Autism research paper accepted for publication

November 30, 2012 by Sue Reeves

A research paper by Judith Holt and Keith Christensen entitled “Utahns’ understanding of autism spectrum disorder” has been accepted for publication by Disability and Health Journal.

The purpose of the study, which was conducted by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) between June and September 2010, was to determine the public’s understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and its prevalence, characteristics and treatment, as well as the source of that knowledge. It was funded by a federal grant associated with the Combating Autism Act Initiative of 2006.

According to Holt, the study was a collaboration between UDOH and Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities as part of Utah’s State Plan for Improving Outcomes for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities.

“We all had our opinions on what we thought people knew about autism,” Holt said, but it was mostly anecdotal and there was very little in the way of structured surveys.

The study, modeled on the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), surveyed a random sample of 1,001 Utah residents age 18 and older. The 32-question survey included questions like “What do you think causes autism?” and “Where have you gotten most of your information about autism?”

In part, the study found that the majority of Utahns do not feel knowledgeable about autism and that education efforts using printed materials are not very effective, suggesting the future use of TV or radio outlets. Education and outreach efforts also should be made available in Spanish.

Holt said the results of the study are being used by UDOH, the CPD and parent groups to move forward with public awareness activities. Based on the results of this study, another grant was received to do intensive promotion of the Centers for Disease Control’s “Learn the signs. Act early” campaign.

UATP offers free online webinar

November 28, 2012 by Sue Reeves

The Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP) will present a free online interactive training, Infant Head Shape Deformities and Correction Through Use of Cranial Remolding Orthoses, on Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 3 – 4:30 p.m.

This free training, presented by Dallin Chambers, certified orthotist at Northwest Orthotics and Prosthetics, will cover head reshaping through the use of a cranial remolding orthosis. The following aspects will be discussed:  head shape deformities, necessary measurements–how to obtain them and what they mean to you as the practitioner or parent—contraindications, scanning process, overall treatment from initial evaluation to final appointment, insurance companies that cover them and their requirements.

Chambers received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from the University of Utah in exercise and sports science.  He continued his education at Century College in White Bear Lake, Minn., where he completed two more years of specialized schooling in the field of orthotics.  He completed a one-year residency at Northwest Orthotics and Prosthetics in Provo where he continues to work as a certified orthotist.

To participate, you will need a computer with high-speed internet access. Interested persons should contact Storee Powell at 435-797-7412 or storee.powell@usu.edu by Monday, Dec. 3. Instructions will be emailed to participants.

Screen reader users, or those who need any other accommodations to participate, should contact Sachin Pavithran at 435-797-6572 or sachin.pavithran@usu.edu no later than Monday, Dec. 3 to make arrangements to participate via phone.

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Up to 3 partners with Somebody’s Attic in clothing drive

November 26, 2012 by Sue Reeves

Pile of donations for Somebody's Attic

A weeks’ worth of donations collected by the Up to 3 program for Somebody’s Attic.

The Up to 3 program invites CPD staff to participate in a clothing drive to benefit client families in need. Donations of gently used clothing and household goods can be dropped off at Somebody’s Attic in Logan and Smithfield. In return, Somebody’s Attic has provided six $50 gift certificates to the Up to 3 program to distribute to families who could use Christmas assistance.

Somebody’s Attic began in 1985 as a way to generate funds for local abuse-prevention programs, and from 1987 to 2011, raised more than one million dollars for the Child and Family Support Center of Cache County, Inc., Community Abuse Prevention Services Agency (CAPSA) and other community organizations. This is its first partnership with the Up to 3 program and the Center for Persons with Disabilities.

According to Sue Olsen, CPD director of exemplary services, the Up to 3 office staff wanted to involve participant families to help them understand the scope of the Up to 3 program.

Katalin Bankhead made sure each family received a grocery bag to fill with donations, along with a note explaining the effort. Families responded enthusiastically, delivering two carloads of donations by the end of the first collection week.

Loading donations for Somebody's Attic

CPD staff members (from left) Ginger Payant, Katalin Bankhead and Layne Koyle load donations for delivery to Somebody’s Attic.

“Somebody’s Attic would have given the gift certificates without the donations,” Olsen said, “but we wanted it to be giving on both sides.”

Donations can be dropped off at either Somebody’s Attic location, or at the Up to 3 program office in the CPD, until the end of November. The gift certificates will be distributed in early December so the recipients have time to do their holiday shopping.

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Logan High students help with Aggie Stampede

November 21, 2012 by Sue Reeves

Students paint bull sculptures

Logan High seniors (from left) Megan Gray, Nichole Sorensen and Judy Suh paint a bull sculpture, part of the Aggie Stampede.

Logan High School seniors Megan Gray, Nichole Sorensen and Judy Suh have spent countless hours since the beginning of the school year in a small alcove off the school’s ceramics studio, painting a bull sculpture that will soon find a home in front of The Logo Shop in downtown Logan. One of the brown bull’s hindquarters has been painted Aggie blue and sports a variety of USU logos. A second bull, wearing only its base coat of light blue paint with green hooves, will be covered in a collage of photographs depicting healthy lifestyles. Its home will be in front of the Ellen Eccles Theatre in downtown Logan. Two more in primer white wait silently for their turn.

The hollow, fiberglass sculptures are part of a planned art installation dubbed the Aggie Stampede, which brings together Utah State University, the City of Logan and local businesses to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Center for Persons with Disabilities.

The CPD’s bull has been dubbed Lil’ Marv in honor of Marvin Fifield, one of the center’s founders, and made his debut at the Cache County Fair in early August. Lil’ Marv is covered in Aggie Blue chalkboard paint and lives outside the CPD main office, where he is usually covered in sidewalk-chalk squiggles. Most recently, Lil’ Marv starred in the Up to 3 display at the North Logan Pumpkin Walk, playing tug of war with child-size stuffed figures using assistive technology devices.

According to Shane Johnson, CPD associate director of development, the Aggie Stampede was planned to include 20 bulls and be delivered in early March so they could be decorated and installed in time for Summerfest 2012. Complications arose, and the artist arrived from Nebraska with 10 bulls in early July. Rather than delay any longer, it was decided to run with the smaller herd.

Each of the bulls has been sponsored by a local business or organization and decorated by local artists, Johnson said. Sponsors made a monetary donation of $2,500 or donated a service, for example, the Logan Downtown Alliance helped to clear the project with the City of Logan, and found places to put the bulls, and LeGrand Johnson Construction provided the concrete foundations. Other sponsors include Square One Printing, USU Charter Credit Union, Cache Valley Electric, Herms Inn and the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

The bull displays are intended to raise awareness of disability issues, highlight the talents of local artists and promote tourism in the Cache Valley. The proceeds and awareness raised by this event will help the CPD continue to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

For more photos, visit our Facebook page.

November is Long-Term Care Awareness Month

November 19, 2012 by Sue Reeves

Elderly mom with son and daughter-in-law.When planning ahead in uncertain financial times, it’s important to think about long-term care for yourself and your loved ones. Long-term care (LTC) is a range of services and supports that may be needed to meet health or personal needs over a long period of time. These services might include emergency response systems, senior centers, assisted living, nursing homes, transportation services, and many more.

According to the federal Long Term Care website, most long-term care assists people with activities of daily living like dressing, bathing and using the bathroom. Other common long-term care services include helping with housework, cooking, shopping, or even managing money. Long-term care can be provided at home, in the community, in assisted living or in nursing homes. It’s not just for seniors—anyone with a significant health challenge may need long-term care at any age.

While there are a variety of ways to pay for long-term care, it is important to think ahead about how to fund needed care. Generally, Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care, but only for a medically necessary skilled nursing facility or home health care. Long-term care insurance may be an option to prepare ahead of time for the potential need for long-term care. There are a variety of plans available that vary in cost depending on desired services and the age coverage begins.

Be sure to take some time this month to consider options and plan ahead. If you’re a caregiver now for a family member with health challenges, find more resources and support from USA.gov.