Thank you to our “Bennies” and “Johnies”

March 31, 2016 by Kelly Smith

Spring Break Volunteers

Eleven students from St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict in central Minnesota spent  their spring break last week volunteering at the Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) and local  disability-related community organizations. The students, both graduate and undergraduate, are part of the Alternative Spring Break program, which pairs students according to their interests with a service spring break experience. Volunteers represented a wide range of disciplines and cited numerous reasons for their service.

“It’s a good experience to gain understanding of different people and sort of broaden your horizons,” stated one of the volunteers.

Students spent the week engaging in a wide variety  of service learning projects including a fun evening bowling with  the TOP Sports participants. Other projects included yard work at the Developmental Skills Laboratory (DSL), a day program for adults with developmental disabilities, and time spent with DSL participants in one-on-one and small group social activities. Other CPD and college projects that were the recipients of volunteer service included Project PEER: Postsecondary Education, Employment and Research, Aggies Elevated, and Up to 3 Early Intervention. Volunteers also helped community organizations, including Deseret Industries and Common Ground, including a day spent skiing and snowshoeing with youth and adults with disabilities.

Reflection time was also allotted each day for students to write their thoughts about their experiences. Local host families housed the volunteers.

More photos are available on our CPD Facebook page.

We’d like to extend a big thank you to the “Bennies” and “Johnies” !

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CPD employees honored for years of service

March 23, 2016 by Sue Reeves

CongratulationsThe USU Annual Employee Recognition Luncheon will be held at noon today in the Ballroom of the TSC. The luncheon recognizes employees who reached or will reach the 10-year or greater milestone year of service between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. In addition to the luncheon, employees will receive in the mail a milestone brochure to select a gift.

The following CPD employees are being recognized.

10 years

Jamie Bitner is a Clinician II with Up to 3 Early Intervention.

Christina McComber works on contract management with TAESE.

Nancy Milleson is a staff assistant at TAESE.

Marty Toohill is the Coordinator of Psychological Services for Clinical Services.

15 years

Curt Phillips is a physical therapist with Up to 3 Early Intervention.

George Wootton is a family/nurse practitioner with the Medical Clinic.

20 years

Dave Forbush is the director of the Utah Professional Development Network at TAESE.

25 years

Sue Olsen is the director of the Exemplary Services Division and of Clinical Services.

30 years

Shauna Crane is a program coordinator at TAESE.

Kelly Smith is the CPD’s Information Specialist.


Dr. Temple Grandin to speak at USU

March 18, 2016 by Kelly Smith

Dr. Temple Grandin petting a cow.

Dr. Temple Grandin will speak March 31 at 5:00 p.m. in the Taggart Student Center (TSC) Ballroom at Utah State University. The event is free to the public and will be followed by a book signing.

Grandin is a renowned American author, animal behavior expert and an advocate for people with autism. She is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and a world leader in designing humane facilities for livestock. In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. Curved chute and race systems she has designed for cattle are used worldwide and her writings on principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many people to reduce stress on their animals during handling.

Additionally, she is is widely celebrated as one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her personal experience, and has written numerous books on the autism. In 2010, HBO released an Emmy Award winning film on Grandin’s life.

Grandin will be discussing her recent book, “The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed.” The event is sponsored by the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services and the Center for Persons with Disabilities, and will be broadcast live to Utah State University Regional campuses.

TAESE coordinates Kansas conference

March 15, 2016 by Sue Reeves

A TAESE employee sits at the information table.

The information table at the Kansas Division for Early Childhood Conference in Wichita.

The 34th Annual Kansas Division for Early Childhood Conference (KDEC) was held February 25-26 in Wichita, Kansas. The theme of this year’s conference was Building Real Relationships with Professionals and Families Using Evidence Based Practice. Staff from the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE), the technical assistance division of Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilties, coordinated the conference. The conference had record attendance with 306 Kansas early childhood education professionals coming together for networking and professional development.

The conference included a day and a half of professional development opportunities, a pre and post conference, a poster session showcasing six students, and the opportunity to connect with 20 vendors. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak, former faculty member of Kent State University and past president of the Division of Early Childhood. The keynote address was titled How Can You Avoid Making These Three Common K-Readiness Mistakes? A total of 35 breakout sessions were available to participants.

Mark Innocenti, director of the CPD’s Research and Evaluation Division, presented a well-received half-day workshop on using the PICCOLO (Parenting Interactions with Children:  Check list of Observations Linked to Outcomes). The PICCOLO was developed by Mark and colleagues at USU. The PICCOLO is currently being used across the U.S. and many other countries in programs serving families with children from birth through age three.


CAC Corner: Spread the word

March 14, 2016 by Sue Reeves

This month’s CAC Corner was written by CAC member Kelly Holt.

STW-Un-Dated-DarkHello everyone, my name is Kelly Holt.

March is Disability Awareness Month and we need everyone to take the pledge not to use the wrong words. We need to  have some respect for everyone in this world that have disabilities or not. it is very inportment that everyone hears about our rights.

The second Tuesday of March has been designated as “Spread the Word to End the Word” day by Special Olympics. The campaign seeks to replace the word ‘retard,’ now considered a derogatory way to refer to someone with a disability, with ‘respect’ for everyone.