in promoting optimal developmental and educational outcomes for children with disabilities and providing advocacy and support for their families. The team hopes this learning experience will evolve into a larger-scale program that can better address the chronic shortages of early intervention providers who have expertise in speech, language, and caregiver coaching interventions.

Together, these worthy projects address the critical needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.