Moving out

October 29, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of calendar.

The current plans for the relocation are on a white board in the main office.

The most current plans for the relocation of CPD personnel were announced yesterday in a late afternoon meeting conducted by Judith Holt and Sue Olsen. The current plans and any future updates are posted on a white board in the main office.

The meeting began with a discussion of what the CPD is, and is not. The CPD is a mission, said Holt, a collection of programs that contribute to the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families across the lifespan.

Olsen then explained the current timeline for the relocation.

The move begins next week as StartSmart moves from the third floor to the second floor of the Human Services Research Center (HSRC) so the third floor can be renovated. CPD Admin and IDT personnel will begin moving to the HSRC during the first week in December. ASSERT will move to the Early Childhood building, Aggies Elevated will move to the AT lab, and Project PEER will move to DSL before the semester break as renovations continue in the HSRC.

Over the semester break, Research and Evaluation will move from the second to the first floor of the HSRC, and during January, ECATP and WebAIM will move to the second floor of the HSRC, and business office personnel will move to the third floor.

Clinical Services and the Medical Clinics will move to HSRC during February, and Up to 3, Lil’ Aggies and the ABC preschool will move during March. At that point, asbestos abatement and lead removal will begin in preparation for demolition of the building.

Olsen and Holt credited Charlee Nealy for her work as liaison with facilities to ensure a smooth transition.

Construction of the new Clinical Services Building will begin in spring, with an expected completion date of Fall 2017.

My disability doesn’t control me

October 27, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of student watching a video.

A student stops by for a preview of the Drew Lynch show that highlighted Disability Rights Week.

By Riley Cochran, Aggies Elevated student

I went to a comedian show at the TSC in the International Lounge. The show was for the ADA week. ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act. The two comedians both had disabilities, one of them had a stutter and the other had Tourette’s. They were really funny!

I learned that comedians can have disabilities just like anyone else. It made it an interesting night for everybody. I learned that disabilities can come from an accident, like the comedian with a stutter, or you can be born with a disability.

This event was important to me because I have a disability that makes it hard for me to read and it can be really hard for me sometimes. This event was cool for me to go to and see that people can further their dreams, even if they have a disability. Disabilities come in all different forms and are unique to each person and are what makes them who they are as an individual. The sooner someone figures out their disability doesn’t control them, they control their disability, then the sooner they can adapt to and work around their disability. I plan on furthering my dreams to become a photographer, no matter what it takes, even with a disability.

I feel that this helps us to be more culturally aware by knowing about the ADA and what it can do to help people with disabilities. People with disabilities have the same rights as any other person and sometimes they don’t always get treated the same way. That is what the ADA is for, to help people understand and protect people with disabilities.

Legal services to be topic of focus groups

October 22, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Focus Group Flyer(1)Non-profit legal services Utah Legal Services and the Disability Law Center will be conducting two focus groups in Cache County to better understand how to serve this area. One focus group will target professionals who work with vulnerable populations, and the other focus group will be open to the public.

Utah Legal Services provides free legal services to people with limited incomes. They can help with divorce and custody, especially when domestic violence is involved. They help people get certain types of public benefits, assist with wills and estates and provide a host of other services for people who can’t afford legal help.

The Disability Law Center assists individuals with disabilities with legal issues related to their disability.

On Oct. 29, professionals who serve vulnerable populations (e.g. those with limited incomes, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities) are invited to a focus group at Herms Inn. Lunch will be provided beginning at 11:45 a.m. The discussion will begin promptly at noon and will end at 1 p.m.

Also on Oct. 29, at 5:30 p.m., the public is invited to participate in a focus group at Options for Independence. Refreshments will be provided. All participants in that focus group will receive a $20 Walmart Gift Card.

To register for either focus group, contact Sheri Newton by phone at (435) 232-4269 or by e-mail at snewton@disabilitylawcenter.org.

If you are not able to attend either group, but would still like to participate, you may complete an online survey for a chance to win a $50 VISA gift card. Click here to complete the survey.

 

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Crane celebrates 30 years with TAESE

October 20, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of shauna crane

Shauna Crane

Shauna Crane started her career at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities in September 1985, and recently celebrated 30 years of service. She was a staff member at the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center (MPRRC), an Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education project that provided technical assistance in special education to 11 State Education Agencies in that region. During that time, she served in library services, information services, program coordination, and technical assistance.

Crane then became the program coordinator for the entire Regional Resource Center Program and now serves as a staff member at TAESE (the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education) as a program coordinator for two OSEP Centers, the Center for IDEA Fiscal Reporting (CIFR) and the Center for the Integration of IDEA Data (CIID). She also provides other technical assistance for a variety of TAESE projects.

“Shauna has been extremely efficient and effective in all her assignments and is greatly respected across the country,” said John Copenhaver, director of TAESE.

“I don’t feel old enough to have worked in one place for 30 years!” Crane said.

“I have really appreciated the flexibility,” she said, explaining how her work schedule has ranged from part-time to full-time over the years. “The flexibility and the way they worked with my situation made it so I could do it. This wasn’t in my field or even in my interest area, but it’s been a really nice place to work. I’m not sure how you could do it better.”

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Parents: Teach your kiddos about differences

October 12, 2015 by Sue Reeves

By Tristan West

Image of mom and son.

Mom Tristan West and her little hero, Jayson.

Can I ask a favor of you? Something you can do to make things better for my little hero and his friends like him all over the world? Will you please teach your kids about difference? Will you teach them to celebrate, embrace and love different? Will you please break through the awkward silence when they see someone who is different from them at the store and instead of ignoring the situation or telling them not to stare, would you please approach the different person and help your children have a conversation with him/her?

Will you please go out of your way to find books and stories to read to your kids that have characters and illustrations of people who use wheelchairs, walkers, wear hearing aids, and wear glasses? If finding those books is difficult, will you please print your own pictures to add to some of your favorite books? When you are at the store, museum, mall or holiday event, will you please keep your eyes open for a child who is different and look for an opportunity to introduce your children to this child and instigate a conversation with that child and family?

Will you search for movies or tv episodes that have characters with disabilities and use these to have conversations about friends at their school who have unique challenges? Will you use play to model for your children how to interact with those who are different? Will you use their dolls to include a doll who is alone and cannot talk? And use their legos to build their action figure a wheelchair, and talk about how chairs are a necessary tool in order for some children to be mobile? Will you please send your children out the door with a hug and a kiss and a message to say hi to someone new today, maybe someone who is alone, different and doesn’t have friends? And when they return home from school, will you please ask them about their new friend they said hello to? Will you please invite that new friend over for a play date or a birthday party? Invite the parent too, and ask him/her what things to do, say and how to build that relationship. Will you please have family lessons at home about what it feels like to be different, without friends, and the challenging struggles some people face?

Teach your children that the best thing they can be in this entire world is a good friend. Will you please teach them they can lift another’s burden by simply saying, “Hello! Can I sit with you?” Will you please talk with them about the power of their influence? Will you let them know that if they are nice and friendly to someone who is different, all of their friends will follow their example? Will you please instill in them the desire to make a difference in this world by being kind?

And if you do, your children truly will change the world and make it a better place for so many who struggle to feel a part of it. And through their kindness and new friendships, I guarantee that kids like mine will also change their world. Lessons about love, God, charity, faith, and goodness are sometimes taught best by those who cannot speak. The path to heaven is sometimes best led by those who cannot walk. And an understanding of what is most important in this life is sometimes taught best by those who do not appear to understand.

Your children will gain a lot from those who are not like them, and my child learns so much from his peers. I dream of a world where my child is picked first instead of last, who always has a friend to sit by instead of an empty chair. Please help your child be that friend. Help your child be the answer to another child’s prayers. Children are good by nature, but they need their parents’ help to break the barrier of discomfort, confusion, and awkwardness and know it’s okay to love different! They need you to teach them.

This may require you to also feel uncomfortable and to do things you’ve never done. Find the courage to talk to the stranger in the store, help those who need accommodations, and say hello to someone not like you. Your children are watching, and your actions speak louder than words. Your courage and example matter. Your children’s kindness matters. Because of your actions and efforts, my son and his friends will feel like they matter. Thank you.

Sincerely,
A mom of a very special boy

Author’s note: Thank you for reading, and feel free to share this post. Also, feel free to ask questions about ideas or share things you are doing with your children to teach them. Or commit here to do something new, possibly uncomfortable, this week. We all have a lot to learn from each other, and we all have room to grow.