2019-2020 Recap

Research Recap

This year, the ATS Research Associate Network was established to promote innovative, research driven programing. The network is made of up faculty and students from across the University and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center (CCHMC).  Our goal is to create an atmosphere in which faculty, students, and people with disabilities work together to engage in research that guides our programs and allows us to make a difference in our own community and beyond. Currently, there is at least one ongoing research focus in each program, with additional activities that occur across ATS.

2019-2020 Our Year Of Progress

Advancement and Transition Services is committed to developing innovative programming driven by research and best practices.  The mission of ATS is to provide meaningful, quality life experiences for people with disabilities.  Students and associates in the ATS programs connect with their communities, engage in employment opportunities, and develop skills to become more independent.  The 2019-2020 academic year was filled with memorable moments and achievements.

IMPACT Innovation is a year-round program at UC for adults with autism and/or communication, behavior, or sensory differences.  IMPACT associates participate in meaningful, inclusive experiences throughout the day on UC’s campus. 2019-2020 year was full of life-changing successes from increasing enrollment, adding fun and thoughtful programming, providing meaningful employment opportunities, expanding transportation, and quickly adjusting services to keep participants engaged and connected despite physical isolation brought on by the pandemic.

Enrollment increased from 18 to 23! IMPACT is a highly sought-after program, but capacity is limited due to space and funding.  The IMPACT team was able to streamline schedules and re-design the office space to welcome several new associates to the program.

Developing employment skills is a major focus in IMPACT.  Associates engaged in internships at ACE Hardware, UC Greenhouse, UC Biology research, the UC Rec Center and many Aramark/UC Dining services locations.  Three IMPACT associates became part-time employees working on campus in a variety of jobs. 

Providing activities based on interests is a high priority.  This year, IMPACT partnered with Art with Intention, Project Yoga, and Ensemble Theatre to provide a variety of fun and engaging weekly programs.  IMPACT also hosted three art shows inviting friends, family, and supporters to showcase the beautiful projects. In addition to the arts, health and wellness is an important part of IMPACT. A partnership with physical therapist, Puja Gaitonde owner of Big Blue Canopy, lead to the development of individualized exercise plans for each associate.  The plans were implemented daily at UC’s Rec Center along with accessing small group nutrition classes. Associates unleashed their creativity, engaged in mindfulness, and achieved health and fitness goals, all of which have become essential to the program.

Transportation is a challenge for people with disabilities and often limits access to the community, programs, and employment.  IMPACT remedied this problem by starting and expanding a transportation service. With the support from a generous donor and a creative partnership with UC Night Ride, IMPACT successfully ran two routes providing transportation to and from UC to 13 associates.  Not only does this provide families with a reliable service, but it also provides a secondary revenue source to support the program.

IMPACT Innovation, like many other services, was forced to temporarily close its doors and stop in-person services.  This was devastating for so many, but the IMPACT team quickly responded by implementing virtual services that included weekly classes focused on communication and health and wellness, opportunities for socializing with friends, mindfulness meetings, and regular calls, emails, and texts.   Staying connected and having a routine was critical to managing the isolation.