• Academic, behavioral and social intervention strategies for elementary children with autistic spectrum disorder

      Flora, Kristin; Cook, Christine; Healy, Joanne; Henze-Nelson, Brenda (2013-12)
      Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience academic, behavioral and social challenges that can interfere with their ability to participate fully in the school environment. School districts are legally mandated to provide services to students with disabilities. This paper provides definitions of ASD, addresses some of the diagnostic testing instruments, describes theoretical approaches, and looks at three evidence-based intervention strategies that could be utilized by a school counselor and staff members to work effectively with students with autism. The first is applied behavioral analysis (ABA) which centers on teaching small, measurable units of behavior systematically. The second intervention is assistive technology (AT) which is comprised of devices that allow a student full access to their learning environment. This can be accomplished through the use of computers (high) or a modified chair (low). The third intervention is Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports (PBIS) which incorporates a schoolwide approach to fostering a healthy and positive environment for students to role-model and practice appropriate behavior for their peers and adults. The final piece included is a districtwide school in-service to provide information to staff about local, state and national resources available to them.
    • Addressing the health needs of patients diagnosed with a chronic disease in a rural Alberta, Canada primary care setting

      Hesterman, Samantha J.; Gifford, Valerie; Renes, Susan; Kritzinger, Irma (2019-08)
      This comprehensive literature review presents findings associated with the need for more mental health support in rural Alberta. Integrated care with a behavioral health consultant (BHC) presents as a possible solution. Peer-reviewed literature indicates that rural residents are at a higher risk of suicide, substance abuse, depression, and other serious mental health concerns. They are often at a disadvantage when trying to access mental health support, and over 40% of patients with mental health needs will first seek treatment in a primary care setting. Positive mental health and positive health care outcomes are strongly linked to an individual’s total health, and a contributing factor to mental health concerns is the overwhelming number of people who have been diagnosed with a chronic disease. Integrated care with a BHC could help support both primary care providers and their patients by combining the professional competencies of mental health and primary care providers
    • Addressing the needs of adolescents: an exploration of treatment interventions for anxiety disorders

      Lunceford, Carolyn; Renes, Susan L.; Simpson, Joni A.; Gifford, Valerie M. (2016)
      This project explores various cognitive behavioral techniques that may be used for the treatment of anxiety disorders in adolescents. Many adolescents experience anxiety disorders and providing treatment can be challenging. Mindfulness, relaxation, exposure, and music have all been shown to be useful techniques. Short-term treatment, incentives, and parental involvement were also found to be useful. The value of friendships, level of motivation, and drive towards independence should be taken into consideration when working with adolescents. This project includes a curriculum intended for small groups of adolescents with the goal of improving anxiety symptoms. The curriculum will assist counselors in both in-patient and out-patient settings as well as provide resources for middle and high school counselors.
    • Alaskan school counseling: a career guidance and exploration curriculum for third through sixth grade students

      Bussa, Sarah (2015)
      This project reviews the existing literature on career development in children, and demonstrates the importance of school counselors facilitating career exploration and development with students of an elementary age. Although research suggests career development begins in childhood, and the American School Counselor Association and Alaska School Counselor Association require a career component to school counseling programs, few resources are available to elementary school counselors for developing an effective career curriculum. School counselors working with kindergarten through second grade students can reference An Alaskan Career Education Curriculum for Grades Kindergarten to Second (Zanazzo, 2014) for support in developing career lessons for younger elementary students. This project aims to provide Alaskan school counselors with a curricular resource to assist in the creation of a career curriculum that guides third through sixth grade students in career development.
    • Alaskan school counseling: child sexual abuse curriculum for kindergarten through second grade students

      Weaver, Kristy; Cook, Christine; Morotti, Allan; McMorrow, Samantha (2016)
      This project reviews Erin's Law, a new law passed in Alaska, which requires all school districts to implement a prevention oriented child sexual abuse program in their schools. Existing literature on effective components of school-based child sexual abuse prevention programs is reviewed. Alaskan school counselors will benefit from information regarding child sexual abuse, a list of existing school-based child sexual abuse prevention programs that meet the requirements of Erin's Law, and a set of child sexual abuse prevention lessons relevant for students in grades K-2.
    • An anger and aggression group for third and fourth grade students in a rural school setting

      Ley, Heather; Renes, Susan; Simpson, Joni; Strange, Anthony (2014)
      Children deal with anger in many different ways when they are growing up. Many children do not realize that anger is an emotion that needs to be expressed, and it can be done so in a number of positive, constructive ways. This project that resulted in an anger and aggression group for third and fourth grade students in a rural school setting can help children understand why it is so important to understand emotions of anger and learn how to express these emotions positively. The literature suggests by assessing children at a younger age, if parents/guardians, families, counselors and other school staff can combat the issue of school age children being unable to understand their feelings of anger and aggression. Families also need to support their child and the therapist by continuing to help the child learn and grow in the home.
    • Assisting adolesecents transitioning from residential treatment to public school

      Church, Sylvia; Cook, Christine; Morotti, Allan; Simpson, Joni (2017-05)
      This research project aims to aid residential treatment facilities and school personnel in recognizing the importance of transition planning, developing strategies to assist a successful transition from inpatient residential treatment centers to the students next school, while also taking into account adolescent perspectives on their needs during this transition. This paper introduces the importance of addressing education while in treatment and explores barriers to aftercare and current aftercare models using an ecological model to recognize how multiple systems interact in shaping the experiences of students. Included in this paper is a small pilot study of three students that attended a residential treatment program at the Boys and Girls Home of Alaska. It is important to note that since interviews were conducted, the Boys and Girls Home of Alaska no longer operates in the State of Alaska and is now under new ownership. The application resulting from this project is a presentation for both treatment and school staff.
    • Assisting school personnel with youth transitioning from residential treatment to a school environment

      Smith, Kristi; Cook, Christine; McMorrow, Samantha; Gifford, Valerie (2015-12)
      The following research project examines the data and literature regarding youth who reside in residential treatment centers for behavior and mental health purposes. The paper introduces common risk factors that youth are experiencing which contribute to their placement in the facilities, as well as the difficulties they face upon exiting the treatment program. This project explores how schools can assist students in the transition from residential treatment to a school setting using a bio-ecological model that supports the students on an individual level up to a systemic level. School counselors serve as a key point of contact for transitioning students and can help teachers to understand this population and introduce supports both in the classroom and schoolwide. Teachers will also learn how to identify and modify potential negative stigmas, frustrations, and thought processes by practicing cognitive behavior techniques. The application resulting from the project is a counselor lead in-service for elementary through high school teachers, administrators, and student support services personnel.
    • Building Safe Families Through Educating on Adverse Childhood Experiences

      Dabney, Katie E.; Dahl, Heather; McMorrow, Samantha; Henze-Nelson, Brenda (2018-05)
      There is a strong correlation between families that work with child welfare agencies and the prevalence of maltreatment during childhood. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked to poor health outcomes but are much more negatively correlated when 3 or more ACEs have been experienced during a childhood (Hunt, Slack & Berger, 2017; Crouch, Strompolis, Bennett, Morse, & Radcliff, 2017). Teaching parents about the impacts of ACEs and how they may more safely parent, can reduce the recidivism of future maltreatment in at-risk families who work with child welfare agencies. Education can give parents the power and motivation to make better decisions for themselves and for their families.
    • A comprehensive review of the literature surrounding the adolescent experience of a parent's amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosis

      Johnson, Emily R.; Gifford, Valerie; Cook, Christine; Billings, Frederick (2016)
      Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neuro-muscular disease causing progressive paralysis and eventual death of the patient. Adolescent children who have a parent with ALS or other terminal illnesses have ability to comprehend the course of the disease's processes, death and the suffering of others, which often leads to the teen experiencing existential issues including loneliness, meaninglessness, a lack of personal freedom or responsibility, and a fear of death. The following research paper provides a thorough review of the literature surrounding the effects of a parental ALS diagnosis on adolescent development, existential concerns and grief response. Suggestions for resolving existential concerns and grief are presented. The knowledge gained from the literature review was used to create a web-based resource for adolescent children of ALS patients. The application and product portions of this paper contain a thorough description of the web-based resource, the information it contains, and ways that it can be useful to adolescents and members of their support system.
    • Considerations when implementing trauma-informed care into male domestic violence offenders' intervention programs

      Sewell, Elizabeth S. (2016)
      This project addresses significant factors to consider when implementing trauma-informed care in Batterer’ Intervention Programs. Literature addressing trauma informed care and domestic violence interventions is discussed to demonstrate how trauma-informed care might be used with male perpetrators of domestic violence. There is a gap in the literature describing how trauma-informed care is integrated with domestic violence perpetrators, and this gap is surprising due to extensive literature supporting a clear link between trauma history and violent criminality. A checklist was created using the best practices in trauma-informed approaches and is intended to be used by agencies in a clinical setting, including Batterer’ Intervention Programs seeking to integrate trauma-informed approaches when working with male batterers.
    • Continuing care groups: long term treatment of substance use disorders

      Foote, Olivia; Renes, Susan L.; Cook, Christine R.; Henze-Nelson, Brenda (2014)
      Substance use disorders are chronic diseases that affect individuals, families, and communities. These illnesses frequently require several courses of treatment to achieve abstinence. Inpatient chemical dependency treatment, followed by continuing care, increases abstinence rates regardless of the interventions used within the continuing care program. The largest barrier to successful continuing care programs appears to be patients' attendance and participation. This project aims to create a continuing care program that focuses on increasing patients' attendance adherence in order to support them through their first year of recovery.
    • Continuity of care between medical professionals and behavioral health providers to prevent suicide in Alaska

      Priest, Mary J.K.; Dahl, Heather; Gifford, Valerie; Dorsett, Brandi (2019-05)
      This literature review describes the need for continuity of care between medical professionals and behavioral health providers for patients who are experiencing suicidality, highlighting the state of Alaska specifically. An initiative proposal advocating for mandated continuity of care for patients who are experiencing suicidality is included, as well as letters of sponsorship and support which can be sent to various Alaskans in order to advocate for those in need of services. Sending letters of support to a cross-section of Alaskans would ensure that concerns and support are heard from a diverse population of Alaskans. There currently is no act or law which requires continuity of care between medical professionals and behavioral health providers for patients who are experiencing suicidality. This proposal initiative and accompanying letters would be the first step in pursing legal change mandating continuity of care between medical professionals and behavioral health providers in the state of Alaska.
    • Culturally responsive teaching and student self-efficacy in Alaskan middle schools

      Christian, Scott; Kaden, Ute; John, Theresa; Sesko, Amanda; Ontooguk, Paul; Jester, Timothy (2017-12)
      Culturally responsive teaching may provide practices and dispositions which support closing the achievement gap between minority and Caucasian student populations. For this research, culturally responsive teaching can be considered as teaching practices that address students' specific cultural characteristics. These characteristics include common practices such as language, values and traditions but also include concepts such as communication, learning styles, and relationship norms. The research also presents a definition of culturally responsive teaching that extends beyond curriculum and instruction to focus on student teacher relationships, empathy, and the teacher as learner. This research explores the beliefs and practices around Culturally Responsive Teaching in ten Alaskan Middle Schools. A mixed-methods, sequential explanatory research design was used to answer the research questions: 1. How do teachers identify what is culturally responsive teaching, and what is not? 2. How is culturally responsive teaching implemented in Alaskan middle schools? 3. How is culturally responsive teaching connected to student self-efficacy in Alaskan middle schools? Although culturally responsive teaching has become a recognized practice in the fields of teacher preparation and professional development for teachers, the working definitions as well as evaluation tools are inadequate to describe the actual practice that teachers enact when they are engaged in culturally responsive teaching. Despite state regulations requiring Alaska school districts to include teaching practice of the Alaska Cultural Standards in teacher evaluations, there is only limited focused research available about the implementation of the standards in classrooms. Through semi-structured interviews and surveys with teachers and principals, formal classroom observations, as well as a student self-efficacy survey, this research addresses the lack of research and understanding regarding the relationship between culturally responsive teaching and self-efficacy for middle school students. This study identified the integration of local culture and language into academic content areas, teaching through culture, and the establishment of positive, respectful working relationships with students as promising practices for culturally responsive teaching.
    • Development plans for a remote control laboratory demonstrating the Faraday effect

      LaSota, Dan; Roehl, Roy; Delamere, Peter; Monahan, John (2015-08)
      This project presents the design o f a physics lab where the Faraday Effect is studied by students in a Remote Control Laboratory (RCL). Background conceptual material for students, equipment lists, lab procedures, and a proposed web interface to the equipment are offered with the design choices supported by research. The final product is a workable demonstration that could be used in face-to-face classrooms or as a laboratory exercise. This project could also serve as a blue print for a future engineering project where the final computer-mechanical-robotic interface could be crafted so that this would indeed become a fully online RCL.
    • Differences between gender traits that could impact happiness in marriage

      Crane, Charlie; Morotti, Allan; Cook, Christine R.; Harrison, Lynn (2014)
      Many people quickly find that being married and keeping love going is hard work (Johnson, 2010). The rise in divorce rates over the last four decades, gender equality, and the changing expectations of the 21st century, are influencing the roles in marriage. The intent of this paper is to increase knowledge regarding the changes in marriage, emotional support, and gender trait differences. An application and lesson plan are provided for a psycho-educational group to practice emotional support and learn about gender traits and the expectations of marriage.
    • Enhancing the clinical supervision process for beginning mental health professionals

      Callahan, Adie; Gifford, Valerie; Renes, Susan; Simpson, Joni (2016)
      Using current research, this project discovers and compiles the pertinent information students need to know to successfully utilize supervision. Supervision was established as a field competency after the American Psychological Association's 2002 Multinational Competencies Conference. Since then, the mental health field has made strides in defining, standardizing, and evaluating the process of supervision. Students' awareness and ability to effectively use supervision is still gaining momentum, as the professionals in the field develop an infrastructure to train student development of knowledge, skills, and abilities related to the utilization of supervision. This project's application establishes a supplemental booklet for students in the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Education's Counseling Program to use throughout supervision in practicum, internship, and as an early career mental health professional. Teaching students about supervision while they are in school sets the foundation for the developing competency of helping skills, delivering of quality client care, and becoming effective supervisors later in their careers.
    • Equine assisted therapy: supporting treatment for substance use disorders in Alaska

      Gelvin-Smith, Claire; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; Jonaitis, Aldona (2017-04)
      The State of Alaska demonstrates exceedingly high rates of interpersonal violence, child neglect, depression, and drug related arrests when compared with national rates. Substance use disorder is often linked with instances of interpersonal violence, child neglect, depression and judicial consequences. An equine assisted therapy program could provide support for the treatment of substance use disorders in Alaska. This project asks one basic question, "What benefits could an equine assisted therapy program provide for individuals in a level II, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) in interior Alaska?" Currently, no residential or level II treatment programs for substance use disorder in Alaska offer equine assisted therapy. Examples of successful equine assisted therapy programs in the contiguous United States are presented as models for an equine assisted therapy program in Alaska. Resiliency theory is introduced as a theoretical framework that balances goals and objectives of both level II substance use treatment and equine assisted therapy. Participants might experience benefits from an equine assisted therapy group related to immediate feedback, opportunities for learning, opportunities for trust-building, healthy relationships, learning new ways of dealing with trauma, relationships, confronting fears, and effectively working through new challenges.
    • Examining the feasibility of implementing a matrix model intensive outpatient program in a remote Alaskan setting

      Ponziano, Frank; Gifford, Valerie; Renes, Susan; McMorrow, Samantha (2015)
      Significance: The Matrix Model is possibly the only evidenced-based, intensive outpatient approach for addiction that has been shown to be effective at treating addiction. However, the model has not been evaluated for its effectiveness in remote Alaskan settings, such as Fairbanks, Alaska. Specific Aim: This study examined the feasibility of the Matrix Model compared to Treatment as Usual (TAU) in Fairbanks, Alaska. TAU is defined as any other outpatient substance abuse treatment (SAT) other than Matrix Model treatment program. The model's philosophy will be examined, and a method for determining its feasibility for implementation in Fairbanks, Alaska, will be outlined. This project will provide a method for an agency to examine their readiness and philosophical compatibility for the Matrix Model. This research intends to explore contextual variables, such as environment, culture, policy, participant barriers, funding, and organizational philosophy. Methods: This study has reviewed the literature regarding evidence-based, intensive outpatient programs, other treatment philosophies, and the contextual variables that affect program implementation in the literature. Moreover, this study provides an analysis of the Matrix Model versus TAU to help guide a Fairbanks agency considering Matrix Model Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). IOP is a 12 to 16 week intensive outpatient SAT that meets for 9 or more hours per week that integrates individual, family, and group counseling along with weekly drugs screens. Implications: This project aims to contribute to the body of knowledge regarding the Matrix Models effectiveness compared to TAU in remote Alaskan settings.
    • Forming a therapeutic response to adolescent impulsivity

      Hansen, Kira M.; Gifford, Valerie; McMorrow, Samantha; Daku, Mike (2017-05)
      Utilizing a biopsychosocial perspective, this paper addresses the impact, causes, and treatment of adolescent impulsivity. Specifically, the defining features of impulsivity are identified, and the implications that impulsivity has on adolescent criminal behaviors, treatment participation, and quality of life measures are addressed. As a result of this paper's findings, a therapeutic integration of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and working memory training is proposed in order to meet treatment needs that have gone unaddressed, and this integrated model is presented in the form of a group treatment manual.