UCEDD Network benefits thousands of people with disabilities

February 29, 2012 by cpehrson

2012 marks the Center for Persons with Disabilities’ 40th year Anniversary.

We employ over 200 people who work on 79 projects that all focus on improving the lives of people with disabilities and their families through research, education, services and technical assistance. The CPD covers a 12-state area and has touched an entire generation of people with disabilities who have received services from our programs or have been affected by programs we actively support through training and technical assistance. An Annual Report outlines the accomplishments of the Center each year.

The CPD is also Utah’s University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD).

UCEDDs were created in 1963 to support people with intellectual disabilities. Currently authorized under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and coordinated by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), UCEDDs are a resource for Americans with a wide range of disabilities.

The AUCD has compiled their 2012 UCEDD  Brochure that outlines the functions and recent accomplishments and locations of the nation’s 67 UCEDDs.

The following are some of the accomplishments, on average, over the past five years, of the national
network of UCEDDs:

• Provided professional preparation for working in the disability field to over 2,000 students annually.

• Provided technical assistance and training each year to over one million health, education, mental health, and policy-making professionals, as well as people with disabilities and their families.

• Provided direct (clinical or other) services to more than 700,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and/or their families annually.

• Conducted nearly 3,000 research projects each year whose results may benefit people with disabilities.

• Developed and disseminated over 7,000 different publications annually to bring the most current information to professionals and the community.

The CPD is proud to be part of this valuable network.

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Community Investment Fund–Improving lives for people with disabilities

February 28, 2012 by cpehrson

The CPD’s Consumer Advisory Council is one of the primary advising and guiding bodies for the Center for Persons with Disabilities. Members of the CAC are individuals with disabilities, family members, or representatives of government entities and local agencies who work with people with disabilities.  They are all advocates for people with disabilities and support programs and activities that improve their lives.

This year, the CAC introduces the Community Investment Fund.  Through this Fund, one Utah non-profit organization will be awarded $2,000 to use to improve the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities. The chosen organization will have six months to complete the proposed activity.  Interested organizations will need to complete an application and turn it in before March 30, 2012 in order to be considered for this funding.

Applications are available online (click on the Community Investment Fund link on the right side of the page) or can be mailed out to organizations upon request.  For more information or to request an application contact Gordon Richins, CPD Consumer Liaison.

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CAC Corner: Arts for all abilities

February 27, 2012 by cpehrson

This CAC corner blog was written by Ben Ballam, a Vice-Chair of the CPD’s Consumer Advisory Council.  Ben is a student at USU. 

Young adult in a playing basketball in a wheelchair

Ben Ballam







Some new opportunities are opening up in the Arts, for people with disabilities. There is a movement to offer inclusive art and drama classes for people with disabilities.



The famous Paper Mill Playhouse, located in New Jersey, now offers its first ever program for children with disabilities. This new class will include theater improvisation, storytelling, music, movement, and visual art. The series will “creatively address and include diverse learning styles and modes of communication.” It is part of the Theater For Everyone Program. Their director of Education said, “We want arts education to not merely be the icing on the cake of a child’s education, but really the baking soda that helps all kids grow and explore ways of communicating.”

Right here in Logan, Utah, we have some perfect examples of inclusive Arts Ed through the Utah Festival Conservatory for the Performing Arts and the Opera by Children Program. Shortly after it was started, I was one of the first kids to be in the program and write my own original opera, along with some of my elementary school classmates. When it was time to cast the show, I wanted to play the baker, which was a pretty big part, but I was worried that I couldn’t do it because I was in a wheelchair.  When I came home , I talked to my dad about it, who just happened to be the General Director of the Utah Festival Opera Company and their arts programs (Michael Ballam).  I asked him if he thought that a kid in a wheelchair could be a baker.  His response was, “Ben, did you know that a President of the United States, President Franklin D.Roosevelt, was in a wheelchair?  You can be anything that you want to be!” I played the baker!

That is the philosophy of the education programs at the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre Company.  Everyone is included.   Differences are celebrated and young people of all abilities are encouraged to participate.  There are lots of amazing stories of miracles that have occurred with children taking part in these programs.  For more information, go to the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre web site.

It is encouraging to know that lots of people in the Arts across America are beginning to advocate for those of us, who in the past, might been left out.


You can learn more about Ben Ballam and his love of basketball in a past CPD blog post.

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Thanks for your web feedback–We’re listening

February 24, 2012 by cpehrson

CPD Home page banner 40 years: continuing a legacy of excellence, center for persons with disabilities





In the past few weeks, we have been asking for feedback on our web site; something we must have to make any changes or updates that we need to maintain our high quality web site.

We want to thank all those who responded.  Here are a few of the comments we received:

“Site looks awesome as usual.” 

“I especially like the blog posts.  They are a good look into what the CPD is doing.”

“I love the new layout (the blog has a new look)!  Everything that is needed is right there. Way to go.”

Along with these wonderful, positive comments, we also received some suggestions that we are addressing:

1)  Making it easier to find the CPD Staff List by replacing “BLOG/NEWS” with “MEET OUR STAFF” at the top of the CPD Home page.

2)  Adding a line on the CPD Intranet log-in page beneath the “Remember me”  explaining how that works. (This is for CPD staff only.)

We want to encourage our readers to give us your feedback if you haven’t already.  It is easy to find–at the bottom of our CPD Home page; just click on the “Feedback” button.  We would especially invite you to take the one-second survey on the right hand side.  And please leave any comments you have for us.

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2011 Utah advocates honored

February 24, 2012 by cpehrson

People with disabilities often face multiple barriers, including access to services and supports and discrimination in community, education and employment settings.  Hundreds of people have stepped up to support the rights and needs of these individuals.  They are called advocates and they have made a significant difference in many lives.

Once a year, the Utah Developmental Disability Council recognizes and honors advocates in Utah for their efforts and the difference they have made in improving the lives of others.  The 2011 Advocates of the Year include the following people:

James O’Neill: Self Advocate

Rep. Paul Ray: Legislator

Brendon Hansen: Child Sibling

Mark Koelbel: Media Representative

Rita Bouillon: Educator

Patrick Dial: Adult Sibling

James McFadden: Parent

You can read about the wonderful work that these individuals have done for people with disabilities on the Utah DDC web site.

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