The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University
 

CPD hosts Russian Visitors

May 14, 2015 by Kelly Smith

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A delegation of Russian professional educators and specialists visited the CPD May 11 as part of the Open World Program, hosted by Firefly. Firely is a charitable NGO with a vision of securing a healthy, productive life for all disadvantaged children. Their mission is to prevent children from being raised in institutions. Firefly is dedicated to helping Russian professionals significantly reduce the number of children in institutions by developing support programs for families who are socially at risk, raising young children with disabilities, and fostering or adopting young children.

Delegates toured the CPD and received a brief overview of services and projects at the Center. Dr. Mark Innocenti, Dr. Lori Roggman, and Dr. Vonda Jump discussed their research efforts in supporting parents and caregivers in improbing development outcomes. This presentation highlighted the PICCOLO research instrument.

The afternoon was spent in the ASSERT (Autism Support Services: Education, Research, and Training) classroom, hosted by Dr. Thomas S. Higbee. The visit provided a valuable opportunity for the delegates to see the ASSERT program in action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IOTI grant to fund suicide prevention efforts

May 7, 2015 by Sue Reeves

An Interagency Outreach Training Initiative (IOTI) grant has been awarded to the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University to fund suicide prevention efforts.

According to Jeanie Peck, licensed clinical social worker and the project coordinator for the IOTI Suicide Prevention grant, the goal of the project is to do training and instruction in suicide prevention to the communities in Utah served by the Independent Living Centers.

“We will target people with disabilities or mental illness, but also the communities at large,” Peck said. “The number one cause of death in Utah is suicide. It has surpassed motor vehicle deaths, which I think is tragic.”

Utah is #5 in the nation in suicide completion, Peck said, and is part of the so-called “suicide belt” consisting of Wyoming (#1), Montana (#3), New Mexico (#4), Colorado (#6), Idaho (#7), Nevada (#8) and Arizona (not in the top 10). Oregon is rated #9 and Oklahoma rounds out the top 10.

According to information from the Utah Department of Health, one in 15 adults in Utah have had serious thoughts of suicide.

In 2012, Utah ranked #7 for suicides ages 10-17, and in 2013, suicide was the #1 cause of death for Utahns ages 10-17 in 2013. That same year, Logan had the highest youth suicide rate.

In an average classroom of 30 youth, eight will report feeling sad and hopeless. Five will have seriously considered suicide, and four will have made a plan. Two will have attempted suicide one or more times, and one will have had medical treatment for a suicide attempt.

Statistical information regarding suicide attempts and completions specifically among people with disabilities is not available.

International visitors at CPD

April 30, 2015 by Sue Reeves

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Clay Christensen (right) explains the function of the AT Lab to visitors from the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.

Six visitors from the United Arab Emirates toured the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University on Tuesday, learning about the Utah Professional Development Network, the Assistive Technology Lab, ASSERT, WebAIM and SKI-HI.

The topics for their meetings included research and education initiatives undertaken by CPD on behalf of people with disabilities; awareness and services in rural areas due to the fact Utah is a largely rural state; and specialized programs for hearing and vision impaired and deaf/blindness.

The visitors arrived in Salt Lake City on Saturday and departed today. During their stay, they also met with representatives from the Disability Law Center, the Utah Center for Assistive Technology, the Utah Parent Center, the Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities, and the Kostopulos Dream Foundation. The visit began at Westminster College with a welcome from the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy. The UAE visitors were participants in the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Congratulations, graduates!

April 28, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Student With Diploma Shows GraduationGraduation is this Saturday—congratulations to these CPD graduates!

Rachel Anderson is from Mendon, Utah and works with StartSmart. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science and plans to attend Idaho State University’s physician assistant school in the fall.

McKadee Douglass is from Smithfield, Utah, and works with ASSERT as a teacher. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Family, Consumer and Human Development, and will move to Florida following graduation to work at Walt Disney World, running children’s activities.

Heather Harris is from Brigham City, Utah, and works at ASSERT as a lead instructor. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Family, Consumer and Human Development with an emphasis in Human Development Lifespan. She will work at Logan River Academy as a mentor.

Lindsey Lombard is from Chicago, Ill., and is a mentor with Aggies Elevated. She graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. In addition to working with Aggies Elevated, she works at Old Navy in Logan.

Dorothy Peacock is from Cedar City, Utah, and works with StartSmart. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and plans to move to Wyoming to start her career.

Shaylee Skillicorn is from Bountiful, Utah, and works with StartSmart. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is looking for a position as a human resource professional or in management.

Savannah Thompson is from Blackfoot, Idaho, and works with ASSERT. She will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in German and Psychology. She plans to continue her education with a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and a doctorate in Clinical Counseling Psychology.

Christa Vance is from Bountiful, Utah, and works with StartSmart. She graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in Family, Consumer, Human Development with an emphasis in Family Finance. She plans to continue her education and work in the field of family finance.

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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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