Fall 2017 Newsletter | Summer Programs

Rudd Summer Adoption Research Institute

The Rudd Summer Adoption Research Institute hosted an incredible group of 24 graduate students, postdocs, and recent faculty for a week-long intensive journey into adoption research issues and techniques. At the end of the workshop, everyone was named Rudd Adoption Research Scholars; their cohort will now have opportunities to network beyond their week together.

The 9 faculty presenters covered issues such as workflow and data management (Scott Long); longitudinal data analysis (Aline Sayer); inclusion of race, class and culture in adoption research design and interpretation (Amanda Baden & Ruth McRoy); couple and family level data analysis (Holly Laws); conducting research with LGBT adoptive families (Abbie Goldberg); secondary data analysis and research funding (Hal Grotevant & Kirby Deater-Deckard); and research dissemination to broad audiences (Jesus Palacios).

Participants shared some of their own research in a poster session which was open to the public on day 3. This poster session provided a great opportunity for participants to learn about and discuss the work being done by other emerging adoption scholars. The Institute hopes for many future collaborations that come out of these discussions!

A trip off campus to visit the Treehouse Community in Easthampton, MA also took place on day 4. Treehouse is an intentional, intergenerational community with the goal of supporting families who are fostering or have adopted children from the public foster care system. Participants shared dinner and great conversation with some of the Treehouse staff and community members. Community members shared their stories about how much being a part of the Treehouse community means to them.

Throughout the course of this institute, participants gained valuable knowledge and skills that will aid them in their future work. The Institute is grateful to all of the instructors who were willing to come and share their experiences and expertise with the next generation of researchers. 

International Perspectives on Disability

Students attended a two-week study abroad trip to Ireland led by Ashley Woodman and Christina Metevier (Faculty in PBS) titled "International Perspectives on Disability". Students met with researchers, educators and advocates at the University College Dublin Centre for Disability Studies, Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disability, and Inclusion Ireland. They also attended the International Disability Law Summer School at the National University of Ireland in Galway, along with participants from over 50 different countries. You can read about the students' experiences on their blog.

"The other day we visited the Hollywood Horse Trekking Centre in the Wicklow mountains to enjoy a horse trek through the beautiful mountain scenery and to learn about their services for riders with disabilities. Therapeutic horseback riding is a well known service in the United States, at least within my community. It is a service I have typically thought of as benefitting children with autism mostly. It is therapeutic because the rhythmic movement of a horse can relax a rider much more than other activities. The man who spoke with us at the Hollywood Horse Trekking Centre talked about how they provide therapeutic riding for individuals with physical disabilities, such as those who cannot walk or stand. He mentioned that an individual with such physical disabilities can be placed on a horse and as the hose walks, the individual is able to work muscles that they cannot otherwise use at all. I thought this was really interesting because I had previously only thought therapeutic horseback riding was more of an emotional therapy. It makes me wonder if equine therapy could even reach the point of being an alternative to traditional physical therapy." by Abby Farrell
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"Coming into the second day of the conference, I felt a little more comfortable and had a better idea of what to expect from the day. The first day of the conference felt very overwhelming as I was surrounded by experts in the field of disabilities coming from all over the world. Not only are other attendees powerful movers of change, but many of them have disabilities of their own. During their presentations, stories were shared of challenges the speakers have faced throughout their lives, some of which involved institutionalization, isolation, and the inability to make autonomous choices. I continue to find myself intimidated by the obstacles other individuals here have overcome and how successful and committed they are to facilitating change in their home countries." by Katelyn Loring
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