Recognizing communities that are friendly to children with special health care needs

November 30, 2009 by JoLynne Lyon

Photo courtesy of Kids on the Move in Utah County, Utah.

Photo courtesy of Kids on the Move in Utah County, Utah.

The Star Communities program is recognizing inclusive communities that are doing a good job serving the families of children and youth with special health care needs. So far, 13 cities and counties have been identified, including Utah County and Yakima, Washington. Both are featured in the CPD’s NewsFlash newsletter for November.

Star Communities are good models of community-based service systems. They facilitate the integration of services and supports by encouraging a variety of programs to work together to meet the many, varied needs of children, youth, and families in the community.

ChampionsInC is sponsoring this recognition program because its mission as a national center of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau is to support communities in organizing services for families of children and youth with special health care needs. As a project at the Center for Persons with Disabilities’ Early Intervention Research Institute at Utah State University, ChampionsInC realizes that there are communities throughout the nation – probably even where you work or live – who are doing an excellent job with family-driven services. But they need you to help find them.

Some guidelines to look for in the community:
•    Families are partners in decision making;
•     Medical homes work in coordination with other services;
•    Children receive early and continuous developmental screening services;
•    Adequate financing ensures that families receive needed services;
•    Services and supports are easily accessed, coordinated, and culturally     competent;
•    Transitions throughout life happen smoothly.

If you know of a community that that is meeting some, or even all, of these guidelines and you would like them to receive the recognition they deserve, contact Cora Price at ChampionsInC: 800-887-1699.

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Up to 3 Children Enjoy Holiday Events

November 30, 2009 by cpehrson

Playing at the Fun Park

Playing at the Fun Park

The Up to 3 Early Intervention program at the CPD encourages the children at Up to 3, their siblings and parents to come to a wide variety of community activities during this holiday season.  Participation is free and Up to 3 staff will attend all activities and provide any support that is needed.

Participating in these fun activities will give the children at Up to 3 an opportunity  to join in some of the fun holiday activities that they might otherwise miss.  This will also give the professional staff at Up to 3 an opportunity to see the children they work with in a different setting than they usually do, and they will be able to encourage skill building while they are having a fun time!

Activities include:

For Cache County: Surviving the Holiday Stress at the CPD, Fun Park Soft Play Area, Christmas Nativity in Nibley, Jumpin’ Jungle at High Point Gymnastics, Story Time at Borders Book Store, Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Show at Eccles Ice Center, Time In, Time Out at the CPD, and Bumper Bowling at Logan Lanes.

For Box Elder County:  Candy Cane Hunt at Midland Square in Tremonton, Christmas Story Time at the Tremonton Library, Bumper Bowling at Brigham City Fine Arts Center, Puppet Show at the Brigham City Fine Arts Center, Make and Take Ornaments at the Up to 3 Center in Brigham City.

This is a wonderful way for the Up to 3 service coordinators to meet with the children and families they serve in an inclusive community environment.  To learn more about the dates and times for these activities, parents can contact their Up to 3 service coordinator.

YouTube Now More Accessible

November 24, 2009 by cpehrson

This month the Google/YouTube team announced the preliminary roll-out of an automatic captioning feature in YouTube, an innovation that uses speech recognition technology to turn the spoken word into text captions. This feature will make YouTube more accessible to people who are deaf or have hearing impairments, but will also have a broader impact. YouTube captions can also be automatically translated, making video more accessible across languages.

YouTube has had the ability to manually caption videos for a while, but this new feature automatically captions and times the transcripts. Note that only 13 YouTube channels will feature this automated captioning at this time, but all video owners will be able to upload transcripts and automatically time them.

Another web accessible feature that will allow more accessibility for those with visual impairments is the “Easy YouTube” interface.  On the site, you can search for a video or enter the URL of a specific YouTube video and it will offer three video sizes to choose from.

Together, these two new features will remove many of the previous barriers and open YouTube up to many more users.

To learn more about how the new YouTube works, go to the Official Google Blog web page.

Reminder: Sign up for Electronic Aids Training by Monday

November 23, 2009 by cpehrson

This is a reminder to all those interested in participating in the Electronic Aid to Daily Living online interactive training to be held on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 from 3:00-4:30 p.m.

The deadline for registration is Monday, November 30th.  To participate you will only need a computer with high-speed internet access. If you are interested in participating,  please RSVP to Heather Young via email  to or call 435-797-7412.  She will email you the participant instructions.

The Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP) is sponsoring this FREE online training titled Electronic Aids to Daily Living – Increasing your Independence. It will be presented by Kent Remund, Director of the Utah Center for Assistive Technology (UCAT).

Electronic Aids to Daily Living (EADL) offer ways to automate and control a host of tasks around the home or office.  This training will review a variety of EADLs and different ways to access them.  It will show the range of basic and less expensive devices up through advanced and high end systems. Participants will hear from successful users and how it helped improve their lives.

If accommodations are needed to participate in the training please contact Sachin Pavithran at 435-797-6572 or no later than Monday, November 30, to make arrangements.

Rosa’s Law Advocates for Kinder Words

November 23, 2009 by cpehrson

By the CPD Consumer Advisory Council members

“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.” (Buddha)

The words that have been used through the ages to refer to people with cognitive disabilities have often been less than kind, and have usually had a negative connotation.  Words such as retard, dumbbell, idiot, and others leave a bad taste in our mouths and have a direct impact on the attitude that others have towards those with cognitive disabilities.  Other words that have attempted to be kinder are often seen as offensive to individuals with cognitive disabilities and their family members.  Words like mentally impaired, intellectually disabled, handicapped, differentially-abled, and even special needs.

Presently, more than 6 million people have been diagnosed with cognitive disabilities in this country. A bill is now being introduced to Congress to strike the term “mentally retarded” or “mental retardation” from federal use and to substitute the words “intellectual disabilities.”  The bill is called “Rosa”s Law,” and is named for Rosa Marcellino, an 8-year-old girl with Down syndrome, whose 14-year-old brother spoke to Maryland legislators recently about using “words that are hurtful.”

Mark Twain has said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

We have an opportunity now to help chose the “right words” to use to refer to someone with intellectual disabilities. We have an opportunity to change the way that people think about people with intellectual disabilities, by using kinder, more thoughtful words.  Buddha said, “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care, for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”

The Consumer Advisory Council at the CPD supports the use of kinder, more thoughtful words.  We urge others to advocate for Rosa’s Law and change the words used in federal language.

To read more about advocacy for Rosa’s Law, visit the AUCD website.