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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 14, 2010

At A Glance

UI researchers release free software for children with autism

Juan Pablo Hourcade, assistant professor in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Department of Computer Science, recently released free, open-source software designed to enhance the social skills of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The software is available at

The website includes links to download the software as well as activity guides. It also provides the source code for the software, which technically savvy parents or volunteers can use to improve or customize it. The software is intended to run on multitouch tablet PCs, such as the Dell XT2 and the HP tx2.

Participating in the software development were: Natasha Bullock-Rest, a recent UI graduate; Thomas Hansen, UI computer science doctoral student; and Ricardo Auguste, Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP)/McNair scholar.

The initial work was funded by the Iowa Department of Education through UI's Regional Autism Services Program, one of the Child Health Specialty Clinics. The researchers have conducted software iterative development and evaluation at Hoover Elementary School (Iowa City) with the help of the Grant Wood Area Education Agency, and at the Four Oaks (Cedar Rapids) afterschool program for children with Asperger's syndrome.


Caregiver writing study invites participants

Adults age 18 and older who provide care for a person living in the home with Alzheimer's disease or other conditions involving memory-loss are invited to participate in a University of Iowa research study investigating whether expressing thoughts and feelings in writing can help manage stress associated with the caregiving experience.

Study participants will use an Internet-based approach to write about their experiences related to their caregiving role for 20 minutes three times during one week. Participants also will complete two additional online survey forms. Participants need not be experienced writers as the study focuses on the effect of writing rather than the written content itself.

Ji Woon Ko, a doctoral student at the UI College of Nursing, and Howard Butcher, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing, will lead the study, which also will test the acceptance of the Web-based writing intervention to manage stress related to caregiving experiences. Compensation is provided.

For more information, visit or contact Ji Woon Ko at 319-594-0502 or


Latin American comedy is theme of UI fall film series

The University of Iowa Institute for Cinema and Culture is featuring popular Latin American comedies that are not usually available in the United States for its fall film series.

The films will be shown Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. in Room 101 of the Becker Communication Studies Building through Dec. 9. Contextual background will be offered before each screening with discussion following, all facilitated by the organizer of the series, Nilo Couret, a doctoral student in film studies.

All screenings are free and open to the public. They will be shown with English subtitles prepared by Couret and volunteers studying literary translation.

The topic for the Sept. 16 presentation is "Universal Horror Took a Wrong Turn at Albuquerque," with a screening of the film "Chabelo and Pepito Versus the Monsters." (The Sept. 23 screening is a special double feature with the films "Blood of the Virgins," and "Satanico Pandemonium.")

This series is sponsored by UI International Programs, the Institute for Cinema and Culture, the Latin American Studies Program and the Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature in CLAS.

For more information and to see the full schedule of films, visit or contact Couret at or 319-335-2835.


Old Capitol Museum to host a National History Day 'Talk to the Experts!' workshop
Each spring, the University of Iowa Old Capitol Museum hosts the District 10 National History Day competition. Now, for the first time, the museum is hosting a preparatory workshop for students, teachers and community members interested in the competition. The "Talk to the Experts!" workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Old Capitol Museum. The workshop is free, but participants are asked to register by calling 319-335-0548.
National History Day is a yearly competition in which students create original research papers, exhibit displays, documentaries, dramatic performances, and websites related to an annual theme. This year's theme is "Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences."
The workshop will feature experts from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, University of Iowa Libraries, the Iowa Women’s Archives, the Johnson Country Historical Society and Old Capitol.
For more information on the workshop call the Old Capitol Museum at 319-335-0548. For more information on National History Day visit their website


Online forums to provide employee health discussions

Employers, employees and other Iowans interested in employee health and wellness are invited to participate in the Iowa Worklife Forum, a series of free, online discussions held from 8 to 9 a.m. on Sept. 28, Oct. 26 and Nov. 23.

The Iowa Worklife Forum is an initiative of the Healthier Workforce Center for Excellence, based in the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Each forum will host a panel of employee benefit and health and safety managers from different Iowa employers. Panel participants will share their best practices and experiences with insurance, wellness and incentive programs. Each forum will include time for questions and general discussion about the viable aspects of each program and areas of improvement.

The forum will be held online using a live, interactive web-conferencing tool, called Elluminate Live!, which allows participants from across the state of Iowa to connect with one another.

To test your connection and participate in the forums, visit:


Community seminar on women's health screenings will be held Oct. 12

Experts with UI Women's Health, part of University of Iowa Health Care, will discuss "Health Screenings For The Stages Of Your Life: What Every Woman Should Know," at a "Health for Your Lifetime," program from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, in the East Room (Elevator F, Level 8) at UI Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. The event is free and open to the public; pre-registration is encouraged.

Veronika Kolder, M.D., and Elizabeth Cook, both of UI Women's Health, will present an overview of the various health screenings women should have and when to get them. Discussion will cover the purposes and benefits of health screenings, how to discuss screenings with your health care provider and which screenings are covered by insurance.

To register for the program, call 319-335-8886 or 877-MED-IOWA, or register online at


Photos for At A Glance items, if available, may be found at (for arts news) or (for all other news).

Campus events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar:

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in a program, please contact the sponsoring department in advance.