50 years of disability as a national priority

October 19, 2011 by JoLynne Lyon

Photo of JFK

This photo of John F. Kennedy is courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library and Museum

Developmental disabilities were on John F. Kennedy’s mind long before he became President of the United States. The president’s sister, Rosemary, was born with intellectual disabilities.

In 1947 his parents started the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, in memory of their oldest son. Its purpose was to seek the prevention of intellectual disabilities and improve the way society deals with them. Another of the president’s sisters, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, became a high-profile advocate. President Kennedy took all that family history with him into the White House, and in October 1961 he convened the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation.

The panel’s name is archaic now, but its historical significance is huge. It brought together scientists and doctors, and by the end of 1962 it had come up with a set of specific recommendations. With those in hand, President Kennedy called for a dramatic reduction in the number of people institutionalized because of disability. The idea of keeping people with disabilities within their communities was revolutionary at the time–they were often life-long residents at institutions.
Another recommendation–the forming of university-based centers for people with disabilities–was signed into law less than a month before the president was assassinated. The CPD (or the Exceptional Child Center, as it was known at the time) was established because of that legislation.While the earliest university-affiliated  centers were associated with medical schools, the CPD was connected to a college of education. People who worked to make it happen remember it as a tricky approval process, selling the Federal Government on the idea that education could be as central as medicine in a university center for children with disabilities. In the end, the Exceptional Child Center had its own medical component, but it was established within Utah State University’s college of education. It was the first to operate outside of a medical school, and its mission was to serve people with disabilities in rural areas.

The CPD’s very existence reflected changes in the philosophy that drove disability studies. The focus continues to broaden. People with disabilities are now stakeholders who help set the agenda.

The CPD played its own part in that history. In its earliest years it provided opportunities for children and adults who could not have received an education without moving away from home.
But it all grew out of events that happened ten years before the building was completed, when a President of the United States made disability a national priority.

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USU 2010/11 Diversity Awards–nominations now open

October 6, 2011 by cpehrson

Utah State University invites nominations for their annual Diversity Awards.  This award is given to individuals or organizations that are recognized for their work in promoting diversity and the acceptance of individual differences.

Award categories include:  student, faculty, administrator, staff, community member

Award criteria includes:  Models behavior that promotes diversity, Nourishes acceptance of individual differences, Maximizes opportunities to achieve diversity (a full listing of Award Criteria can be found online).

Past CPD Diversity Award recipients include:

1999/2000  Community Member:    Helen Roth,   CPD staff,  former Consumer Advisory Council member

2004/05       Administrator:   Judith Holt, Ph.D.,  CPD’s Interdisciplinary Training Division director, URLEND co-director

2008-09       Student:  Eduardo Ortiz, Ph.D., J.D., National Child’s Study senior research coordinator, URLEND Cultural Compentency Discipline director

Nomination letters must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 2011, by letter, fax, e-mail or in person.

For further information please contact the Affirmative Action /Equal Opportunity Office at 435-797-1266.


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Frisbees and pizza–a good way to meet the Aggie Advocates for Disability Club

September 22, 2011 by cpehrson

If you are looking for something fun to do that will bring you a lot of satisfaction along with it, come to the Quad on the USU campus tonight at 7:30 p.m. for some  glow-in-the-dark frisbee games and pizza.

That’s the fun part.  The satisfaction comes in when you join the newest club at USU, Aggie Advocates for Disability, and get to know some  people with disabilities.

The Aggie’s Advocates Club was organized this year after two Level 2 Special Ed students saw a play about discrimination and prejudice. After talking about how this is still a part of the world today, they decided to see if they could make a positive difference, at least here on the USU campus.

The description of the club on the USU website says it all:   The purpose of Aggie Advocates for Disability is to improve the lives of people with disabilities through social awareness, and to advocate for people with disabilities and their families through educating the general public, raising funds for schools, families, and organizations, and providing service.

This new club isn’t just waiting around for people to come to them.  Already they have recruited over 100 members and have organized officers and activities for the whole year!

Many have already been volunteering in some of the programs at the CPD.

Jeff Sheen, CPD Volunteer Coordinator, has been working with some of the Aggie Advocate members, introducing them to the programs that serve children and youth with disabilities at the CPD.  Programs like the PEER program, a post-secondary program for young adults, and the Disability Skills Laboratory, an adult day program for adults with disabilities.

Along with volunteering to work directly with people with disabilities, Aggies Advocates has plans to sponsor some fundraisers for programs whose funding has been cut who serve children with disabilities.  They will also be participating with the CPD during Disability Awareness Week in January, and this Saturday, they will be marching alongside the CPD’s 40th Anniversary float in the Homecoming Parade.

Through it all, they want to make campus more inclusive by organizing activities for people with and without disabilities.

Those interested in becoming a part of this amazing club can email them at aggieadvocates.usu@gmail.com to join.  For now, they will email information about their activities to members, but they will soon have a facebook account and will be posting them on it.

It seems that we are going to be hearing a lot from the Aggie Advocates for Disability Club.  Welcome to USU!











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Utah DD Council sets new goals for next 5 years

September 19, 2011 by cpehrson

The Utah Developmental Disabilities Council is a CPD partner agency that supports and advocates for individual with developmental disabilities.  They have recently completed their new 5 year plan for 2012-2016.

Their goals for supporting people with disabilities are focused on the following areas:

Goal 1: Support the development of opportunities for people with disabilities to pursue a range of post public school  education experiences.

Goal 2: Support the development of networks of self- and community-advocates in becoming effective change agents.

Goal 3: Support self- and community-advocates in leadership opportunities.

Goal 4: Support the evolution of community resources and supports that empower people with disabilities and their families to lead independent lives in their communities.

Goal 5: Support the development of opportunities for people with disabilities to get and keep jobs.

You can read the 5-Year Plan in its entirety online.

We applaud the DD Council for the valuable work that they are doing to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Utah.

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Celebrating 40 years with the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council

September 12, 2011 by cpehrson

The Center for Persons with Disabilities joins our partner agency, the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council, in celebrating their 40 year Anniversary this month.

To honor this occasion, they are hosting an Awards Luncheon and 40th Anniversary Tribute, “Looking Back, Looking Forward…,” on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 from 12:00-2:00 p.m at the Show Barn at Thanksgiving Point, Lehi, Utah.

You are invited to come and enjoy a meal and look back at what the Utah DDC has accomplished over the past 40 years and learn about what the future holds for the next 40.

Claire Mantonya, Executive Director of the DDC, has long been a member of the CPD Consumer Advisory Council.  Through the years, her experience and insight have helped to lead the CPD in a direction that benefits the lives of all people with disabilities in Utah.

Reservations for the 40th Anniversary celebration can be made through email, bemartin@utah.gov, or by phone, 801-533-3965.

Happy Anniversary, Utah Developmental Disabilities Council!

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