Heidi’s Happenings: Spring is here!

May 15, 2012 by cpehrson

photo of egg huntIn April, Heidi and her buds here at the DSL worksite did a lot of fun things!

We went to the movie theater and saw this neat movie about African chimps.  The movie was about a chimp who lost his mother and a male chimp adopted him and took care of him.  We chomped on yummy popcorn with yummy butter on it.  We had a great time!

When the weather got a bit warmer, we all went outside and made bird feeders. This was a really fun and messy activity. We took gooey peanut butter and spread it on selected pine cones and put bird seed on it. We can see some of the birds come and eat the seeds every now and then.

A woman hunts for eggsWe also had volunteers come from the state of Michigan.  They were really nice gals and they helped us dye Easter eggs.  We munched rice crispie treats with them.

We also had a yummy lunch for Easter and had spaghetti, salad, and delicious garlic bread!  After we were all full, we had a great Easter egg hunt!

That just about sums up April here at the DSL worksite!


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Big Blue’s Barn adds storage with a flair

May 15, 2012 by JoLynne Lyon

Thanks to the work of some Technology and Engineering Education students, when you visit our Developmental Playground you can now enjoy a view of this cute barn…

photo of the Big Blue's Barn shed

…from the comfort of this wooden bench.

photo of a wooden bench

The new storage shed and benches were real-world work experience for a group of students who took on the challenge of adding Aggie-themed storage to our new play area. They built the seating, too, and finished it all on time and under budget.

Thanks, students, for creating a structure that’s almost too cute to be called a storage shed.

For more on the students’ project, visit the College of Agriculture’s Main Banner blog.



The CPD salutes its 2012 graduates

May 9, 2012 by JoLynne Lyon

Congratulations to the CPD staff people, trainees and interns who graduated this year.

Congratulations also the the EEJ College of Education and Human Services, home to the CPD. Six of Utah State University’s top ten most popular degrees came from the college: Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education; Interdisciplinary Studies; Family, Consumer and Human Development; Human Movement Science; Psychology; Elementary Education Science.

Here’s a list of our graduates:

Graduate degrees:

Rafael Guttierez, Master of Science in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences. He is the Hispanic Liaison for families receiving services in the Up To 3 program.

Melanie Peckham, Master of Social Work. She is a graduate assistant with the Up to 3 program.

Bachelor’s Degrees:

Jennifer Carman, Bachelor of Science in Social Work. She works as a bachelor practicum student in Up to 3.

Tressa Johnston, Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. She works as a physical therapy assistant with the Up to 3 program.

Reyna Perry, Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She works with the National Children’s Study.

Lauren Whatcott, Bachelor of Science in Social Work. She’s a bachelor practicum student in Up to 3.


CPD Legacy Story: Karen Borg

May 9, 2012 by cpehrson

This CPD Legacy Story was written by Karen Borg, a trainee in the Multi-University Consortium for Teacher Training in Sensory Impairments (VISEP).  This project is a cooperative effort between the Special Education Departments of the University of Utah and Utah State University that provides vision-impairment certification training  .

Head shot of Karen Borg

 As special educators we encourage parents not to be too rigid in their expectations.  We worry that they might underestimate the potential of their children.  “It’s way too soon,” we say, “to try to predict your child’s future abilities today.  Let’s work hard, keep talking to each other and not pigeon-hole him just yet.”  This is surely a message of hope, but it is a realistic one. 

 Those of us that work with young children, particularly, can attest to the sudden and remarkable progress which can occur when we find the right gateways to access children’s potential. I wonder if sometimes we underestimate our own potential,too.

Fifteen years ago I was working as a signing aide in a preschool classroom for the hearing impaired in Logan, Utah. Steve Noyce, now the superintendent of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, came into the class and, for some reason known only to him, saw the potential for more in me. He encouraged me to contact the Multi-University Consortium Sensory Impairment Education Program (VISEP) at the Center for Persons with Disabilities. 

 Because of Mr. Noyce’s willingness to encourage a stranger and his commitment to the development of potential at every level, I made that phone call and was introduced to many, many people who were equally committed to the development of potential: Cyndi Rowland, then head of CECSEP (currently the Early Childhood Alternative Teacher Preparation Program, EC-ATP),  Marlene Deer, currently the head of EC-ATP, Jan Wiggins and Marilyn Madsen, Sensory Impairment faculty at the University of Utah.  These remarkable people’s vision for children included finding and “growing” the best educators they could.

VISEP’s flexibility in working with adult learners’ needs and responsibilities facilitated not only my being the first person in my family to go to college, but also the first to graduate. The compassion and tractability of the teaching staff at USU and the cyclical structure of the course offerings at both the U and USU allowed me to succeed at both the undergraduate and graduate levels despite my daughter’s multiple, serious surgeries and caring for ailing and elderly relatives. 

Dr. Judith Holt, Director of VISEP, and her “eye on the target” mentality helped to keep me focused on my goals and pushing forward to complete, not only my Bachelor’s, but a Master’s degree, also!!  This was almost unthinkable when I began!

Words can’t properly express the impact that the CPD programs have had on my life. Nor can they express appropriately my appreciation for all that I have learned, and the opportunity it has given me to share with others and nurture their potential for growth and progress.  I am profoundly grateful.


Karen Borg, Director

Parent Infant Program for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

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Brown Bag Discussion: Web Accessibility–not rocket science!

May 8, 2012 by cpehrson

Did you know that 8.5 % of the population has a disability that affects their ability to use a computer?

According to WebAIM’s presenters at the last CPD Brown Bag Discussion (Jared Smith, Jon Whiting, Tom Galloway, & Dio Hernandez) , when we talk about web accessibility, we’re not talking about rocket science.  There are “information systems flexible enough to meet the needs of the broadest range of users…regardless of age or disability.”

Whether we are talking about vision/hearing impairments, motor, or cognitive impairments, there is an application or accommodation that will expand the user’s ability to operate a computer.  And WebAIM knows them all!

One of the great things that has come out of WebAIM is its web accessibility evaluation tool called WAVE.  Anyone can test how accessible their web page or entire web site is, simply by inputting an URL address and reading the results.  Not only does WAVE let you know what is inaccessible, it can help tell you how to fix it.  It couldn’t be easier.

You should check out the WebAIM web site and try out the WAVE tool. You will also find articles and resources, training and technical assistance, newsletters, blogs, checklists and guides for accessibility.

WebAIM is a great resource and provides a valuable service in this computer age.




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