TAESE to provide high-tech coaching for state’s special ed teachers

May 29, 2014 by Sue Reeves

image of David Forbush

David Forbush

A coaching model for special education teachers based on the medical concept of doctors’ rounds is the highlight of a five-year, $11 million contract awarded to the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE) by the Utah State Office of Education.

According to David Forbush, associate director of TAESE and the project director for the Utah Professional Development and Technical Assistance (PD/TA) Network, special education teachers often don’t have a colleague to team up with, so the concept of “digital educational rounds” was created. The idea was based on “Instructional Rounds in Education” by Richard Elmore and “Focus on Teaching” by Jim Knight book.

Only about 5 percent of teachers will implement what they learn in professional development activities without coaching, Forbush said, so coaching will make up a large part of the service provided by TAESE.

Each of the state’s five regions will have a coach/implementation specialist who will provide professional development and coaching for the teachers. In addition, the coaches will coordinate teachers within a region into teams, so the teachers can self-coach and strengthen each other.

Devices such as iPhones and iPads will be used to capture video of a teacher presenting a lesson. The video is sent to a web site (www.goreact.com) where colleagues can offer feedback in three different ways: by typing a comment in the chat box, by recording an audio comment, or by recording a how-to video. All comments are time-stamped, so the person being observed can match them to the exact moment in time about which the observers are commenting.

Every local education agency (LEA) in the state will be assessed for the level of support it requires to meet the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), from universal support (less extensive) to intensive (more extensive, with specific interventions required).

All LEAs will get support, Forbush said, but what that support looks like will depend on what they need. The region that serves the Wasatch Front will focus mainly on charter schools, because most of the larger school districts already have coaches for their teachers.

Forbush said there are two main outcomes to be produced from the network: to reduce the level of support needed by the LEAs to meet IDEA requirements, and to produce better and measureable outcomes for students with disabilities.

Ten new professional staff members will be hired by TAESE for the project, including five coach/implementation specialists, two project specialists and an instructional designer who will produce live and recorded web-based trainings. The total amount of the contract is $11,151,178.

TAESE is a project of the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University.


CAC member Vickie Brenchley dies

May 28, 2014 by Sue Reeves

image of Vickie Brenchley

Vickie Brenchley

Ogden — Vickie Call Brenchley, 66, passed away May 25, 2014. She was born August 7, 1947 in Evanston, Wyoming to Norman C and Elaine Hoffman Call. She grew up in Randolph, Ut as a rancher’s daughter and rodeo queen. She graduated from Rich High School. She married her sweetheart, Joseph Dee Brenchley in the Logan LDS Temple May 19, 1967.

She was a member of the LDS church and served faithfully in all of her callings big or small. She served in the Boy Scouts of America program for years eventually earning a Silver Beaver and worked with her 3 sons to achieve their Eagle Scouts.

She was a champion for people with disabilities. Her son Brian was born with cerebral palsy. Through her experience fighting for him to be as independent as possible she began a legacy of independent living for those with disabilities throughout the state.

Joe and Vickie adopted four of their five children leading her to work closely with Children’s Aid and LDS Social Services. She was a foster mom to nearly one hundred babies needing a loving home before being placed with their new families.

She served diligently with Pennies by the Inch for years to support Primary Children’s Hospital.

She loved being outdoors camping, hunting, horseback riding, barrel racing, and snorkeling. She was an amazing homemaker who loved to cook, craft, sew, and take care of children.

Her life was selfless as she cared for others, especially those in need, making the world a better place for those who were blessed to know her. She always wanted to be surrounded by her children and grandchildren leaving a legacy of love that will transcend her death.

Vickie is survived by her children, Duane Joseph, Brian Norman, Kevin Dee (Lori Dee), Melissa (Christopher) Payne, Heather (Joaquin) Ferguson; six grandchildren Kade, Logan, Luke Brenchley, Brooklyn, Boston, and Blake Payne; one brother Gary Norman (Ranae) Call.

She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, and sister Sharla Call Brenchley.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 31, 2014 at the Lorin Farr Stake Center, 480 West 7th Street.

A viewing will be held on Friday, May 30th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Myers Ogden Mortuary, 845 Washington Blvd and Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the church.

Interment will be at the Ben Lomond Cemetery.

Campaign targets warning signs of communication disorders

May 27, 2014 by Sue Reeves

Image of young child.

Early identification of speech and language disorders shortens recovery time and reduces cost of treatment.

A public awareness campaign by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is aimed at educating the public about the warning signs of communication disorders. At the core of the ASHA campaign’s message is that speech, language, and hearing disorders are treatable and early detection is a major contributor to speedier recoveries, shortened treatment periods, and reduced costs for individuals and society alike.

“We know that early intervention, whether it’s for a child or for an adult who has acquired a communication disorder, is effective,” said Vicki Simonsmeier, a Faculty Fellow at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities and assistant clinical professor in USU’s Communication Disorders and Deaf Education department. “Early intervention in speech and language problems for children can mitigate not only further communication difficulties but ultimately can have an impact on early academic skills and later, literacy skills.”

Simonsmeier said research is clear that early intervention for children with swallowing disorders can decrease or eliminate the problem. When a child begins to stutter, early intervention and counseling of the family can have a huge impact on the outcome for the child. When an adult has had a stroke, the sooner the medical, communication and swallowing (dysphagia) interventions begin can have an impact on the individual’s outcomes.

“The research is becoming even more clear in autism, that if we can intervene early in the child’s life, that they have the potential for greater chance of ‘normalizing’ their interactions with peers in academic, home and community environments,” Simonsmeier said. “When hearing loss is identified early in children the early use of hearing aids or cochlear implants can have dramatic effect on the child’s ability to learn speech and language skills that are commensurate with their peers.”

ASSERT receives funding for expansion

May 22, 2014 by Sue Reeves

ASSERT student and teacher working in cubby.

A young ASSERT student and his teacher work together.

A preschool program at Utah State University for children on the autism spectrum has received an additional $75,000 in ongoing funding from the Utah Legislature.

According to Tom Higbee, director of the Autism Support Services: Education, Research and Training (ASSERT) program at the Center for Persons with Disabilities, the funds will be used to expand the program.

“It means more kids, more graduate students and more undergrads,” he said. “We’re excited to be able to expand. It lets us do more of what we already do: the training of students and serving families of children with autism.”

ASSERT will be opening an afternoon session starting in the fall, with room for at least two more families. Openings will be allocated to the morning or afternoon session based on what works best for the school district and the parents.

Sen. Lyle Hillyard was instrumental in securing the additional funding for the program, Higbee said.

“It’s very exciting,” he said. “We’ve never gotten increases (in funding), only decreases that were then restored. This is the first ever addition.

CAC Corner: Safety training for everyone

May 20, 2014 by Sue Reeves

By Marilyn Hammond, associate director of Interdisciplinary Training

Image of classroom training

Safety training has been presented to about 200 self-advocates in Utah.

Everyone has the right to be safe. While anyone may become a victim of crime, unfortunately people with developmental disabilities are at a higher risk. They may face barriers in protecting themselves, reporting abuse, and accessing services.

The Utah Developmental Disabilities (DD) Council, the Disability Law Center and the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University are collaborating on a project to educate self-advocates, care providers, parents, and first responders about how to prevent, recognize, and appropriately respond to financial, physical, verbal and sexual abuse.  Trainers include self-advocates, the Utah Domestic Violence Council, the Utah Coalition against Sexual Assault, and the Utah Disability Law Center.  The training for People First groups was developed by the Pennsylvania (PA) Coalition against Rape, the PA DD Council and Temple University.

So far, the training has been presented to about 200 self-advocates through People First Groups and Centers for Independent Living in Utah, with positive evaluations.  If you would like more information, or to schedule training for a People First Group, Center for Independent Living, or for agency staff serving people with developmental disabilities, please contact Marilyn Hammond at 435-797-3811 or Marilyn.Hammond@usu.edu.

Some helpful tips from the training are shown below.


•  Allow only people you trust to use your things or borrow money.

•  Don’t lend money or your things to someone who doesn’t pay or give it back.

•  Don’t trust anyone you only know through the internet.

•  Never give money or personal information (such as your social security number) to anyone who phones, knocks at your door, emails or texts.

•  Keep your money, credit cards, valuables and personal information close to you and hidden from plain sight.  Protect your social security number.

•  Say “No” if someone takes your money or things. Say “No” if someone asks to borrow your money or things and you don’t want them to.

•  Label your things with your name, phone number and address.

•  Keep a list of your things on a piece of paper or on your computer and share it with someone you trust.


•  If you don’t like what someone is doing, you have the right to say “No” and to leave.

•  If you are in a dangerous situation, yell, throw things, run, or fight; this is not a time to be nice.

•  If someone hurts you or takes your money or things, tell someone you trust, such a friend, teacher, parent, doctor, nurse, church leader or staff member.

•  You can also tell the police.

•  Talk to your bank, credit card companies or the Social Security Administration if there is a money problem.

•   Continue to tell people until someone helps you and you feel safe.

•   If you are being hurt, or have been hurt, please call or talk with your DSPD Support Coordinator, Adult Protective Services at 800-371-7897, Rape Crisis at 888-421-1100, or Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-897-5465.

•   The most important thing to remember is that it is not your fault if you are abused.  Abuse is always the abuser’s fault.