Living Well with Chronic Conditions Workshop starts May 1

April 16, 2018 by JoLynne Lyon

Grandson is hugging his grandmother looking to the camera

A free series of workshops designed to help people reduce hospitalizations, decrease their pain and symptoms and enjoy life more begins on May 1 in Logan.  Living Well with Chronic Conditions is a six-part workshop developed at Stanford University to help people of all abilities and all ages manage chronic health issues.

This series will also be offered in St. George at a later date.

Benefits of taking this course include increased exercise; ability to do social and household activities; decreased depression and worry about health; decreased symptoms, including pain; increased confidence; and decreased emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

Workshops are conducted by two trained leaders; one or both of them are managing their own chronic disease. They welcome anyone with an ongoing condition such as asthma, arthritis, chronic joint pain, fibromyalgia, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart failure, COPD, emphysema, depression, chronic pain or other chronic health concerns.

Sessions take place on Tuesdays from May 1 to June 6, from 2 to 4:30 pm at the Cache Valley Senior Center. To register, call LaDawn at (435) 797-7412 or visit:

The workshops help participants take an active role in managing their health by giving them the key skills needed to manage any chronic health condition. Family members and others who support people with a chronic health condition are also encouraged to attend.

Topics include:

  • Pain and fatigue management
  • Making an action plan to set and achieve attainable goals
  • Problem solving
  • Dealing with difficult emotions
  • Physical activity and exercise
  • Decision-making
  • Healthy eating
  • Communication skills
  • Working with health care professionals

Living Well with Chronic Conditions is part of a suite of chronic disease self-management education programs. They are offered through community partnerships, including the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University and the Utah Department of Health—Arthritis Program.

For information on other self-management classes around the state, see the information below.

See description

Sharon Weston honored as Staff of the Year

April 12, 2018 by JoLynne Lyon


Sharon Weston

Thursday’s College of Education and Human Services awards honored a CPD staff member who needs no introduction. And yet, while people at the CPD know and appreciate Assistant to the CPD Director Sharon Weston, they probably do not know how much she deserves to be the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Staff of the Year award.

Sharon herself would be the last to tell them.

But among all who depend on her, the same words come up again and again. Positive, helpful, efficient, pleasant, kind. Someone who works quietly in the background and is an excellent communicator, who has supported the CPD’s executive directors—five of them—since 1992.

“It’s hard to describe in a few words what a pleasure and privilege it was to work with her,” said former CPD Executive Director Sarah Rule,  “but here are three to summarize. Sharon is smart, skilled, and sensitive. If there was anything she (or I) didn’t know, she would find it out. She was always ready to learn new technology, grasp organizational change and support colleagues. If she ever made a mistake, I don’t remember it.  She knows what to say and when to say it…or not.”

“Sharon has an incredible ‘can do’ attitude and the skills to back it up,” said Judith Holt, another former CPD director. “I never presented Sharon with a problem that she didn’t have ideas, suggestions or perhaps a gentle nudge to step back and rethink the problem.”

“Sharon has seen the CPD evolve from a local special school for students with disabilities to a large research, outreach, and technical assistance organization with a national reach,” said current Executive Director Matthew Wappett. “Through it all, she has been a steady influence and has helped to keep the director organized and pointed in the right direction.”

“She has been a great support to each division director,”  said John Copenhaver, Director of Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education at the CPD. “She has been a stabilizing influence to all divisions at the CPD.”

“Sharon makes a point to serve everyone she can,” said Dr. Cyndi Rowland, executive director of WebAIM at the CPD. “She has a manner that is effective while at the same time makes people from very different backgrounds comfortable. … Her interpersonal skills and genuine kindness make her an absolute joy to work with.”

She she has also earned the admiration of fellow staff members at every level of the organization. “I first met Sharon when I came to interview for the CPD Executive Director position in August 2016,” Wappett said. “Sharon… walked me over to the CPD for my initial interview and visit with CPD staff. She was so kind, welcoming, and unassuming that I would have never guessed that she was such an integral cog in the day to day operations of the CPD.”

“She has the most positive attitude of anyone I know,” said Jodie Anderson, a co-worker. “She is always so kind and helpful to everyone… She always has a smile on her face.”

“Sharon is the WD-40 of the CPD,” said Kelly Smith, the CPD’s information specialist. “She keeps everything running smoothly, and I doubt that any of us fully comprehend the scope of her efforts.”

Sharon received her award at a ceremony in the Edith Bowen Auditorium at Utah State University.

photo of Sharon at a podium with a larger photo projected behind her

Sharon Weston at the award ceremony

CPD services on the move

March 26, 2018 by JoLynne Lyon

An ABC classroom participant tries out some new equipment soon after the move to the new building was completed. Photo by Kelleen Smith.

After months of construction, the new Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Clinical Excellence building is now  in operation–and some CPD services have made the move across the way, from the CPD building to the new center to its west.

Here is a list of clinics and classrooms now operating there:

The Developmental Behavioral Health Clinic

The CPD’s Behavioral Health Clinic professionals include Dr. Dennis Odell, George Wootton, Dr. Clint Field, Dr. Marty Toohill, Vicki Simonsmeier, Joy Green. They are found on the Sorenson Center’s third floor. Services include:
  • Medical Clinic
  • Autism Clinic
  • Academic Clinic
  • ADHD Clinic
  • Feeding Clinic
  • Behavior Therapy Clinic

The Up to 3/ABC Classroom, 3rd floor

The ABC Classroom is part of the CPD’s Up to 3 Early Intervention Program.

Another young member of the ABC Classroom tries out the new equipment. Photo by Kelleen Smith.

areal view

This is a photo of the clinical services building taken by drone by Jim Detrio, superintendent of R&O construction.

Early spring at the Disability Skills Laboratory

March 23, 2018 by JoLynne Lyon

group picture

Dallin and Marissa in coats they received from their work

We have been very busy here at DSL!  We now have four participants that have part-time jobs!  Sara and Ryan Dickey continue to work at Malouf in Nibley.  When asked what they do there, they are very proud to tell you that they are janitors and keep things sparkling clean.  They have worked there for about a year-and-a-half now.

Marissa and Dallin are working at the USU Recycling Center.  They are doing such a fantastic job that they earned brand new coats.  Their department didn’t have any injuries for over a year so they were all rewarded with coats!  When you ask Marissa what her favorite part of her job is, she will always say she enjoys shredding paper!  Dallin loves to separate items to be recycled.

We are always on the go here at DSL!  We have changed how we do things a little bit, and it is working awesomely!  We are out in the community in small groups almost daily.  We love going to the mall, going to DI, going to movies, out to eat.  We still do a few group activities during the month (this month we are going to see “A Wrinkle in Time”) but our focus is community integration.  Sometimes it is hard to think of new things to do. We welcome all suggestions!

On March 14 we celebrated pie day.  We had many different pies, and had a lot of fun!  On March 2nd we celebrated Dr. Seuss and read stories, watched movies, and had Green Eggs and Ham for lunch!

On March 7 we celebrated National Cereal Day and everyone brought their favorite cereal!  We had lots of fun, and we read what your favorite cereal reveals about you.  We also celebrate several birthdays in March:  CJ, Drake, Lupita, and Justis.

We also changed our Music Therapy time to Monday morning which is really going well because we are more awake before lunch!

We are looking forward to warmer weather and being able to do more outside activities!  We are also looking forward to our Spring Break on April 5-6.

CPD welcomes research fellow who will study disability in Native communities

March 19, 2018 by JoLynne Lyon


Erica Ficklin

The CPD welcomes Erica Ficklin, one of the Association of University Centers on Disability’s Diversity and Inclusion research fellows. She is working under Dr. Eduardo Ortiz to learn more about the perception of disability among Native American communities in Utah.

“The main premise of it is that disability may be defined differently [among native cultures],” Ficklin said. The researchers will approach the issue with open-ended questions like, “If a person has a disability, what qualities would they have?”

It’s pioneering research into a topic that has barely been studied, Ficklin said. “There hasn’t been a lot of research about disabilities within the native community. This is part of the reason that we’re starting so broad.” In addition, she said, the research that has been done in the past has been stigmatizing. “The tribes don’t have to allow research that they feel is particularly harmful.”

According to the AUCD Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit website, Native Americans are being diagnosed with a disability at six times the rate of the general population.

Ficklin and Ortiz will employ culturally appropriate methods to study the issue, which will also be the subject of Ficklin’s master’s thesis.

The project will last through September 2018.