The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University

Holiday happenings at the CPD

December 17, 2014 by Sue Reeves

Small tree with paper ornaments.

Giving Tree gifts have been purchased and wrapped and are awaiting distribution on Friday, Dec. 19.

Don’t forget, the CPD Holiday Lunch will begin at noon on Friday, Dec. 19 in Room 170. Bring a side dish, salad or dessert to share, and join in the fellowship of the holiday season with your co-workers!

Gifts from the Giving Tree have been purchased and wrapped, and are awaiting distribution to three CPD client families who needed a little extra help this year. Thanks to everyone who picked out a tag, bought a gift or made a donation.

The DSL Family Cookbooks have been delivered! The books are filled with more than 125 yummy-sounding recipes from DSL participant families and friends. They are in the CPD main office and are available for $15 each, or buy three and get one free! Money raised from the sale of the cookbooks will fund respite care for adults with severe disabilities at DSL.

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Heidi’s Happenings: Giving Thanks and Giving Back

December 15, 2014 by Sue Reeves

Heidi Hill is a guest blogger for the CPD’s Developmental Skills Laboratory (DSL), a day program for adults with disabilities. Heidi loves to type and each month she’ll be sharing the fun activities that she and her “buds” are doing at DSL.

Two men with a box.

Participant Reed (left) and DSL program director Drake Rasmussen gather food for the DSL food drive.

November was Thanksgiving and Heidi had a birthday! Heidi and her DSL buds did lots of fun things to remember November. We had an awesome Science Day and did many experiments. It was cool and fun.  The buds went to the store and gathered many boxes to paint and collect food for the DSL annual food drive. The buds painted about 20 large boxes and for one whole week gathered different food items.  We gathered pasta, rice, beans, soup, canned goods, cereal, oatmeal and many other nutritious and delicious food for those who need a little bit of help. All together the DSL buds gathered about 300 pounds of food. Pretty good for there not being a whole bunch of us!

We also went to the movies to see “Big Hero 6” we sure did enjoy that flick.

The Monday before Thanksgiving, Heid and her buds always celebrate Thanksgiving together as one big family. We had quite the feast! We had turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberries, corn, salad, rolls, and nine pies! We gave thanks for each other, and all of our blessings.

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DSL Cookbooks make a great stocking stuffer!

December 11, 2014 by Sue Reeves

DSL cookbook cover for blogNeed a last minute stocking stuffer? Or some new ideas for feeding family and guests this holiday season?

Your friends at DSL have you covered. We have assembled 125+ our favorite holiday recipes into an 8 1/2 x 11-inch, spiral-bound cookbook for you to take home and enjoy with your family. They also make great gifts.

As you share these fun and delicious recipes with loved ones, you will also be making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. All the proceeds will go to provide respite care and support for DSL participants and their families.

Pre-order your DSL Family Cookbooks for $15 at the front office of the CPD. If you buy three, you’ll get one free! The cookbooks will be available for pick-up on Thursday, Dec. 18 (delivery can be arranged).

An un-bound proof copy of the cookbook is available to preview in the CPD main office (Caution! it will make you hungry!)


Giving Tree still has ornaments!

The CPD Giving Tree still has ornaments representing gifts for CPD client families who need a little extra help this year. Stop by the CPD main office to choose an ornament (or make a cash donation, and we’ll do the shopping for you!). The gifts will be presented to the families after the CPD Holiday Party on Friday, Dec. 19.


Preserve accessible recreation at Oneida Narrows

December 9, 2014 by Sue Reeves

Man and child kayaking.

Kayaking on the Oneida Narrows (courtesy photo).

The Oneida Narrows (north of Preston) is a popular recreation area in Cache Valley. It is  is one of the few places that  is easily accessible for those who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments for flyfishing and kayaking/tubing. The proposed dam would flood the canyon, creating a reservoir and another hydroelectric plant. Public comment  is being accepted until December 17. It’s simple to do and could make the difference in saving this area. Please make your voice heard!

Gordon Richins, the CPD’s consumer liaison, said this: “I am an individual with quadriplegia (paralyzed from the shoulders down) and use a power wheelchair for mobility along with the accessible transportation. I have  canoed on the Oneida Narrows as well as enjoyed the campgrounds many times. This is a beautiful recreational area in Cache Valley that also happens to be very accessible to the disability community and those of us with various disabilities who love the outdoors and enjoy them just as much as anyone else.”

Man standing in water fishing.

Fishing on the Oneida Narrows. (courtesy photo)

Brenda Smith, TAESE program coordinator, said this: “As a lifelong resident of Cache Valley, I oppose the creation of a dam in the Oneida Narrows recreation area. I have been fishing and recreating in this canyon my entire life. The Oneida Narrows is one of the few places in the Cache/Franklin area that is accessible for outdoorsmen with disabilities. As a child, I remember this was one of the few places that my uncle, a lifelong resident of Weston, ID and a person with cerebral palsy and limited mobility, could easily access and fish. Although he passed away several years ago, I would hate to see others with mobility limited to accessibility of wheelchairs or as in my uncle’s case crutches, denied the ability to recreate in this beautiful canyon. The Red Banks area is one of my favorite fall fly fishing spots, and it is my hope that I can continue to enjoy its beauty and serenity each autumn. My two children deserve to enjoy the accessibility and splendor of this area, as I did as a child.”

To add your voice to the conversation, follow these steps:

1) Go to

2) Click the large orange button that says “e-comment”.
3) Fill out the short form with your name, address, and email.
4) The system will then generate an email to you with a live link allowing you to file comments. The docket number you need to enter is P-12486-008. I would suggest composing your comments in advance so you can just copy and paste them in the text field; otherwise the system may time out while you are working on your comments.
5) Hit “submit” and your comments will become part of the public record.
More information about the project is available through the links below:
Watch a video:
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Holt and Simonsmeier present AUCD poster

December 4, 2014 by Sue Reeves

Image of poster

This poster, presented by Judith Holt and Vicki Simonsmeier at AUCD, can be viewed in the CPD’s southwest hallway.

Two staff members at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities presented a poster at the recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) conference in Washington, D.C. Judith Holt and Vicki Simonsmeier presented a poster entitled “Technology Use in the PacWest LEND Programs.” Holt and Simonsmeier were joined in the research by colleagues S. Heimerl from New Mexico and K. Ward from Alaska.

The purpose of the research project featured in the poster was to explore the use of technologies within each of the PacWest Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) programs and to assess the pros and cons of an array of technological tools and applications.

Seven different types of technology were surveyed: recorded video, ePortfolio, Web-based video such as Skype, phone conferences, social media, room-to-room video such as Polycom, and Web-based learning platform such as Blackboard. The survey found that all of the PacWest LEND programs used technology for some component of their training program, and overall, the Hawaii program used technology more than any of the other programs, followed by the Utah Regional program (housed at the CPD), Nevada and Arizona.

Consistent with the findings of other authors, half of the LEND training programs reported that trainees could more easily grasp and use a variety of technology, but faculty members were sometimes hesitant in accepting its use.