The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University

TOP Sports needs volunteers!

August 10, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of child high-fifing volunteer.

Volunteers are needed for TOP Sports T-ball!

Volunteers are needed to help with the TOP Sports T-ball league, which begins on Monday, August 31. The league runs on Mondays through September 28 (weather permitting). The cost is $15 per participant.

TOP Sports T-ball is for children ages 3 and up who have disabilities and takes place at Forrester Acres Softball Field, 100 N. 500 W. in Smithfield. Game time is 5:30 p.m.

Parents, siblings and friends are welcome to come and cheer for the T-ball players, but only athletes with disabilities are allowed on the field.

Volunteers, or parents who are interested in registering their children, should call or text Erica Lundahl at (465) 764-0984.


Pancake Run to benefit ASSERT

August 6, 2015 by Sue Reeves

image001IHOP will sponsor the 2nd Annual First Dam Pancake Run on Saturday, August 15 to benefit the Autism Support Services: Education, Research and Training (ASSERT) preschool at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities.

“The First Dam Pancake Run is a great opportunity to participate in a race while supporting the ASSERT autism preschool program,” said ASSERT program coordinator Lyndsay Nix. “If you don’t want to walk/run in the race, we can still use a lot of volunteers—to help with registration, sell raffle tickets, direct runners, help with the kids’ dash, face painting, etc.”

All volunteers will receive a FREE IHOP stack of pancakes as well as a FREE event T-shirt. Click here to volunteer.

In addition to the 5K and 10K races and the free pancakes, there will be a raffle, face painting, a sack race, a kid’s dash, a blue color throw, and more.

To donate directly to ASSERT, or to purchase raffle tickets, click here.

Paralympian to raise money for UATF

August 4, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Paralympian and Utahn Muffy Davis is lending her experience to the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation to raise funds to make assistive technology more accessible for those who need it. Her goal is $25,000 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Here is her story.

Image of skier using adaptive equipment.

Muffy Davis using adaptive skis in competition.

I am writing to you today about a program that is very important to many Utahans, like me, who use mobility devices in their everyday lives. I know firsthand just how far people can go when they have the right mobility device. My career as an athlete has taken me from the ski slopes of Nagano, Japan; Sochi, Russia and Salt Lake City, to the winding roads of England to compete and serve as an ambassador in both the winter and summer Paralympics. Customized mobility devices have helped me win seven Paralympic medals including three golds. No skier has ever won a medal without the right skis, and no biker without the right bike. As a person with a disability, it is no different for me. The right equipment, adapted to my unique needs, has allowed me to pursue my dreams along with other great athletes from around the world.

Mobility and access are easy to take for granted, but for many Utahans, being able to move about their communities freely is not possible without the help of specialized assistive technology. Assistive Technology is specific to the needs of each individual and the right type of device or accommodation can have an immeasurable impact on someone’s quality of life, independence, employment, health, and safety.

Unfortunately for many people, the financial difficulties of having a disability make acquiring the needed assistive technology very difficult. Each year, my friends at UATF (Utah Assistive Technology Foundation) provide grants and loans to Utahans in need to acquire the right kind of assistive technology to keep them moving. UATF grants and loans are vital for people who would not be able to live independently and productively without them. Thanks to assistance from UATF my family has been able to acquire an accessible mini-van, and an elevator for our home. The difference these enhancements make in our lives simply cannot be measured in dollars and cents. They are vital for our quality of life and our ability to travel together and live together, safely and freely.

Utahans have always been a people on the move, working hard, getting involved in our communities and exploring the natural wonders of our beautiful state. At UATF, we are making sure that all Utahans are able to carry on this legacy, regardless of having a disability.

As an athlete, I am always striving to improve on my previous performance. My friends at UATF are no different, and this year they want to help more Utahans than ever before.

I am hoping to raise $25,000 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilties Act. Join me, and you can help someone in your community achieve the mobility they need to pursue their dreams. Together, I believe we can … GET UTAH MOVING!

To donate, please click here.

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TEDxUSU to include CPD researcher

July 31, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of Vonda Jump

Vonda Jump

Vonda Jump, senior researcher at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, has been selected as one of 12 presenters at the TEDxUSU event on October 23 in the Caine Performance Hall.

Jump’s presentation, entitled “Unlocking the secrets of a baby’s brain through a parent’s heart,” details some of her recent research into brain development. Recent brain research is clear, according to Jump, who said, “Babies’ brains develop through their interactions with their primary caregivers, and the types of interactions they have impact their brains differentially. Babies depend on their primary caregivers for physiological self-regulation and brain organization in the early months. What babies need is a consistent, sensitive, and appropriately responsive caregiver for optimal development. In this regard, the baby’s brain mirrors the parent’s heart.”

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies brought TEDx to USU in 2012 with the hope that the conference would help underline the university as a thought-provoking venue where challenging thinkers share insight with the community. TEDxUSU is meant to push attendees and online viewers to think outside of their comfort zone by engaging them in new and different subjects.

Since then, the each year’s event has sold out within hours, and the talks have garnered hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.

This year’s TEDxUSU event will include two speaking sessions held in the Caine Performance Hall, separated by an extended intermission in the Kent Concert Hall atrium. The intermission will include food and interactive exhibits related to the talks.

TEDxlogoTickets will be available this year through a lottery process, beginning Sept. 21. Those who wish to attend must sign up for the lottery before Oct. 5. This process is meant to streamline and simplify the ticket purchasing process. For more information on purchasing tickets visit


DLC visits AT lab

July 29, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Group of people in assistive technology lab.

Clay Christensen describes recent AT fabrication projects to members of the Disability Law Center.

Representatives from the Disability Law Center, Utah’s protection and advocacy agency, visited the Assistive Technology lab at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities recently.

“The DLC wanted to learn more about AT and explore further collaboration,” said DLC advocate Sheri Newton. “We wanted to see what’s available and the role of the AT lab in the state. We want to make sure Utahns with disabilities are getting the AT they need.”

AT lab coordinator Clay Christensen said the lab serves 600-1,000 people every year through device demonstration, the loan bank, fabrication, repairs and reutilization.

“Sometimes it’s a quick fix, at times it’s pretty overwhelming,” he said. Ideally, he said, the AT lab provides services to people who are waiting for insurance approval of new devices, or provides low-tech solutions to bridge the gap as they wait for higher tech devices.

While the lab receives outside funding, donations of used equipment are crucial. They can also be heartbreaking.

“It’s a pretty jagged pill when you work with a family to fit a chair for a kiddo and then the mom comes in with an empty wheelchair to donate it,” he said. However, it usually isn’t long before the wheelchair is repurposed for another family’s use.