The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University

First Caroline’s Cart in Utah appears in Lee’s

April 24, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Chrissy Masco and her son, Eli, pose with the first Caroline's Cart in Utah, at the North Logan Lee's Marketplace. The Smithfield and Ogden locations will also be getting one of the specialized shopping carts.

Chrissy Masco and her son, Eli, pose with the first Caroline’s Cart in Utah, at the  Logan Lee’s Marketplace. The Smithfield and Ogden locations will each be getting one of the specialized shopping carts as well.

“I have a child with special needs who cannot hold himself upright while sitting in a shopping cart,” the letter begins. It explains how difficult it is to shop for groceries while simultaneously pushing the wheelchair or stroller of a child with disabilities and pulling the shopping cart.

Chrissy Masco of Logan wrote the letter on March 21 and began sharing it with local grocery store managers, urging them to purchase a Caroline’s Cart for their stores. Caroline’s Cart is designed for children who have mobility issues and can make grocery shopping a less stressful experience for families of children with disabilities.

One month later, on April 21, the first Caroline’s Cart in Utah was delivered to the Lee’s Marketplace store in Logan. Jarad McDonald, Lee’s vice president for operations, said on April 22 that the response to the cart has been so positive, he has ordered Caroline’s Carts for the Smithfield and Ogden stores as well, at a cost of about $900 per cart.

“I heard Chrissy’s story and what they were going through,” McDonald said. “Her story aligned with our core values so it was an easy decision. It was the right thing to do.”

Masco’s two-year-old son, Eli, has hypertonia (tight muscle tone) in his arms and legs, and hypotonia (low muscle tone) in his core, which makes it harder to crawl, sit up or walk—anything you’d use your core muscles for.

The Masco family became involved with Up to 3 Early Intervention at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities when Eli was around nine months old, after he spent 2 1/2 weeks at Primary Children’s Hospital because he was losing weight. The family also includes Eli’s dad, Bowen, and sister, LynnDee, age 4.

Masco saw a story about Caroline’s Cart on Facebook and thought, if something like this is available, then why not try to get one?

“It wasn’t if I was going to do this, it was, I am going to do this,” she said.

Sara Hendricks is a student in SPED 5810, a seminar class, and was assigned to work with the Masco family as part of her classwork. She has done home visits and other activities, and worked on the letter with Chrissy.

The letter concludes, “The cart … would also enable children with special needs to participate in mainstream society by being able to join their families in a shopping excursion. Please consider purchasing Caroline’s Cart for your store; it would fill a need and be greatly appreciated.”

“We are a community store,” McDonald said. “This just made an emotional connection.”

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The ADA’s influence on the field of telecommunications

April 23, 2015 by Sue Reeves

By Anna Tuckett, UATP social media intern

disability rightsOne of the things the Americans with Disabilities Act has done, is to allow for improvements to technologies that better the lives of people with hearing and
other communication disabilities by making them more accessible.

Since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, it has brought to the surface the changes necessary to make technology more accessible to people who have impaired speech or hearing.

Mitch Moyers, Outreach Specialist for the Utah Sanderson Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, has years of experience helping people with hearing disabilities find resources.

“The ADA has helped people receive support when they otherwise wouldn’t,” Moyers said. “It has also brought the needs of people with impaired hearing to the public eye more and more.”

To further promote the recognition of people with hearing loss, the Utah Sanderson Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing helps people with impaired hearing to receive the assistive technology they need. From apps to hearing aids, they provide the resources necessary to give people opportunities for better technology.

“We are an open resource.” Moyers said. “We provide lists of agencies to help people find what they need, as well as training on how to use their assistive technology properly.”

Recently, technology has improved in many ways that have benefited people with disabilities, especially with smartphones, internet, etc.

“In the last 10-15 years, smartphones have made information much more accessible for people with hearing loss.” Moyer said. “With this has come even more of an incentive to help improve current software and technology.”

There are many hearing applications and technologies that have come from the expanding field of assistive technology development. The Americans with Disabilities Act has influenced the expansion of accommodations for people with communication disabilities by bringing recognition to the necessary improvements needed to make technology more accessible.


ADA celebrates 25 years

April 21, 2015 by Sue Reeves

By Anna Tuckett, UATP social media intern 

ada25After many years of providing people with disabilities with equal rights, this year the Americans with Disabilities Act is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The ADA became a law in 1990 and was the first law to establish a clear ban on discrimination on the basis of disability.

Sachin Pavithran, director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program, has worked to improve the rights for people with disabilities for many years with the help of
the ADA.

“The law ensures equal access,” Pavithran said. “It allows people with disabilities to have equal employment opportunities, as well as equal access to public areas and information.”

Allowing for equal employment opportunities among all job candidates has been an important contribution to the fight for equal rights for people with disabilities.

“Unless the person is unable to do the functions necessary for the job, under the ADA, the employer cannot deny employment based on disability alone.” Pavithran said.

In addition to preventing discrimination in the workplace, Title One of the act ensures persons with disabilities the necessary assistive technology needed to do their job.

“In Title One, it talks about the reasonable accommodations,” Pavithran said. “If accomodations can be provided, they should be.”

Although the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act is helping to improve the rights of people with disabilities, there are still plenty of problems to be solved and further legislation that can be passed to lessen discrimination.

“The ADA has been around for 25 years but is still not perfect,” Pavithran said. “More legislation can be passed to help persons with disabilities, we still have a long way to go.”



Free concert will be accessible to all

April 17, 2015 by Sue Reeves

dillonThe ‘Dreamers and Heroes’ concert, a fully accessible concert for music-lovers of all ages and abilities, will be presented at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 18 in the Kent Concert Hall on the Utah State University campus. Admission is free.

“There is nothing like hearing a live concert to energize the soul,” said Bryce Fifield, director of Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. “Unfortunately, people with disabilities and their family members often don’t get the chance to attend live concerts. Sometimes the music is boring, goes too long, has ‘too many notes,’ or is too expensive. Sadly, many with disabilities often don’t feel welcome at these events.”

The American Festival Chorus and Orchestra is partnering with the Autism Council of Utah, and Utah State University’s Caine School of the Arts and Center for Persons with Disabilities to deliver the concert. This performance is being designed especially for audience members with disabilities.  The music will draw from the Chorus’ most popular performances of the past several years.  The selections will be fun, entertaining, and full of energy and excitement.

Faculty Fellows to be honored

April 15, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of David Feldon

David Feldon

The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University will honor its Faculty Fellows on Friday, April 17, from 3-4 p.m. in CPD 152. CPD Faculty Fellows are USU faculty members from various disciplines who conduct research and/or direct programs in collaboration with the CPD.

The CPD welcomes David Feldon, TEAL/STE2M, and Tyra Sellers, Special Education and Rehabilitation, as the 2015 class of Faculty Fellows.

Feldon is an associate professor of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences and director of the new STE2M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Education, Mathematics) Center at USU. His research examines two lines of inquiry that are distinct but mutually supportive. The first characterizes the cognitive components of expertise as they contribute to effective and innovative problem solving as well as how they affect the quality of instruction that experts can provide. The second examines the development of research skills within STEM disciplines as a function of instruction and other educational support mechanisms. He also conducts some research into technology-facilitated instructional approaches and research methods for examining them. He earned his Ph.D. in educational psychology and his M.S. in instructional technology from the University of Southern California, completed his postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA, and held tenure-track positions at the University of South Carolina, Washington State University, and the University of Virginia prior to joining the USU faculty.

Image of Tyra Sellers

Tyra Sellers

Sellers received her Ph.D. in Disability Disciplines–Applied Behavior Analysis from Utah State University in 2011 and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She is an assistant professor and the director of the Utah Behavior Support Clinic (UBSC).  Through the UBSC, she and her team provide assessment and intervention services for individuals with severe problem behavior at the university-based clinic, as well as in homes and schools across the state. She earned a B.A. in Philosophy and M.A. in Special Education from San Francisco State University, and J.D. from the University of San Francisco. Sellers has more than 20 years of clinical experience working with individuals with disabilities, spanning from EIBI through adult services.  Her research interests include behavior variability, choice, functional analyses, and behavioral interventions.  She is an active member of UtABA and an approved provider for the Utah Professional Development Network (UPDN).

Feldon and Sellers join Lori Roggman and Lisa Boyce (FCHD), Robert Morgan, Jared Schultz, Tim Riesen, Lillian Duran, and Tom Higbee (SPER), Sydney Schaefer (HPER), Gretchen Peacock (Psychology), Damon Cann (Political Science), Chris Davies (Veterinary Science), Ryan Bosworth (Applied Economics), Heidi Wengreen (NDFS), Christopher Gauthier (Photography), Maureen Hearns  (Music Therapy) and Raymond Veon (Arts Education) as CPD Faculty Fellows.