The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University

Outstanding authors

May 16, 2016 by Kelly Smith

Dr. Cyndi Rowland, Jonathan Whiting, Jared Smith

A recent publication by Dr. Cyndi Rowland, Jonathan Whiting, and Jared Smith was awarded the “Outstanding Author Contribution” in the 2016 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence.

The cited chapter, entitled “What do you need to create and maintain web accessibility?”  was published in Accessible Instructional Design, Advances in Special Education Technology. It shares the expertise of the WebAIM team and outlines key factors for developers, designers, and content creators, as well as administrators to support enterprise-wide accessibility.

The Emerald Literati Awards celebrate and reward outstanding contributions of authors and reviewers to scholarly research. Awards are presented to highly cited papers from all publishers.

WebAIM has operated at the CPD for over 16 years, and has served clients around the world in all sectors of society including government, non-profit, education, business, and health care. Their mission is  “to expand the potential of the Web for people with disabilities by providing the knowledge, technical skills, tools, organizational leadership strategies, and vision that empower organizations to make their own content accessible to people with disabilities.” WebAIM offers many services including training, site evaluation, accessible site design, and consultation.

Below is an excerpt from the cited chapter.

While it may be trite, it is true. The internet has changed our world in immeasurable ways. Across all countries and all sectors of society, the web has left an imprint. Few people can imagine a future without access to the internet (e.g., for education, commerce, employment, government, or entertainment); this includes browser-based access to the internet from a variety of hardware configurations including desk or laptop computers to tablets and smartphones….. 

Yet, there is a continuing struggle to provide educational web content to everyone. For those individuals with a disability affecting computer and internet use, thinking of a future without the web is all too easy. That is because they struggle now to fully access content on the web, even with assistive technologies that would allow them to do so. Barriers to internet access are generally the result of the design of web pages and applications. High-end designs, even those with embedded media, can be made accessible without substantial changes to look or feel. The promise of Universal Design for Learning will be impossible if instructional content is not accessible to all.

Click here to read the entire chapter: “What do you need to create and maintain web accessibility?”.



Farewell celebration for the CPD building!

May 4, 2016 by Kelly Smith

Grapic with splattered paint

Here’s your chance to create a work of art with spray paint on a brick wall without being arrested! Please join us in a final celebration of the Center for Persons with Disabilities building, scheduled for demolition near the end of May. This is a unique opportunity to have fun while supporting a great cause.

Cans of paint will be available for purchase for $10 each, and artwork will be photographed and shared on social media. Proceeds go towards funding programs and classrooms for children in the new Clinical Services Building, which will be constructed on the site of the original CPD building. All artists will be entered in a drawing for prizes, with one ticket allotted for each can of paint purchased. Prizes will be distributed throughout the duration of the event.

The Paint Party will be held on May 12, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Come channel your inner artist and help us remember the good times and the good works at the CPD over the last 44 years!

CPD pioneer, Dr. Wilbur “Bill” Thain, dies

May 2, 2016 by Kelly Smith

Thain performing a medical exam on a child, circa 1976.Dr. Wilbur “Bill” Thain died following a short illness on April 30, 2016. Thain was a member of the original committee that planned and established the Exceptional Child Center (ECC), which later became the Center for Persons with Disabilities. He was integral to the formation and development of the Center, and he served as its first medical director for 13 years.

Thain also had a private practice in Logan, Utah, and delivered over 3,000 babies in 30 years. He loved working with children with special needs and was outspoken about improving opportunities for them.

When the ECC first opened, Thain conducted medical and neurological evaluations. In time, the medical program grew and began to offer more comprehensive services. The clinic Thain was developing began to treat large numbers of children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), a disorder that was widely misunderstood at the time.

Additionally, the clinic became increasingly multidisciplinary, a tradition that lives on at the Center to this day. Children received psychological services, physical therapy, and special education referrals as necessary. Speaking of the interaction between the school housed in the ECC and his medical clinic, Thain noted, “The school and the services at the ECC were truly unique. It had a different approach than medical institutions took to disabilities. It started a trend, at all centers nationwide, to emphasize education and psychology.”

In 2013, Thain was honored as the CPD Alumnus of the Year and recognized for helping shape the identity and reputation of the fledgling CPD, as well as for serving thousands of families and helping train numerous young interns. His decades of service had an enormous influence on individuals with disabilities and their families, not only in the immediate vicinity, but throughout the region. Without Thain’s medical expertise and guidance, the CPD’s distinctive and exemplary history of providing medical services to children and adults with disabilities may not have taken shape. His death at age 90 leaves a thriving legacy in the widely respected CPD Medical Division.

A viewing will be held on Monday, May 2, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Allen-Hall Mortuary, 34 E. Center St., in Logan and from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the Benson LDS Church. The funeral will follow at 12 p.m. A complete obituary is available here. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you honor Dr. Thain with a gift to the CPD. Select “Department of” from the first drop down, then “Center for Persons with Disabilities” from the next drop down, or  make a check out to “CPD in memory of Dr. Thain” and mail your gift to:
     Center for Persons with Disabilities
     6800 Old Main Hill
     Logan UT, 84322

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Up to 3 thanks Braveheart Run organizers and runners

April 29, 2016 by Kelly Smith

three Braveheart Race ScenesThe Up to 3 program at the CPD wishes to thank USU students who sponsored the 2016 Braveheart 5K/10K. Proceeds were donated to Up to 3 and will be used to support their mission of promoting the development of children, under the age of 3, who have any type of disability or developmental delay. Up to 3 serves children and families living in Cache, Box Elder, and Rich Counties. Services include physical therapy, occupational therapy, hearing and vision consultation and specialized instruction for autistic children.

Race donations were originally designated to support Aadyn Rae Olsen, who was born with Baby Lou Gehrigs disease or type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). However, before the event, 9-month-old Aadyn passed away. Braveheart  organizers planned on donating the race proceeds to to Aadyn’s  family, but her mother, Brittany Rostron asked that the donations be given to Up-to-3, whose staff had worked with Aadyn.

“I would rather whatever money they raise go to someone who could use it now….” Rostron said. “I would rather it help children.”

The Braveheart 6th Annual 5/10K Run was held April 16th. The race is organized annually by USU students with the purpose of raising funds for a family with a child in need of medical assistance. The Braveheart race was established in 2011 as a service project by the USU Detachment 860th Cadet Wing to support members of the Cache Valley community. All proceeds help offset the healthcare costs for local families raising children with congenital birth defects and health disorders. The race gives runners the option of a  5K or a 10K course around the USU campus, as well as a kid’s fun run.

A big thank you from the Center for Persons with Disabilities and Up to 3 goes out to the Braveheart organization as well as all the runners who participated.

A dad walks his toddler over the finish line.




CAC Corner: The stare

April 25, 2016 by Kelly Smith

Profile of adult maleThis month’s CAC Corner was written by CAC member Laura Anderson and originally posted on the Mother’s of Autistic Kids (Big MAKS) web site. Anderson is a member of the CPD Consumer Advisory Council, and mother of Ty, a child with autism. 

As a parent of a child with autism you become all to aware of “The Stare”.  Because many of our kids lack the visual cue that they have a disability ( a wheel chair, walker, distinguishable physical characteristic) the looks and stares can feel like a judgement or criticism.  The stares tend to come with the verbal outbursts,flapping, slapping clapping, hooting, screaming (you get the picture).  Many of these outward expressions of autism can be excused when the child is  younger, but the tables are turned when your son is 6’3″, 180 lbs, has facial hair and a deep bass voice.

We were the recipients of THE STARE Saturday night while being seated for dinner at Chili’s.  As we walked to our table, Ty (see the above description) sneezed directly over a mans plate.  *STARE*  We hurried to get seated so we could order the gentleman another dinner (yes, we replace many dinners that we take food from – and drinks that we put fingers in).  Before we could get Ty into the booth, the gentleman was up out of his seat heading for the manager.  My husband, Austin,  went after him to explain that we were going to replace his dinner and to offer our apologies, wanting  to let him know that Ty has autism, and has not learned the valuable skill of covering his mouth when he sneezes or coughs.

I watched from several seats away as these two men were engaged in their conversation, trying to catch a word of their exchange, hoping that Austin would stay calm.  I assumed we would be asked to leave after replacing the meal. 
The man turned away from Austin and walked toward our table…I was ready for the lecture…”You shouldn’t take your son out in public, you should teach him, you should…”  A conversation we have all heard too many times.

He approached the table and introduced himself as a Special Education Teacher from Ogden and insisted on buying us dessert.  He went on to explain his love for his job and the students he worked with, and how happy he was to see us out as a family. 
This man is my hero – and he can stare at us anytime he wants to.
Laura – Ty’s Mom

The CPD Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) composed of individuals with disabilities, family members, and staff liaisons advises the CPD director about the Center’s impact on systems change, advocacy, and capacity building. The CAC approves the CPD’s annual goals and regularly reviews progress towards their accomplishment.

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