International visitors at CPD

April 30, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of people in AT lab

Clay Christensen (right) explains the function of the AT Lab to visitors from the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.

Six visitors from the United Arab Emirates toured the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University on Tuesday, learning about the Utah Professional Development Network, the Assistive Technology Lab, ASSERT, WebAIM and SKI-HI.

The topics for their meetings included research and education initiatives undertaken by CPD on behalf of people with disabilities; awareness and services in rural areas due to the fact Utah is a largely rural state; and specialized programs for hearing and vision impaired and deaf/blindness.

The visitors arrived in Salt Lake City on Saturday and departed today. During their stay, they also met with representatives from the Disability Law Center, the Utah Center for Assistive Technology, the Utah Parent Center, the Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities, and the Kostopulos Dream Foundation. The visit began at Westminster College with a welcome from the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy. The UAE visitors were participants in the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Congratulations, graduates!

April 28, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Student With Diploma Shows GraduationGraduation is this Saturday—congratulations to these CPD graduates!

Rachel Anderson is from Mendon, Utah and works with StartSmart. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science and plans to attend Idaho State University’s physician assistant school in the fall.

McKadee Douglass is from Smithfield, Utah, and works with ASSERT as a teacher. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Family, Consumer and Human Development, and will move to Florida following graduation to work at Walt Disney World, running children’s activities.

Heather Harris is from Brigham City, Utah, and works at ASSERT as a lead instructor. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Family, Consumer and Human Development with an emphasis in Human Development Lifespan. She will work at Logan River Academy as a mentor.

Lindsey Lombard is from Chicago, Ill., and is a mentor with Aggies Elevated. She graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. In addition to working with Aggies Elevated, she works at Old Navy in Logan.

Dorothy Peacock is from Cedar City, Utah, and works with StartSmart. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and plans to move to Wyoming to start her career.

Shaylee Skillicorn is from Bountiful, Utah, and works with StartSmart. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is looking for a position as a human resource professional or in management.

Savannah Thompson is from Blackfoot, Idaho, and works with ASSERT. She will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in German and Psychology. She plans to continue her education with a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and a doctorate in Clinical Counseling Psychology.

Christa Vance is from Bountiful, Utah, and works with StartSmart. She graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in Family, Consumer, Human Development with an emphasis in Family Finance. She plans to continue her education and work in the field of family finance.

Tags: ,

First Caroline’s Cart in Utah appears in Lee’s

April 24, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Chrissy Masco and her son, Eli, pose with the first Caroline's Cart in Utah, at the North Logan Lee's Marketplace. The Smithfield and Ogden locations will also be getting one of the specialized shopping carts.

Chrissy Masco and her son, Eli, pose with the first Caroline’s Cart in Utah, at the  Logan Lee’s Marketplace. The Smithfield and Ogden locations will each be getting one of the specialized shopping carts as well.

“I have a child with special needs who cannot hold himself upright while sitting in a shopping cart,” the letter begins. It explains how difficult it is to shop for groceries while simultaneously pushing the wheelchair or stroller of a child with disabilities and pulling the shopping cart.

Chrissy Masco of Logan wrote the letter on March 21 and began sharing it with local grocery store managers, urging them to purchase a Caroline’s Cart for their stores. Caroline’s Cart is designed for children who have mobility issues and can make grocery shopping a less stressful experience for families of children with disabilities.

One month later, on April 21, the first Caroline’s Cart in Utah was delivered to the Lee’s Marketplace store in Logan. Jarad McDonald, Lee’s vice president for operations, said on April 22 that the response to the cart has been so positive, he has ordered Caroline’s Carts for the Smithfield and Ogden stores as well, at a cost of about $900 per cart.

“I heard Chrissy’s story and what they were going through,” McDonald said. “Her story aligned with our core values so it was an easy decision. It was the right thing to do.”

Masco’s two-year-old son, Eli, has hypertonia (tight muscle tone) in his arms and legs, and hypotonia (low muscle tone) in his core, which makes it harder to crawl, sit up or walk—anything you’d use your core muscles for.

The Masco family became involved with Up to 3 Early Intervention at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities when Eli was around nine months old, after he spent 2 1/2 weeks at Primary Children’s Hospital because he was losing weight. The family also includes Eli’s dad, Bowen, and sister, LynnDee, age 4.

Masco saw a story about Caroline’s Cart on Facebook and thought, if something like this is available, then why not try to get one?

“It wasn’t if I was going to do this, it was, I am going to do this,” she said.

Sara Hendricks is a student in SPED 5810, a seminar class, and was assigned to work with the Masco family as part of her classwork. She has done home visits and other activities, and worked on the letter with Chrissy.

The letter concludes, “The cart … would also enable children with special needs to participate in mainstream society by being able to join their families in a shopping excursion. Please consider purchasing Caroline’s Cart for your store; it would fill a need and be greatly appreciated.”

“We are a community store,” McDonald said. “This just made an emotional connection.”

Tags: ,

The ADA’s influence on the field of telecommunications

April 23, 2015 by Sue Reeves

By Anna Tuckett, UATP social media intern

disability rightsOne of the things the Americans with Disabilities Act has done, is to allow for improvements to technologies that better the lives of people with hearing and
other communication disabilities by making them more accessible.

Since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, it has brought to the surface the changes necessary to make technology more accessible to people who have impaired speech or hearing.

Mitch Moyers, Outreach Specialist for the Utah Sanderson Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, has years of experience helping people with hearing disabilities find resources.

“The ADA has helped people receive support when they otherwise wouldn’t,” Moyers said. “It has also brought the needs of people with impaired hearing to the public eye more and more.”

To further promote the recognition of people with hearing loss, the Utah Sanderson Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing helps people with impaired hearing to receive the assistive technology they need. From apps to hearing aids, they provide the resources necessary to give people opportunities for better technology.

“We are an open resource.” Moyers said. “We provide lists of agencies to help people find what they need, as well as training on how to use their assistive technology properly.”

Recently, technology has improved in many ways that have benefited people with disabilities, especially with smartphones, internet, etc.

“In the last 10-15 years, smartphones have made information much more accessible for people with hearing loss.” Moyer said. “With this has come even more of an incentive to help improve current software and technology.”

There are many hearing applications and technologies that have come from the expanding field of assistive technology development. The Americans with Disabilities Act has influenced the expansion of accommodations for people with communication disabilities by bringing recognition to the necessary improvements needed to make technology more accessible.

Tags:

ADA celebrates 25 years

April 21, 2015 by Sue Reeves

By Anna Tuckett, UATP social media intern 

ada25After many years of providing people with disabilities with equal rights, this year the Americans with Disabilities Act is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The ADA became a law in 1990 and was the first law to establish a clear ban on discrimination on the basis of disability.

Sachin Pavithran, director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program, has worked to improve the rights for people with disabilities for many years with the help of
the ADA.

“The law ensures equal access,” Pavithran said. “It allows people with disabilities to have equal employment opportunities, as well as equal access to public areas and information.”

Allowing for equal employment opportunities among all job candidates has been an important contribution to the fight for equal rights for people with disabilities.

“Unless the person is unable to do the functions necessary for the job, under the ADA, the employer cannot deny employment based on disability alone.” Pavithran said.

In addition to preventing discrimination in the workplace, Title One of the act ensures persons with disabilities the necessary assistive technology needed to do their job.

“In Title One, it talks about the reasonable accommodations,” Pavithran said. “If accomodations can be provided, they should be.”

Although the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act is helping to improve the rights of people with disabilities, there are still plenty of problems to be solved and further legislation that can be passed to lessen discrimination.

“The ADA has been around for 25 years but is still not perfect,” Pavithran said. “More legislation can be passed to help persons with disabilities, we still have a long way to go.”

 

Tags: