Logan, Uintah Basin AT labs have both beefed up their demonstration libraries

July 17, 2017 by JoLynne Lyon

photo of Clay and devices

Clay Christensen displays a personal electronic assistant device and modular hose: examples of high- and low-tech AT.

People at the CPD’s AT Labs hear it all the time: disability can be expensive.

They want to help. The AT labs, which are part of the CPD’s Utah Assistive Technology Program, offer a demonstration library, stocked with items that people can try before they buy. This saves families the expense of buying item after item and discovering it doesn’t quite fit the need.

The demonstration libraries in Logan and the Uintah Basin now have some now, hot technology, including Liftware utensils for people with tremors or contractured hands; voice-activated, electronic personal assistants (Chrome and Alexa), iPads loaded with apps for all kinds of disabilities, and much more.

Here’s a more complete look at AT available for Utahns to try at both AT Labs:

Demonstration library inventory

Most items can be “checked out,” and all can be demonstrated at the AT Labs in Logan and Roosevelt. For more information contact Clay Christensen (Logan) or Cameron Cressall (Roosevelt).

 

High-tech

Augmentative and alternative communication software for both Apple and personal computers, including Boardmaker

iPads loaded with AT apps (Augmentative and alternative communication, reading and comprehension aids, specialized apps for people with vision, hearing or motor loss)

Liftware eating utensils

Mobility devices

Programs and assistive devices for people who have difficulties using a mouse or keyboard, including JAWS and  Dragon

Smart pens

Vehicle adaptions

Voice-activated electronic assistants (Alexa and Chrome)

Low-tech

Adapted eating utensils & a feeding kit; includes custom-made, adapted silverware

Daily living aids

Mobility devices

Modular hose (used for mounting devices, Logan lab only)

Custom-made AT (can also be made on request, usually for the cost of materials)

 

 

A day in the life of DSL

July 3, 2017 by JoLynne Lyon

Marla smiles

Marla.

Heidi used to give us monthly updates from the Developmental Skills Lab. Then she moved. We miss her, and we’re working on a replacement, but for the time being here’s a look at DSL life in the summer.

It involves a lot of fingernail polish. Marla was grinning while I admired her newly-done manicure. “Beautiful,” she said.

 

photo of Marla

Marla displays some glittery fingernails.

The DSL common room has  a wall filled with completed puzzles. These are mostly the work of Judy, who loves the art of puzzle assembly. And math. And puzzles. (The photo does not begin to show all the puzzle wall art she has done.)

Photo of Judy in front of puzzles.

Judy sits in front of her work.

 

Sara reads.

“I like it here,” Sara said. “I like reading. I like doing puzzles. Puzzles and coloring.” She also enjoys her computer time. “Sometimes I check my emails,” she said. When she’s not at DSL, she’s working at Malouf as a janitor. “I like making good friends.”

 

Reed with a book.

Reed loves Yahtzee. It’s his favorite game.

 

photo of Julie

Julie works out.

Julie likes art and working out.

photo of Lupita

Lupita at work.

Lupita enjoys working on Spanish. “I like to talk to friends,” she said. She also enjoys yoga, push-ups, and swimming.

Stay tuned for more updates from DSL!

Thanks for making Run, Walk & Roll a success!

June 29, 2017 by JoLynne Lyon

Photo of a boy in a Tumbleform with wheels

A young contestant at Run, Walk & Roll 2017

To everyone who turned out at this year’s Run, Walk and Roll event, thank you! We are so pleased this event is catching on–we enjoyed twice as many participants as last year, and twice the support for children with disabilities in the Up to 3 program.

Thanks also to this year’s sponsors, who donated about $1500 in prizes!

“The best part was the personal stories of superheros who came and those who are running their own personal races every day,” said Marla Nef, the Up to 3 program coordinator. “The bounce houses, cotton candy, snow cones, balloons, and everyone cheering as names were drawn for raffle prizes were great parts of this fun family day.”

For a closer look at the event, check out the photo album on Up to 3’s Facebook page.

Photo of sponsor logos

Thanks again to our sponsors!

New CPD employee talks about Aggies Elevated, getting that first job

June 15, 2017 by JoLynne Lyon

photo of Brenna

Brenna Mantz

Brenna Mantz, a graduate of the Aggies Elevated program at Utah State University, is a new employee at the Center for Persons with Disabilities. In this interview she talks about her AE experience, how she prepared for her first job, and what it’s like working at the CPD. She also gives some advice to other young adults with disabilities who are seeking their own employment.

Q: Tell me about your education with Aggies Elevated. How did it prepare you for your first job?

I was taught to be on my own. I also learned skills that helped me in the work field and other areas. I learned how time management works and how improve my social skills. I also took some classes that would help me in the career I am going into. How Aggies Elevated prepared me for my job is by showing me how to become successful in it. Also it showed what I can do to continue being successful in my job.

Q: Tell me about the internship experience you had before coming to the CPD. Where did you work? What did you learn there?

I did my internship at Terrace Grove Assisted Living. I learned how to build up my office skills and I also learned how interact with other people by building up my social skills. I also learned how the company worked. I learned how to get out of my comfort zone and learn new things. I would help coordinate activities for the residents. I also grew to love the people who worked there and also the residents who live there. They were super kind to me.

Q: What made you want to work at the CPD?

I heard a lot of good things about it. I heard that the people who worked there were down to earth and really nice. They also had a job opening that I was interested in, to work as an office worker. I thought to myself, this could be my dream job, working for Utah State. I got excited when I heard about this job and I felt like this could be a good fit for me.

Q: How do you feel about working there?

 I really enjoy working for the CPD. I’m impressed how people who work at the CPD care about others. I feel like this is a positive atmosphere to work in. I feel like learning new things at the CPD is a great experience for me. I also use my time to get all tasks completed that I have been assigned. I enjoy coming to work every day and seeing my coworkers have a positive attitude. I also enjoy doing office work, like organizing things.

 

What advice would you give other young adults with disabilities who are seeking their own first jobs?

Looking for a first job is hard. So I say continue looking for work and do not give up. Also, when they have a job, it takes a lot of time and effort to become successful in that job. It is super important to stay focused and get a lot of things done. I would also say that people with disabilities who are looking for work should know certain ways how to impress the employer. They also want to build important skills on how to become successful in their first job.

Welcome, Brenna!

Run, Walk and Roll helps children learn and play

June 2, 2017 by JoLynne Lyon

photo of Chase playing with a toy.

Chase activates a toy from his new, specialized chair.

Most people don’t remember when they started to understand cause and effect. They flip a switch, the lights turn on—they take it for granted. However, for some children, it’s harder to make that connection (no pun intended).

This month, be assured that your actions supporting the Run, Walk and Roll on June 24 can have definite, happy effects on the families of youngsters with disabilities. You can learn more about that below–but first, meet Chase Reed.

He is two and a half years old, has limited vision, and uses cochlear implants. His dexterity is limited, and until recently he spent a lot of time on his back on the floor. For him it was literally hard to see what toys were for, let alone work them and find out what they do.

The Run, Walk and Roll event is for children like Chase. Last year’s proceeds went toward equipment like the specialized Tumble Form chair that helps Chase sit up and interact with his family. It paid for adapted switch toys that Chase and other children can operate. These devices make a difference for the Reed family and other families in Northern Utah.

This year, the Center for Persons with Disabilities’ Up to 3 program is hosting a repeat of the event to provide more devices to more families. (Its theme: Everybody is a superhero!) Technology, both high- and low-tech, can make a real difference for youngsters with disabilities, but it’s often expensive. Tumble Forms can cost hundreds of dollars, but they provide much better support than a car seat, the sitting angle can be adjusted, and in one, children who have trouble sitting on their own are in a much better position to use their hands. Those benefits add up to a big boost in development.

“Chase has no trunk support,” said Chase’s mother, Maria. “He loves being in the chair. He likes to sit up.”

Up to 3’s Amy Henningsen added a custom-made tray so he could play with toys, and that’s where Chase’s younger brother, Jordan, brings things to show him. Before, Maria said, if she wanted to introduce a book or toy to Chase, she needed to hold him in one hand and the toy in the other. The Tumble Form makes that interaction easier, and it’s getting results. Chase used to ignore toys, but he’s paying more attention to them now, and learning that when he presses a button, the dog barks.

Understanding cause and effect lays the groundwork for more development. It helps children learn that their actions can make things happen; push a switch and a toy dog barks; ask for a drink of water and Mom brings one over.

“You can see how something like that plays a part in communication,” said Marla Nef, the Up to 3 coordinator. In working with children, she has seen the moment when children realize that when they do something, they get something back. “You can see when that light turns on. It’s a powerful concept.”

This year’s Run, Walk and Roll is on Saturday, June 24 at Elk Ridge Park, and it features a 10K, 5K and one-mile walk, plus fun family activities. To find out more, visit the Up to 3 website and Facebook event page. Come dressed as your favorite superhero or rock star!