Welcome to the Chicago Healthy Adolescents Transition Study (C.H.A.T.S.) website! Dr. Grayson Holmbeck, a clinical psychologist and professor at Loyola University Chicago, is the principal investigator of this study. For over 15 years, Dr. Holmbeck and his research team have been visiting families who have children with spina bifida, a congenital birth defect that affects neurological, urological, orthopedic, and educational functioning. Our research projects depend upon the dedicated participation of each and every family in our studies. This website was developed in part to express our gratitude to these families, and in part to share useful information that has been generated from our research!
Though this study is no longer open to new participants, this website is open to everyone. The website contains information about our research studies, spina bifida, adolescence, links, and much more. We hope that it will be an interesting and useful resource in answering any questions that you may have about our research or about spina bifida in general.
If you have any feedback or suggestions, please let us know.
PDFs and references for CHATS research articles can be found here.
Thank You Families!
Our research team is always thinking about you. We've all been in high school. We all realize how sleepy you can feel on Saturday mornings, and how it must feel to give up precious hours of sleep and relaxation to participate in our study. We have thought about how strange it must feel for researchers to come into your house and "study" you and your families. We realize that some of you probably feel like you are under a microscope. Some of you may feel frustrated, like we expect you to represent all adolescents with spina bifida. Others might feel like we focus too much on a small part of your lives. We know that each of you is unique and none of you is the "typical" adolescent or the "typical" person with spina bifida. You have unique thoughts, beliefs, and abilities that no one else in the world has, and many of those qualities have nothing to do with spina bifida at all!
Here's the thing…that's exactly what we need to learn about. We want your opinions. We want to know about your experiences. Most importantly, we want to know what aspects of your life have helped form you into the person that you are. As psychologists, we hope to use that information so we can design better service for other people down the road. We can pass your opinions along. What you share with us can have a direct impact on the lives of others. This is your chance to make your voices heard. We continue to value the contribution you are making to future generations of people with spina bifida and their families.
We hope you know what a difference you are making!