CAC Corner: Kudos to CPD for a job well done

April 9, 2012 by cpehrson

This CAC Corner message is from Mathew Bone, a family-representative member of the Consumer Advisory Council.

Recently I was spotted wearing my CPD T-shirt and a friend asked why I was wearing Utah State University when I was a Ute (University of Utah). I explained to him about the CPD and being on the Consumer Advisory Council. I was also able to explain about the really cool stuff the CPD does.

This led me to think about a few things.

I have recently been challenged by some “situational inabilities.” You might ask what a “situational inability” is, and you would be right in doing so because I made it up. While the term is made up, the reality of situational inabilities are real.  For example, I am unable to travel for work as much as they would like me to. This is due to a need to be able to go to family therapy sessions, and to be there at other times for a person with a disability. I have the physical ability to travel, but situationally, I cannot.

These situational inabilities are small by comparison to the physical and mental disabilities that many people need to deal with on a regular basis, but the realization that someone’s disability was having a direct impact on my abilities was a discovery to me. I thought I should have realized it much earlier, but I did not.

This led me to consider the things the CPD does for people. Through educational efforts, studies, and projects to help the disabled and their families, the CPD has the ability to make the disabilities and “situational disabilities” of these people to be a little less debilitating.

On this anniversary of the founding of the CPD, I say Kudos to them for a job well done, and I hope to see it continue and grow for many years to come.

You can read more about the 40th Anniversary of the CPD and celebration activities on our web site.

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CAC Corner: The future of the disability advocacy movement

March 16, 2012 by cpehrson

 This CAC Corner blog is written by Gordon Richins,  CPD Consumer Liaison and staff advisor for the Consumer Advisory Council.

Colored photo of Gordon Richins






The following article, written by Alison Lozano, a friend of mine and the Executive Director of the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities,  addresses an issue I have also noticed as I advocate within the state of Utah and on a national level. Read her article below and decide if you agree or disagree when she states, “There is definitely a graying of the disability advocacy community”. 

The future of the “disability advocacy movement.”

By Executive Director NJDD Council, Alison Lozano, Ph.D., MPA

Those of us who are parents, self-advocates, and professionals in the disability advocacy community attend many conferences and meetings per year.  If you sit at the back of the room it is interesting to note how many bald and grey heads there are between you and the dais.  Your conclusion would have to be that there is definitely a graying of the disability advocacy community. 

Many of us became involved with the disability community in the 1970’s and 1980’s when we had to work hard to bring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities out of the shadows and into the mainstream of society.  In many respects we have been very successful, we have downsized many large institutions and visibility for disability issues has become fairly common.   However, we still have a long way to go for individuals with developmental disabilities to truly be part of their communities and society in general.  And, this is the very reason we have to increase our efforts to support and train those who come behind us to be strong and effective advocates.I would suggest the best people for this job are the self advocates themselves.  It is of great importance that we invest in the training and strengthening of self advocates to carry the mantel of the disability advocacy movement   Even those of us who are parents do not understand the issues that affect the lives of those who live with developmental disabilities.  Parents and professionals are so often occupied with caring, protecting and nurturing and we loose sight of the civil rights and quality of life issues that are also important in everyone’s lives.

Therefore, we have to support the development of skills in younger self advocates so they can advocate for themselves and their peers.  We need to make sure there are training opportunities in place so they can learn and nurture their leadership skills.  And, those of us who have been advocates for a while, those of us who are graying, need to step back and let them take the lead.  For many of us it is hard, because, of course, we know best.  But, the only way they will learn is by doing.  If they stumble along the way, or do things differently from how we would do it, then we must endeavor to let them do it their own way.

At the DD Council we have a Youth Leadership program that focuses on teaching youth to advocate for themselves.  These young people are the future of the movement and we need to support them to be the new disability advocacy leaders when those of us with the balding and graying heads take to our rocking chairs.”

Alison Lozano, Ph.D., MBA

We, as advocates within the disability community, pride ourselves in our ability to get involved and help bring about a change in the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.

I would like to hear back from others as to whether you agree or disagree with Alison’s letter. You can make comments on this blog, or  just send me thoughts or suggestions that you have on addressing the issue of the graying of the disability advocacy community.  Feel free to call me at 435-797-2832 or e-mail me


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CAC Corner: Let’s stop bullying

October 6, 2011 by cpehrson

This CAC Corner blog is by Kelly Holt, a self-advocate member of the CPD Consumer Advisory Council.

Kelly is one of two recipients of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities 2011 Champions of Equal Opportunity Awards.  This award recognizes outstanding leaders who have made significant contributions to advancing the values and goals of increased independence, productivity and integration of people with developmental disabilities.

We need to remember who we are…that we are all just people.  We need to respect everyone.  We don’t want to put anybody down.

Unfortunately, sometimes people forget this.

At the last Disability Law Center Board Meeting I was at, we talked about the results of their 2011 Community Needs Assessment that asked what issues and needs that people with disabilities had in the past year.  One of the main issues that was brought up had to do with bullying of students with disabilities in the schools.

Bullying and teasing have become a problem throughout the country.  Some say that 37% of students with disabilities have been bullied, but I think it is much more than that because some don’t tell their teachers or their parents.

Bullying can be name-calling, not being included, or maybe even getting pushed or hit by someone.  I think everyone has been bullied at some time in their lives.  Parents and teachers need to realize that it is still going on and they need to focus on it and watch out for it.

We need to stop the bullying and remind everyone that we are all people, even if we might be different from someone else.  I think the best way to do this is to educate people. To talk to teachers, parents, and students about how important it is to respect everyone and to treat them kindly.

The Spread the Word to End the Word campaign helped to get the word “retard” out of the everyday speech.  I think we could get rid of bullying if we started a campaign about it.  If we can stop it in the schools, especially the elementary schools, by the time people are out of school, they will have learned to respect people with disabilities and treat them kindly.  They will know that people with disabilities are people first, and their disability is just part of who they are.

I hope that we can educate people and help them remember that we are all just people, so bullying can be stopped.

[Note:  “The Walk A Mile in Their Shoes” Report is a report on bullying and special needs and teaches how to “disarm” bullying.  It is found on the Ability Path web site. ]

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CAC Corner: Time to celebrate!

June 1, 2011 by cpehrson

This CAC Corner blog was written by Tom Brownlee, Chair of the CPD Consumer Advisory Council.

In February of this year, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill 230 into law eliminating the term “mental retardation” in all state documents.

For many years, for people with disabilities, this (term) has been very offensive, and not appropriate, as well.

From my past experience, it was very personal for me, getting teased and called that name.

So, we’ve been trying over the years to get this changed, and finally, on the federal level, there’s Rosa’s Law. (This law will  replace the terms “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” with “intellectual disability” and “individual with an intellectual disability” throughout federal health, education and labor policy.)

And now, on the  local level, a true milestone has been reached (as HB 230 goes into effect). It is a time to celebrate for all here in the state of Utah!

Note: Rosa Marcellino’s brother, Nick, stated when President Obama signed Rosa’ Law into effect,  “What you call people is how you treat them. If we change the words, maybe it will be the start of a new attitude towards people with disabilities.”

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CAC Corner: Public transportation brings independence

May 2, 2011 by cpehrson

This CAC Corner blog is brought to us by Robin Savage, a CPD Consumer Advisory Council self-advocate member.  She and her husband, Blake, have been members of the CAC for several years.  You will never see Robin without a bright smile on her face and a cheery word to say.  She and her husband live in Hyrum, Utah.

By Robin Savage as told to Connie Pehrson

Hyrum, Utah is a wonderful place to live….if you have a car!  It is 8 miles from Logan, and that creates a problem for residents who don’t drive, like Robin Savage and her husband, Blake.

They don’t have a problem getting around in Hyrum because they can walk to many of the places they need to go.  Blake can walk to the middle school where he is a custodian, and Robin can walk to most of the schools that she works in as a substitute lunch assistant.  They walk to the library and to their church.  A lot of their family is within walking distance; some live just next door.

But when they have business in Logan such as medical appointments, meetings, or just want to go shopping, they have to rely on family or friends to drive them in.

That is, until they discovered the Cache Valley Transit District (CVTD) bus system!

Being independent is very important to Robin and Blake.  They are proud of their thriving greenhouse business and like to be able to take care of themselves.  When the CVTD South route started up several years ago they were excited to take advantage of it.

Now they use the bus once or twice a week to get into Logan.  Sometimes their family will drive them in and drop them off at the Transit Center and they can go wherever they need to by themselves. Then they can ride the bus back to Hyrum.

Not only does the CVTD give the Savages independence, but it is FREE!

Public transportation can be a lifeline for a person with a disability or a senior citizen. Special needs/accessible transportation is an important ingredient to being independent.  Without transportation options, some people might otherwise be virtually trapped in their homes or forced to lead much less independent lives.

Utah provides several transportation options for people with physical or mental disabilities.  Many counties in Utah have a paratransit service that can be accessed by eligible individuals.  Local Independent Living Centers (ILC) provide transportation assistance when needed. Utah 2-1-1 connects people with important health and human services programs such as transportation throughout the communities of Utah.

[NOTE: CVTD South buses come to Hyrum regularly every week day  at a variety of times and also has limited runs on Saturday.  CVTD does not run on Sundays.

The CVTD also provides a paratransit bus service through Call-A-Ride; it is for people with disabilities who have been certified as functionally unable to use the fixed route buses.  The paratransit service can be reserved by contacting the Transit District office.]

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