Trying to work and “attend” school from home has presented new challenges for most people. But, for anyone who has a condition that interferes with attention, or learning, working from home is even harder.
The Illinois NeuroBehavioral Assessment Laboratory (INBAL) wanted to help.
Since the end of March, INBAL has waived all costs for digital screenings and offered them free to anyone interested in learning more about attention or executive functioning for themselves or for their children.
INBAL’s digital screenings are unique in that they do not require an in-person visit. Although the digital screenings had been in the planning stages for months prior to the pandemic, the team at INBAL was excited to offer resources quickly to the University and community during such a trying time, especially when in-person appointments were not possible. Eliminating geographic and economic barriers interfering with access to services is an added benefit of the digital modality.
Within the first week, INBAL’s inbox was flooded with inquiries from people who were interested in digital screenings. Within a month, more than 110 screenings had been completed from start to finish. Although most of the clients completing screenings have resided in Illinois, INBAL has also provided screenings to individuals across the country, from Florida to Nevada.
Clients who have completed screenings have expressed gratitude for the experience including receiving the results, recommendations, as well as opportunities to ask follow-up questions. Several people shared that they had wondered for years whether some of their difficulties or their child’s difficulties, with attention, or learning were “normal.”
In addition to the positive response from clients at the University and in the community, the INBAL team indicated that the encouraging response from staff at the University exceeded their expectations. From an expedited review of revised consent forms by legal counsel to brainstorming methods to provide results to clients digitally with the privacy and security officials, every single person along the way has been happy to do whatever they could to help.
Graduate students from the Psychology Department, Kelly Hohl, and Christine Salva, who were engaged in clinical training at INBAL this year, eagerly offered support after returning to their homes in Maryland and Colorado. Katie Duitsman, Clinical Psychometrist at INBAL, organized all logistics, and tracked countless details to make certain that each step of the process was completed in a timely fashion. The team met with clinical director and licensed psychologist, Kathryn Leskis, weekly for supervision via ZOOM.
Support for the digital screening process was not confined to the University. When Gary Saladino, marketing director at the Illini Radio Group, was contacted about the project, he quickly approved a public service announcement (PSA) so that the opportunity could be shared with the community. Kurtis Allen, program director at WIXY 100.3 and WYXY Classic 99.1, was also glad to help and recorded INBAL’s PSA, which will continue to air on all 7 stations operated by Saga Communications throughout May.
The team at INBAL hopes that making access to digital screenings as simple as possible will help anyone who may be reluctant to pursue services feel more comfortable getting started, long after the current stay-at-home orders are lifted.
More about INBAL and the digital screenings can be found at https://inbal.illinois.edu/.