The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University

Heidi’s Happenings: SpongeBob & Science Day

March 13, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Jericka with an egg in a jar of vinegar.

Jericka shows off her egg-turned-bouncie-ball.

Heidi Hill is a guest blogger for the CPD’s Developmental Skills Laboratory (DSL), a day program for adults with disabilities. Heidi loves to type and each month she’ll be sharing the fun activities that she and her “buds” are doing at DSL.

In the month of February and March we were busy at the DSL Worksite.  In February, we celebrated Valentine’s Day by giving each other cards and candy! We also made Valentines for our CPD friends, and that was lots of fun! We also had a big breakfast for Valentine’s Day.

We went on a fun field trip to Great Harvest Bread Company and learned about how bread was made.  We then got to sample some yummy cinnamon burst bread.

We went to see one under-the-sea bud named SpongeBob at the movie theatre. It was fun to watch SpongeBob and his buds from Krabbie Cakes go on the beach and have some fun in the sun.

In March, we had Science day! We did many experiments: We did exploding Jello, made a volcano, put an egg in vinegar and now it has turned into a bouncie ball!  We are planning to go kite flying in March and going to see “Cinderella,” too!

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Pavithran elected chair of U.S. Access Board

March 11, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of Sachin Pavithran

Sachin Pavithran

The U.S. Access Board unanimously elected Sachin Dev Pavithran as its new Chair on March 11. Pavithran of Logan, Utah is Program Director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. He was named to the Access Board by President Barack Obama in 2012.

“It is an honor to chair an agency that has done so much over the years to make equal access for people with disabilities a reality,” Pavithran stated. “Our buildings, transit systems, and information and communication technologies are more accessible and inclusive because of the work of the Board and the guidelines and standards it has established.”

In addition to his membership on the Access Board, Pavithran serves on the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs National Board, Senator Orrin Hatch’s (President Pro Tempore) Disability Advisory Committee, the Research and Development Committee of the National Federation of the Blind, and the National Multicultural Council of the Association of University Centers for Disabilities.

The Board also elected as Vice Chair Sue Swenson who serves as Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education. Board officers serve for a term of one year.

The Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. Half of its members are representatives from most of the Federal departments. The other half is comprised of members of the public appointed by the President.

Copenhaver honored with Strong Award

March 9, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of John Copenhaver

John Copenhaver

John Copenhaver, director of the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE) at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, has been named the recipient of the 2015 Strong Human Services Award by the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. He will received the award on April 14 at the college’s annual award ceremony.

The Strong Human Services Award honors a CEHS faculty member for significant and sustained leadership in human services, applying research to improve the lives of children or adults. The Award also recognizes cross-college and interdisciplinary efforts in human services, with leadership coming from a CEHS faculty member. The $1,000 cash award is funded by an endowment.

Of the award, Copenhaver said, “It kind of came out of the blue. I have such respect for Carol Strong, who was the dean before Beth Foley. She’s just a great person, a great leader. To have your name associated with her name is just a humbling experience.”

In addition to serving as the director of TAESE, Copenhaver was the principal investigator for the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center (MPRRC) before that project ended last year. Copenhaver has experience in special education at the school district, state, regional, and national levels. Before joining the TAESE/MPRRC staff in 1989, Copenhaver served as a special education resource teacher, school psychologist, and special education director.

His work at TAESE and the MPRRC has involved providing technical assistance at the school, state, regional, and national levels. Copenhaver has extensive experience in Indian education. He provides technical assistance to states regarding their State Performance Plan, Annual Performance Report, and Levels of Determination.

Copenhaver has produced numerous training materials; been called upon to assist states and school districts in most areas of special education; made numerous conference presentations; published articles on special education issues; and provided technical assistance in the areas of legal issues, special populations, developing effective Individualized Education Programs, due process/mediation, Section 504, procedural safeguards, systems change, strategic planning, CSPD, State Advisory Panels, assistive technology, extended school year, and numerous other topics.

Copenhaver holds degrees from the University of Montana and University of Utah in Philosophy, Psychology, and Special Education Administration-School Psychology. He has been presented with four major national awards, the Martha J. Fields Excellence Award (NASDSE), the Joleta Reynolds Award (LRP Publications), National Award of Excellence (Bureau of Indian Affairs), and a National Award of Excellence in Special Education (NASDSE).


They’re here!

March 2, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of students getting off a bus.

The spring break students from Minnesota are here!

Students from the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in Minnesota have arrived, and you can welcome them today at the annual CPD Nacho Party! The festivities begin at noon in room 170.

These students arrived yesterday in Logan for an Alternative Break Experience, and will perform-service related activities at the CPD all  week.

There’s still time to submit your entries for the caption contest, the trivia contest and the guess-how-many-hot-tamales-are-in-the-jar contest! Send your entries to Sharon in the front office.

WebAIM’s Smith named Community Hero of Accessibility

February 27, 2015 by Sue Reeves

head shot of jared smith

Jared Smith

Jared Smith, associate director of WebAIM at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, has been named a Community Hero of Accessibility by Knowbility, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the independence of children and adults with disabilities by promoting the use and improving the availability of accessible information technology.

Knowbility conducted its first annual Community Heroes of Accessibility Awards in recognition of community excellence in accessibility. In December 2014, Knowbility accepted nominations for the awards across five categories – Individual Achievement, Educational Achievement, Institutional Achievement, Emerging Leader and Unsung Hero.

From among the finalists, Knowbility’s seven-member Board of Directors chose the top honorees. Smith was honored with the Educational Achievement award for his work with WebAIM.

Winners were announced at a ceremony on Feb. 11, 2015, at Google Austin.

Awards will be presented on March 5 during the 30th annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in San Diego. For a complete list of all the HERO nominees visit