The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University

CAC Corner: The stare

April 25, 2016 by Kelly Smith

Profile of adult maleThis month’s CAC Corner was written by CAC member Laura Anderson and originally posted on the Mother’s of Autistic Kids (Big MAKS) web site. Anderson is a member of the CPD Consumer Advisory Council, and mother of Ty, a child with autism. 

As a parent of a child with autism you become all to aware of “The Stare”.  Because many of our kids lack the visual cue that they have a disability ( a wheel chair, walker, distinguishable physical characteristic) the looks and stares can feel like a judgement or criticism.  The stares tend to come with the verbal outbursts,flapping, slapping clapping, hooting, screaming (you get the picture).  Many of these outward expressions of autism can be excused when the child is  younger, but the tables are turned when your son is 6’3″, 180 lbs, has facial hair and a deep bass voice.

We were the recipients of THE STARE Saturday night while being seated for dinner at Chili’s.  As we walked to our table, Ty (see the above description) sneezed directly over a mans plate.  *STARE*  We hurried to get seated so we could order the gentleman another dinner (yes, we replace many dinners that we take food from – and drinks that we put fingers in).  Before we could get Ty into the booth, the gentleman was up out of his seat heading for the manager.  My husband, Austin,  went after him to explain that we were going to replace his dinner and to offer our apologies, wanting  to let him know that Ty has autism, and has not learned the valuable skill of covering his mouth when he sneezes or coughs.

I watched from several seats away as these two men were engaged in their conversation, trying to catch a word of their exchange, hoping that Austin would stay calm.  I assumed we would be asked to leave after replacing the meal. 
The man turned away from Austin and walked toward our table…I was ready for the lecture…”You shouldn’t take your son out in public, you should teach him, you should…”  A conversation we have all heard too many times.

He approached the table and introduced himself as a Special Education Teacher from Ogden and insisted on buying us dessert.  He went on to explain his love for his job and the students he worked with, and how happy he was to see us out as a family. 
This man is my hero – and he can stare at us anytime he wants to.
Laura – Ty’s Mom

The CPD Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) composed of individuals with disabilities, family members, and staff liaisons advises the CPD director about the Center’s impact on systems change, advocacy, and capacity building. The CAC approves the CPD’s annual goals and regularly reviews progress towards their accomplishment.

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A week of emergencies at the CPD

April 18, 2016 by Kelly Smith

A sign outside the CPD reading "Emergency training in progress".Fire trucks, squad cars,  SWAT teams, ambulances, and bomb robots swarmed the original CPD building last week. However, no one was in danger and there was no imminent threat on campus. As a final public service, the outgrown building was being used for training purposes for a variety of campus and city emergency personnel prior to its demolition in a few weeks.

Since CPD staff  have all been relocated and salvage operations completed, the empty building provided a perfect opportunity to stage practice drills without fear of damaging property explained Judy Crockett, USU Emergency Manager.

“We like to take advantage any time we have an empty building. It’s a great chance for the guys to practice without fear of inflicting damage,” said Crockett.

The maze-like halls of the CPD, constructed in 1972, presented an unusual environment for personnel to practice decision-making on the fly. Numerous offices without windows and solid brick walls created challenges for participants. Some of the scenarios included fire-fighters snaking through the halls on their stomachs to rescue a downed co-worker, an active shooter situation, and a hidden bomb.

A new four-story Clinical Services Building will be constructed on the site of the old CPD, which is currently the only single-story building left on campus. The building, scheduled for completion in fall of 2017, will bring together many clinics from the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services under one roof, including several CPD service programs.

See more photos of the training exercises on the CPD Facebook page.

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Congratulations to Emily Lund

April 11, 2016 by Kelly Smith

Portrait of Emily LundThe CPD is happy to congratulate Emily Lund as Graduate Student Researcher of the Year at the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. She was presented the award by Dean Beth Foley last week, who said:


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.