Trying to work and “attend” school from home presented new challenges for many people during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, for anyone who has a condition that interferes with attention, or learning, working from home is even harder.
To address these challenges, INBAL waived all costs for digital screenings and offered them free to anyone interested in learning more about attention or executive functioning for themselves or for their children from March through December 2020.
INBAL’s digital screenings are unique in that they do not require an in-person visit. Although the digital screenings had been in the planning stages for months prior to the pandemic, the team at INBAL was excited to offer resources quickly to members of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and broader Champaign-Urbana community during such a trying time, especially when in-person appointments were not possible. Eliminating geographic and economic barriers interfering with access to services is an added benefit of the digital modality.
Within the first week, INBAL’s inbox was flooded with inquiries from people who were interested in digital screenings. Within a month, more than 110 screenings had been completed from start to finish. By mid-December,161 people had emailed to inquire about the screenings, and 90 clients had completed 224 screenings.
Clients who completed screenings have expressed gratitude for the results, recommendations, and opportunities to ask follow-up questions. Several people shared that they had wondered for years whether some of their difficulties, or their child’s difficulties, with attention, or learning, were “normal.”
In addition to the positive response from clients at the university and in the community, the INBAL team indicated that the encouraging response from staff at the university exceeded their expectations. From an expedited review of revised consent forms by legal counsel to brainstorming methods to provide results to clients digitally with the privacy and security officials, every single person along the way was happy to do whatever they could to help.
Support for the digital screening process was not confined to the university. When Gary Saladino, marketing director at the Illini Radio Group, was contacted about the project, he quickly approved a public service announcement (PSA) so that the opportunity could be shared with the community. Kurtis Allen, program director at WIXY 100.3 and WYXY Classic 99.1, was also glad to help and recorded INBAL’s PSA, which aired on all seven stations operated by Saga Communications throughout May 2020.
The team at INBAL hopes their effort to make access to digital screenings as simple as possible will help anyone who may be reluctant to pursue services feel more comfortable getting started, now and long into the future.