Interdisciplinary Training for Inclusive Practices (ITIP) is a three-year preparation and implementation program for occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), and speech and language pathology (SLP) students to develop practice, collaboration, and leadership competencies for school-based practice. Communication Sciences andOlivia Outhong working during the Children’s Assistive Technology Wash Disorders graduate students in Longwood University’s ITIP program frequently join with scholars from Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion University’s OT and PT programs for ITIP events throughout the semester. Recently, the two programs have attended The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond 5K fall festival and the Children’s Assistive Technology Wash in Richmond, VA. Scholars from both schools were interviewed about their experiences.

This was the second year Courtney Walton, a Longwood University graduate student clinician in the ITIP program, participated in the Down Syndrome Association 5K on October 16, 2021. “It was a great opportunity to see how much of an impact that these types of organizations make on families of children with Down syndrome.” Courtney stated. This year, Courtney volunteered as a cheerleader on the course of the 5K. She also worked at the snack booth with fellow ITIP scholars. “I feel this event and organization has taught me just how important it is to educate ourselves about many different populations, including Down syndrome.” Courtney reflected on the day and explained that the best thing she learned from the event was the strong community surrounding the population. She also added she was extremely grateful to ITIP for leading her to amazing events and experiences.

The ITIP scholars from Longwood, VCU, and ODU also recently participated in the Children’s Assistive Technology Service Wash in Richmond, VA. At the event, the scholars cleaned assistive devices such as wheelchairs, strollers, bathing equipment, and walking aids. The group also filled out inventory sheets for the newly-cleaned equipment so the organization could lend them to children in need.

After the wash, the ITIP members discussed the roles and responsibilities of PTs, OTs, and SLPs and how to improve collaboration. Graduate students from Longwood, including Sarah Anderson, Olivia Outhong, Abigail Short, and Sarah Eversman, participated in the wash. When asked about the most rewarding aspect of the event, Outhong stated, “Knowing that, collectively, we were helping real children in the community was a gratifying experience.”

Another participant, Sarah Anderson, also added, “During the inventory intakes, I was able to see the market price for some of the pieces. It was shocking to see how much these items cost and to think what other options these families would have if it wasn’t for CATS.”

Eversman also reflected on the event. She stated, “I realized the importance of children receiving equipment to meet their individual needs and how appreciative families are of the program and what they support.” Abigail Short expressed her excitement in attending again next year. The ITIP program has several events planned for this upcoming year.