Celebrating Motherhood-Birth options seminar

October 31, 2011 by cpehrson

The National Children’s Study-Cache Valley is hosting a health seminar on November 5, 2011, from 10:00 – 2:00 at the USU Extension Office, 179 N. Main Street, Suite 109, Logan, Utah.

The topic is Celebrating Motherhood-Birth Options.  This seminar is designed to help women who are pregnant or thinking about having a baby sort through the options surrounding pregnancy and childbirth.

Speakers include Dr. Brian Carlson, a family physician, who will be speaking about the care provided both in office visits as well as during labor and delivery.  D’Anne Moon from the Cache Valley Women’s Center, will discuss birthing plans – what are they, how to create one and how to communicate it during labor.  She will also be speaking as a certified nurse midwife who works in conjunction with physicians, joined by Anne Pico, who is a direct entry midwife.  Dolores Michael, who is a dula, will speak about comfort measures during labor – ways to manage your pain naturally.  The La Leche League will also be presenting information about the benefits of breastfeeding.

This is the first in a series of health information seminars geared toward pregnant women.  The NCS-Cache Valley plans is to hold the Birthing Options seminar annually or biannually, as well as another seminar on issues facing a family immediately after the birth of a child. Possible topics include choosing a child care provider, post partum depression, exercise,  breastfeeding and weaning.
If you are interested in learning more about the National Children’s Study, or would like to participate in it, you can go to the NCS website.

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Low-interest loans help Utahns with disabilities

October 28, 2011 by cpehrson

Many people with disabilities need equipment or assistive technology that is very costly.  Some cannot afford to purchase them and do without things that would make their lives easier or increase their independence.

The Utah Assistive Technology Foundation offers a solution for them.

UATF is a private, non-profit organization that works with Zions Bank to provide low-interest loans to people with disabilities who live in Utah. The UATF offers a variety of loan options, depending on the need of the applicant.

Examples of assistive technology loans ranging from $500 to $50,000 include: adapted vans, hearing aids, home/work modifications, braille equipment, scooters/wheelchairs, and modified computers.

UATF also offers agricultural loans to farmers with disabilities who may need equipment or adaptations in order to remain independent and productive.

Another loan option helps makes it possible for individuals with disabilities to work from their home.  A telework loan may be approved for a qualified Utah resident with a disability to begin a new telework or telecommuting job for an employer, remain employed in an existing telework job, or to start or expand their own business.

Over the years, the UATF has been able to help hundreds of Utahns with disabilities of all ages obtain loans and grants to purchase the assistive technology that allows them to be independent, productive and successful at home, at school, at work and in the community.

UATF changes lives:

“We were so excited when we learned of this funding source and that our bathroom modifications would qualify for funding.  What a lifesaver!  We love how it has improved our son’s life!  Thank you!”

“I could not have come up with the money without this program.  In fact, finances are why I have gone  without hearing aids for at least 20 years.”

To read about how a small UATF business loan helped out a family, go the the Utah Assistive Technology Program blog.

Independence is priceless. UATF can help make it affordable.

To find out more about how to apply for a UATF loan, visit their website.

UATF is part of the Utah Assistive Technology Program, an initiative of the CPD.

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Meet the 2011 Volunteer of the Year

October 27, 2011 by JoLynne Lyon

Laurie Fifield

Laurie Fifield

Laurie Fifield is the 2011 Volunteer of the Year.

If the last name sounds familiar, that’s because she’s the wife of director Bryce Fifield. She’s also a dream volunteer. “I don’t have to check up on her,” said Jeff Sheen, the CPD’s volunteer coordinator. “She’s a community member, she’s reliable, she’s consistent.”

She also helps out in one of the CPD’s more challenging places for volunteers: the Disability Skills Laboratory. It requires some dependability, since the clients there need some structure. Volunteers who work there need to undergo a background check. For many of them, working at the DSL requires a step outside the comfort zone, at least at first.

It was a step Laurie took because she wanted to volunteer, preferably at the CPD. She didn’t know what to expect at first, but it grew on her. “I know it’s worth it,” she said. “I like the reactions that I get… It’s just fun to make them smile.”

Laurie brought her experience as a preschool and second-grade teacher with her. She began helping out with outings at the DSL, but eventually the staff invited her to sing songs and tell stories once a week. She began a weekly story time in August of 2009, bringing a guitar along with her. It’s a good instrument, she said; she can face people while she sings.

With time she learned what the participants liked and built the stories and songs around themes they were interested in. Her last story time was dedicated to Halloween. On one week in September she focused on trains because she knew the participants would be riding one during a visit to the Clarke Planetarium in Salt Lake City.

Laurie’s advice to other volunteers: Stick with it. With time you will gain a better understanding of the people you serve and what works best for them.

“I think people should be encouraged to volunteer,” she said. “It helps you learn about other people and gives you a wider view of what the world is really like.”

Laurie plays a guitar during story time

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Dr. Temple Grandin and a CPD faculty fellow on Utah Public Radio

October 26, 2011 by JoLynne Lyon

Dr. Grandin

Dr. Temple Grandin

An interview with Dr. Temple Grandin will air on Utah Public Radio tomorrow (Thursday, October 27) at 9 a.m. during the Access Utah program. This interview airs in advance of Grandin’s visit to Utah State University on November 2, when she will deliver two lectures: one on autism, the other on animal handling.

At 9:30 a.m., CPD Faculty Fellow Vicki Simonsmeier will appear on Access Utah.  Simonsmeier works with three clinics affiliated with the CPD. All three have an autism focus.

Dr. Grandin is an expert on animal behavior who has designed humane handling systems for half the cattle-processing facilities in the US. She consults with the meat industry nationally and internationally to develop animal welfare guidelines. She also has autism spectrum disorder, and her insider’s view of ASD has added a lot to the world’s understanding and discussion of autism.

Dr. Grandin has stressed in books and interviews  that people on the spectrum are often sensitive to sounds, smells or other stimuli, to the point that certain sounds, sights or even a touch can be physically painful. These sensitivities can complicate a child’s nutrition and make it hard to deal with situations that may overstimulating.

Simonsmeier works with an interdisciplinary feeding clinic and a social language group that addresses some of these issues.

These are two interviews you don’t want to miss!

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New 2011 regulations for Early Intervention

October 25, 2011 by cpehrson

photo of toddlers

“Oct 8, 2011 marked 25 years since President Reagan signed into effect Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) allowing services for children under 3.  That’s a huge milestone!”  said CPD’s Early Intervention Coordinator Marla Nef.  “And now we have new regulations that will go into effect Oct 28th on updates to this law.”

It’s been a long time-1999- since new regulations for the Infant and Toddlers program have been published.   On October 21, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education announced the release of the 2011 newly revised regulations for early intervention.

These new regulations focus on measuring and improving outcomes for the approximately 350,000 infants and toddlers with disabilities served by the Part C program in the U.S., with the goal of ensuring that these children are ready for preschool and kindergarten.

“As everyone who works in education understands, one of the most important things we can offer children is a high-quality early learning experience that prepares them for kindergarten,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated.  “This is true for all children – but it’s especially important for infants and toddlers with disabilities to have access to high-quality early intervention services that prepare them to successfully transition to preschool and kindergarten.”

“Early intervention works!”  So states Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy. He emphasized how critical it is for our nation’s future that children with disabilities enter school ready to succeed in “integrated and inclusive classrooms.”

Nef agrees.  “Children under 3 make progress at a more rapid rate than older children and can make gains that may decrease the amount and intensity of services they will need later in life.  Anyone who wonders if their child or a child they know may be delayed developmentally, is encouraged to give us a call. There’s help available and people don’t have to wait to see if their concern goes away.”

The Up to 3 Early Intervention program that Nef coordinates at the CPD has been serving infants and toddlers and their families since 1989.  They currently serve 310 children who have identified developmental delays or disabilities and their families.  The excellent staff includes service coordinators/family educators, speech/language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, a Spanish Liaison, a social worker, an autism specialist, and numerous class/preschool teachers.

With such highly qualified staff, this early intervention program makes a great impact on the lives of the children and families that they serve, giving them the boost that they need to move on and continue to progress.

“We’ve been waiting for the guidance of the regulations for a long time,” remarked Sue Olsen, Director of the Up to 3 program.  “Overall, there is very little change, but the new regulations do provide clarification and guidance.  The Utah Department of Health, Baby Watch Early Intervention (BWEI) will be addressing the regulations with State policies.  The BWEI will hold public hearings to take public comment related to the new policies.  We encourage parents and other agencies involved with early intervention to participate in the comment period.”

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