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Grant to Help Children Affected by Opioid Epidemic Awarded to UW Program

November 29, 2018

The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) at the University of Wyoming recently received an Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) grant to address the opioid crisis.

The grant allows WIND to develop a training initiative addressing neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS). NAS is a multisymptom group of conditions caused when an infant withdraws from certain drugs, including opiates, after prenatal exposure.

Project Supporting Children of the Opioid Epidemic (SCOPE) is a training initiative intended to identify and train practitioners in current and emerging knowledge and evidence-based practices. The practices include screening, monitoring and care for children diagnosed with NAS/NOWS, or who are suspected of being impacted by opioid use and related trauma exposure.

WIND will partner with the Nisonger Center at Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities for this project.

WIND will develop an ECHO network for implementation of practices to support children and families impacted by opioid misuse. Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a distance-based professional learning and development program model for health care providers, based on videoconferencing, case-based learning and ongoing disease management.

WIND has successfully translated the model for education, and will use this expertise with the NAS/NOWS grant.

The Nisonger Center and University of Cincinnati will provide the curriculum, which includes current research on brain development, developmental outcomes of prenatal exposure to opioid and other substances, trauma-informed care, provider secondary trauma stress and strategies to support caregivers.

The initiative is intended to link research to practical application in local communities, improve outcomes, provide opportunities to share knowledge and findings with national networks and federal agencies, and to provide recommendations for future interventions. This goal will be accomplished through the piloting of the curriculum and interdisciplinary training model.

Administration of the AIDD project through the Association of University Centers on Disability represents a collaboration among the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

About WIND

WIND, an academic unit in the UW College of Health Sciences and a University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, was established in 1994 as part of a national network of 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities that provides support to more than 7,500 individuals with disabilities and their families in Wyoming. WIND provides expertise related to access and assistive technology to the grant partners through training and technical assistance for coaches, equipment coordination and outreach efforts.

For more information, call Sandy Root-Elledge, WIND executive director, at (307) 766-2764, email, or visit

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