High school youth get hands-on experiences at USU

June 30, 2011 by cpehrson

A group of high school students visited the USU campus this week and “had a blast!”

This was the observation of the group’s leader, Kristy Jones, who directs the Health Careers Opportunities Program (HCOP) at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

HCOP is a year-round program for high school students in the Ogden area that helps students from a variety of backgrounds prepare for college and eventually a career in medicine or health.  The students learn about different health-care careers, get hands-on learning opportunities, like doing dissections, and go on field trips to local health-care programs. In the process, they find out just how rewarding—and fun—college can be.

This is all done in the hopes that the students will choose a career in the health care field and continue on to get a college education.

The students who visited USU are part of the HCOP Summer Program, a competitive program that gives 30 students the opportunity to come to WSU for six weeks where they’ll learn even more about health-care careers, participate in classes and labs, go on field trips, like this one, and even earn minimum wage for the time spent in class.

While on the USU campus, the students visited the Communications Disorder and Deaf Education Department and observed hearing and hearing aid testing, and were given a tour of the department by URLEND faculty member, Vicki Simonsmeir.  They heard about the latest research on nutrition from registered dietician, Kelsey Rich, a member of the IDASL class at the CPD.  The highlight was their visit to CPD’s Utah Assistive Technology Lab, where  they learned about assistive technology apps for electronic devices, and got to help build slant chairs for supported seating.

The visit to USU came about as a result of a longstanding partnership between HCOP and the CPD’s Interdisciplinary Training Division directed by Dr. Judith Holt.



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Let’s Talk! about ‘unseen disabilities’

June 29, 2011 by cpehrson

By definition, “unseen disabilities” are not immediately apparent in an individual.  A wide range of medical conditions fall into this category, such as deafness, diabetes, epilepsy, or mental illness.  Even someone who is mildly to moderately cognitively impaired may not appear to have a disability right away.  An unseen disability may be found at birth or appear later on in life, or even as a result of an accident, as in the case of someone with a traumatic brain injury.

People with unseen disabilities are often viewed as not having a disability at all, simply because they do not look out of the ordinary.

But, that can create many problems, especially if they need accommodations in order to function and succeed in school, a job, and daily life situations.

This Let’s Talk discussion is about the experiences that those with unseen disabilities have had, both negative and positive.

What has been the hardest thing that you or your family member with an unseen disability has had to deal with?

How have the schools worked with you or your family member who has an unseen disability?

How do people with unseen disabilities communicate with their employers in order to receive the accommodations and understanding that they need to hold down a job?

What advice would you give to someone with an unseen disability to help them be successful?

Ready, set….Let’s Talk!

Please let us know of other topics that you would like to talk about.

(Note:  All comments will be filtered to maintain confidentiality and appropriateness.)

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CAC members share top concerns

June 28, 2011 by cpehrson

Last week the CPD Consumer Advisory Council members gathered at their semi-annual meeting and identified many of the disability issues that they are currently dealing with.

Under the direction of CPD Director, Bryce Fifield, the eleven members listed the top five concerns in their lives.  As they went around and named a concern, many of the members found that they shared the same ones.  All together, they came up with 36 different areas that are barriers in their lives or the lives of those with disabilities that they work with.

Some of the top issues that were identified include:

  • Services that Medicaid no longer covers, such as dental and optical
  • What is the future for Medicaid?
  • Being aware of and connecting to the best services for individual needs
  • Lack of employment opportunities for those with disabilities
  • Disability awareness in the community; in particular, realizing the accommodations needed for those with unseen disabilities
  • Lack of adult services for adults with ASD
  • Being aware of parent education services and advocacy groups
  • Lack of accessible and affordable housing
  • Use of adapted classroom materials; using age-appropriate materials in the classroom

These topics will continue to be discussed in the monthly CAC blog posts written by CAC members, and other future CPD blog posts on this web site.

The rest of the meeting was spent reviewing the CPD 5-year Core Grant planning areas and identifying where these issues fit into the current CPD project topics and which areas could be addressed in future projects.

All in all, it was a very productive meeting, highlighted by good company, good food, and a good discussion.  It ended with a group photo found at the top of this blog post.

If you have other issues and concerns that you would like to add to the ones listed here, please feel free to comment below.




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CPD seeks applicants

June 27, 2011 by JoLynne Lyon

The CPD seeks to fill several jobs this summer. For more details on each job, go to the USU jobs site, click on “search postings” in the upper left hand corner, and enter the name of the job.

Associate Director

TAESE is seeking a highly qualified person for an Associate Director for the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center.

MPRRC is a federally funded project providing an array of technical assistance services to states on issues related to accountability, general supervision, and improvement of results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. It is one of six U.S. Department of Education-funded Regional Resource Centers working in collaboration as the Regional Resource Center Program (RRCP).

We are currently seeking an individual who can bring special education technical assistance and administrative experience to our talented and innovative team. The candidate should be a self-starter exhibiting extensive experience in providing training and technical assistance. She/he needs to have integrity and established credibility in the disability community. Demonstrated abilities to work openly in a team environment are required. The selected candidate must have good communication and group facilitation skills and be willing to travel as needed to complete technical assistance assignments.


This person’s primary responsibility is to direct the CPD’s Assistive Technology (AT) Initiative, which includes management of the statewide Utah Assistive Technology Program.

This position entails generating funds to support major statewide programs for AT services and related services; hiring, supervising, supporting, and evaluating professional staff; overseeing ongoing program evaluation activities; collecting information on practices that support community inclusion of individuals with disabilities; conducting research on issues related to assistive technology; overseeing public awareness and marketing of the AT initiative; maintaining relationships with staff, academic departments, stakeholders, legislature, disability advocacy organizations, AT consumers and providers. This position requires extensive collaboration to develop programmatic partnerships.

Associate Development Director

The Center for Persons with Disabilities is seeking an associate development officer to work with potential donors and administrators at the CPD and the EEJ College of Education and Human Services.

The new officer will be involved in a development campaign in conjunction with the CPD’s upcoming 40th Anniversary Celebration. This position requires a strong sense of ethics, discretion, and independent judgment, working within strict adherence to CPD and University guidelines and procedures.

Under the direction of the Executive Director of the Center for Persons with Disabilities, the Development Officer will work closely with the Development Officer within the College of Education and Human Services and the University Advancement Office to identify funding sources and complete financial contribution transactions with prospective donors, donors, foundations, charitable organizations, and other financial sources directly related to CPD development.


Keeping Memories Alive: Tips to help you remember

June 24, 2011 by cpehrson

All of us forget things once in a while.  Putting a string around your finger to help you remember might work, unless you forget what the string is for!

If you find that your forgetfulness is causing you problem, there are a few things that  you can do to help you cope.

Write it down.

  • Keep lists
  • Keep a detailed calendar/planner
  • Keep phone numbers and other contact information in an address book.
  • If you have trouble remembering how to do something, write down the steps.

To remember where you put things

  • Put important items (keys, purse, cell phone) in the same spot
  • If you have to put something down in a different place, say the location out loud.
  • If necessary, write down  where things are.

To stay on top of times and places

  • Set an alarm clock or timer to remind you when to leave for an appointment.
  • Use a map/gps to help you get to an unfamiliar place.
  • Ask family and friends to remind you of where you need to be and things you’re supposed to do.

Following the same routine each day will help you stay organized and keep your mind clear.

Note: This is the third in a series of blogs about fighting memory loss that will be posted throughout the summer.  The next posting will give you some  good ideas of things to do to stimulate your mind.