NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Children’s Specialized Hospital has received a $250,000 state grant to fund an 18-month program focusing on safety education and injury prevention for people with disabilities throughout their lifespan.

The funding will come from the New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Disability Services’ Inclusive Healthy Communities (IHC) Grant Program.

“In partnership with disability self-advocates, safety experts, municipalities, agencies, organizations, caregivers and health care providers, we’re creating a one-stop accessible location for functional and developmentally appropriate safety and injury prevention resources,” said Adrienne Robertiello, Special Health Educator, Children’s Specialized Hospital. “We’ll also be making these resources available in multiple formats and outlets to address different learning styles, sensory issues, cognitive abilities and accessibility needs.”

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Although this program is expected to have a statewide impact, Children’s Specialized Hospital intends to focus its efforts within Union County, specifically Elizabeth and Plainfield. Residents with disabilities living in these communities may have diminished safety outcomes due to limited access to developmentally appropriate safety education and resources due to language or income barriers.

“At Children’s Specialized Hospital we are always looking for ways to better engage and serve our diverse communities. The development of these safety resources is essential to our work as a high-reliability organization and addressing the social determinants of health for those with disabilities,” said Michael Dribbon, PhD, Vice President of Business Development and Chief Innovation and Research Officer, Children’s Specialized Hospital. “Safety education has a significant impact on health outcomes, and for people with disabilities common safety information and resources may not be understandable or useful. It is our responsibility to break down complex safety concepts to empower those with disabilities to take control of their safety by eliminating unnecessary risks and reducing unintentional injuries. This grant enables us to broaden our reach in this space and ensure that these necessary resources are available to any individual who needs them.”

Additionally, Children’s Specialized Hospital will work to determine methods of identifying and reducing safety risks among persons with disabilities in other New Jersey regions and counties based on similar criteria to that being used in Union County. Anticipated measured outcomes include the creation of an accessible safety resource depository, the number of resources and safety curricula created or adapted, the number of people receiving education, change in pre- and post-training measures of safety knowledge and confidence, and the usage of safety behaviors.

Children’s Specialized Hospital, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children from birth to 21 years of age facing special health challenges – from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, to a full scope of developmental, behavioral, and mental health concerns