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Supporting individuals with Down Syndrome

Rebecca Langbein completes her capstone project

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Edmeston, NY, July 23, 2020 … The Kennedy Willis Center on Down Syndrome continues to create career advancement opportunities for young professionals entering the human services field. This spring, occupational doctoral candidate Rebecca Langbein of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, completed her capstone project by creating a new curriculum for aging services for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs).

Langbein of Richboro, Penn., encapsulated her working experiences with Pathfinder Village direct support staff into a new 8-month advanced course of study for DSPs who are focused on caring for aging individuals who have intellectual disabilities and dementia. The curriculum has two goals: to empower staff with knowledge on concurrent dementia and cognitive disabilities, and to have staff apply that knowledge in daily interactions and care settings. The new coursework builds on the DSP 2.0 curriculum, which is focused on case management, communications, and service documentation.

“Working with the Kennedy Willis Center and Pathfinder Village was one of the greatest gifts of my occupational therapy doctorate capstone experience,” said Dr. Langbein, who recently received her doctorate. “The staff and senior leadership created a learning environment that was open, collaborative, and supportive, which allowed me to grow personally and professionally. I learned a great deal about meaningful curriculum development and the importance of sustainability when working with organizations. Most importantly I learned the value of listening in understanding the true need.”

The DSP 3.0 curriculum will be introduced collaboratively next fall by Jefferson Elder Care, Philadelphia, and the Kennedy Willis Center, and includes practicums and independent coursework in systematic problem-solving for addressing challenging behaviors associated with intellectual disabilities and dementia.

Dr. Langbein’s project was approved by Jefferson's Institutional Review Board and overseen by E. Adel Herge, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA. Dr. Herge is an Associate Professor and Director of the BSMS Occupational Therapy Program at Jefferson University, and has co-developed and implemented innovative training programs for aging, dementia and intellectual disabilities. She is a member of the National Task Group (NTG) on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices Steering Committee and the Evaluation Committee for the American Association of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry.  as well as co-author of the NTG Education and Training Curriculum on Dementia and I/DD, Hamden, Conn.

Dr. Langbein is presently serving as a consultant with several non-profit organizations that are focused in healthcare, universal design, and empowering young women of color to pursue careers in science, technology and related careers.  Dr. Lanbein completed her undergraduate studies at Lehigh University.  She has interests in engineering, psychology, running and reading.