Andrea currently serves as a trainer and consultant at Appalachia IU8, focusing on assistive technology and inclusive practices initiatives. Andrea’s background includes a Bachelor's degree in speech and language pathology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master's degree in the same arena from Duquesne University. Andrea maintains her Certificate of Clinical Competency in speech (CCC-SLP) and has provided speech and language services in a variety of educational settings where her passion has become working with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC.) Andrea has partnered with colleagues as a member of the Assistive Technology Team, the Austism Assessment team and the BrainSTEPS team. Within the field of education, Andrea hopes to highlight Universal Design for Learning, including the utilization of technology as universal support.
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Each year, approximately 4,000 of Pennsylvania's children survive severe traumatic brain injuries significant enough to require hospitalization. Many are left with life-altering difficulties in physical, cognitive, or behavioral functioning.
BrainSTEPS is working to make sure that the individuals who provide educational support to children with brain injury have an understanding of brain injury, the resulting challenges, and the supports and interventions that will help these students achieve educational success through graduation.
BrainSTEPS Consulting Teams are comprised of professionals from varying disciplines who have received extensive training on educating children with brain injuries. When a child who attends a Pennsylvania public school has experienced educational effects following a brain injury, a BrainSTEPS team from the child's county of residence will act as consultants to coordinate services and provide basic training and resources to colleagues and families.
BrainSTEPS Teams will provide:
Accurate identification and intervention by personnel already employed in the school system
Coordinated training and consultation regarding identification, school re-entry planning, Individualized Education Program (IEP) development, intervention selection
and implementation, long-term monitoring of students, and other concerns professionals face in supporting students with traumatic brain injury
For more information regarding IU8's BrainSTEPS Brain Injury School Re-Entry Team, contact Dr. Kara Madara.
Meet the BrainSTEPS Team
Dr. Kara Madara
Dr. Kara A. Madara, PT, DPT, CBIS is the IU#8 BrainSTEPS Team Leader. Dr. Madara earned her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Physical Therapy from Daemen College in 1990. She then went on to complete her Doctoral Degree in Physical therapy at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. Dr. Madara also holds a certificate as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist. Dr. Madara has worked in Early Intervention, Outpatient Pediatrics and School-Based Pediatric therapy settings throughout her career. She has been employed as a physical therapist for the IU8 for the past 19 years and currently supervises the Physical and Occupational Therapy department for IU8 in addition to her role as BrainSTEPS team leader. Dr. Madara has been focused on improving awareness of the BrainSTEPS program by encouraging school district teams to form CMTs and engaging in community outreach to improve collaboration and support for all students. Dr. Madara provides regular trainings on traumatic brain injury for both medical and educational staff in an effort to increase awareness of the impact TBI has on education.
Cindy is an Occupational Therapist at Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8. She has been on the Brain Steps team since 2007 when it began. She is also a certified Brain Injury Specialist. Cindy worked at Altoona Hospital for six years before beginning her job at IU8 in 2001. She works with children ages three to twenty one. Cindy is also a member of the Autism Assessment Team and the Feeding Assessment Team at IU8. Cindy loves to work with children and their families to help them on the educational journey’s.