The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University

CAC Corner: About the LCPD

January 14, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of people at Capitol building.

The Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities sponsors a legislative reception at the State Capitol every year. The next reception will be on Feb. 5.

The Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities (LCPD) advocates for public policy affecting all people in Utah who have disabilities. Membership is open to all and is comprised of voting and non-voting members. The Coalition is incorporated as a private, non-profit 501(c)3 organization in the state of Utah.

The LCPD has developed a very strong relationship with our senators and representatives statewide and works throughout the year advocating through the legislative process for individuals with disabilities. There are no regular office hours; however, meetings are held throughout the year which are open to the public. (See the LCPD website for an updated listing of meetings planned throughout the year.)

Leadership of the LCPD also spends the entire legislative session at the Capitol. Each year hundreds of hours are logged advocating for issues important to the disability community, which includes every individual in the state with a disability and their friends and family.


As with many things in life, the work, the risk taking, and the dedication of a few have made life better for many. There exists today a wide array of services for people with disabilities. These services have emerged because of grassroots advocacy by people with disabilities, their families, friends, and caring professionals. The results of advocacy have been encouraging over the past 25 years, but the battles guaranteeing the rights of individuals with disabilities are far from over.

Since its inception in 1981, the Coalition has successfully advocated for progressive changes for people with disabilities. Advocacy means “to speak up, to plead the case of another, or to champion a cause.” The LCPD makes being an advocate easier by providing a network of support, experience, training, and by dividing responsibilities to enable advocates to focus their energies on a single issue.

Changing and enhancing state laws that affect our programs and services within the disability community statewide is a quality-of-life issue. All Utah citizens deserve the same respect and supports. Individuals with disabilities are people first and they all come from a broad spectrum of life within our communities. The disability community and disability advocates have a long track record here in Utah of advocating for what is important to them and to their communities. This hard work has accomplished many things, for example, the removal of the R-word from all state legislation.

As you advocate for the disability community, encourage your peers to become involved in the work the LCPD does throughout the year. With greater numbers across the entire state, our legislators will hear from more advocates, advocating for the same issues, which is a truly powerful systems change agent.

For more information, to volunteer, or to donate to the LCPD, contact Joyce Dolcourt by phone at (801) 718-3013 or by e-mail at



Home visiting practices explained

January 12, 2015 by Sue Reeves

HOVRS-AUCD-2014A researcher at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities presented a poster on home visiting practices in early intervention at a recent Association of University Centers on Disabilty (AUCD) annual meeting in Washington, DC.

The poster presented by Mark Innocenti, director of the CPD’s Research and Evaluation Division, examined elements of successful home visits and what kinds of home visits have the most impact in early intervention.

The Home Visits Ratings Scale (HOVRS) was developed by Innocenti and his team, including Lori Roggman, Gina Cook, Vonda Jump, Katie Christiansen and Lisa Boyce. HOVRS is a reliable observational measure that predicts parent and child outcomes. It was developed by asking home visitors and their supervisors what a good home visit looked like, what should happen when it works well, and what does it look like when it’s not working. From that information, the team developed the scale.

The scale measures the home visitor’s relationship with the family, non-intrusiveness, responsiveness, facilitation of interaction, and the engagement of the parent and child together.


#I am The CPD

January 5, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Last semester, three students from the Journalism department’s Social Media class were assigned to the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. Their mission: to learn how to use social media for real clients in the real world.

The students–Chris, Justin and Natalie–used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to send the CPD’s message to the world.

They also produced a special project–a video featuring the hashtag #IamTheCPD. You’ll see that hashtag whenever we post something related to the people of the CPD on social media. To see the video, visit our Facebook page here. (You don’t need a Facebook account to view.)

Check our Facebook page again on Wednesday to see another video project created by our talented social media students. (It features Aggies Elevated, ASSERT and the infamous CPD Halloween party!)

USOR plans Order of Selection; public comment sought

December 31, 2014 by Sue Reeves

The Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, which offers vocational rehabilitation services in the state of Utah, has proposed to enter an Order of Selection plan on March 2, 2015. This will change the way people with disabilities receive rehabilitation services. Public comment on this change will be heard on Monday, Jan. 5 from 9 a.m. to noon and on Wednesday, Jan. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. at all USOR offices. The Northern Utah District office is at 115 W. Golf Course Road, Suite D in  Logan. Comments may also be e-mailed to

To request accommodations to participate in one of the public meetings, contact Stacy Cummings at or call (801) 538-7781.

For more information, visit the USOR web site here. Visitors can download a FAQ sheet with additional information from the web site.

AUCD poster discusses diversity

December 29, 2014 by Sue Reeves

RecruitPoster3A poster presented at a recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) meeting by researchers at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities examined diversity in a CPD project.

Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) researchers Eduardo Ortiz, Vicki Simonsmeier and Judith Holt, along with another colleague, presented the poster in Washington, D. C.

According to the poster, the demographic makeup of the United States is changing, with a rapid increase in the number of individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds. The partner states of the LEND program (Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota) are not exceptions to the national trend, so the researchers determined that more CLD disability-related professionals are needed.

To reach this goal, both a short-term goal and a long-term goal will be initiated.

The short-term approach includes networking within the universities and communities to engage individuals from CLD backgrounds and encourage them to participate in URLEND activities.

The long-term approach includes early engagement of middle- and high-school students through collaboration with the Utah STARS GEAR-UP program at USU, which recruits students into science, technology and math programs, which include the URLEND disciplines.