CAC Corner: Dedicated providers make a difference

July 5, 2012 by cpehrson

This CAC Corner blog was written by Consumer Advisory Council Family Representative Dena Marriott.

Head shot of Matthew Marriott


 The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University has been part of my son, Matthew’s and my life since his elementary school years.   Matthew started having seizures before he turned two and began having signs of Autism at four. 

Although we lived out of state at the time, I brought Matthew to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, UT.  When we moved back to Logan, UT, Matthew was able to see his neurologist, Dr. Joel Thompson, when he came from Primary Children’s to the CPD for a clinic through the Utah Children with Special Health Care Needs.  It was such a blessing to have our appointments so close and I knew Matthew was getting the best care possible.

When it was time for Matthew’s post high education, I was thrilled to know that he would be attending the Peer Program at the CPD.  At the Peer Program, Matthew’s reading comprehension improved, along with his handwriting.   He learned money and shopping skills and worked toward taking the GED.   He got job training and had a job coach with him at his job sites.  These included U-Star, USU Bookstore, The Marketplace, Honks, and his last and favorite, The Museum of Anthropology (at USU), where he did data entry. 



Before transitioning out of the program, Matthew was hired to be an office assistant for Gordon Richins, Consumer Liaison at the CPD.  Every week Matthew looks forward to the day he gets to work with Gordon.

Someone once said that we never know all the people who have worked and sacrificed on our behalf.  I know this is the case at the Center for Persons with Disabilities.   Matthew and I are truly grateful!

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Minnesota students spend Spring Break at USU

March 12, 2012 by cpehrson

While USU students head out this week on their Spring Break, students from Minnesota go back to school after spending their Spring Break on the USU campus last week.   
Three college students at a table eating lunch







On March 4th, eleven students from the Colleges of St. Benedict and St. Johns in Minnesota arrived in Utah as part of their schools’ “Alternative Break Experiences (ABE).  ABE is a program offered by the Colleges to provide their students with exposure to other cultures, places and ways of life that will complement their academic experiences and, hopefully, inspire their lives.

CPD Volunteer Coordinator, Jeff Sheen, worked out an active schedule for each day the students were here that would give them many opportunities to help out with programs that serve people with disabilities, and connected them with host families to give them a more personal experience in the community.

College student greeting young child with a high five


Monday morning started early with a tour of the CPD and spending a little time with the children in the Up to 3 Early Intervention Program before sharing a potluck lunch with CPD staff.





The afternoon was spent out in the community helping with the Neighborhood Non-profit Housing that builds affordable housing for individuals with disabilities and low-income families. The first day ended at the bowling alley helping children with disabilities who participate in the TOPS Sports program.

A group of young adults in the snow with skis and snowshoes.

A good time was had by all!



The next two days, the students had a great time with the Common Ground Outdoor Adventures group helping community members with disabilities snowshoe and cross country ski at Logan Canyon’s Beaver Mountain Resort. This was their first time experiencing Utah’s fantastic snow and beautiful mountains!





Thursday found them down in Salt Lake City at the CReATE warehouse, a part of the Utah Assistive Technology Program, where they refurbish mobility equipment and offer them to people who need them at a discount cost.  The students, along with five employees from CReATE/AT Lab and one from DSPD, recycled 54 devices weighing 7,960 pounds, giving CReATE some recycling income. In the four hours they were there, the work accomplished would have taken CReATE staff nearly two weeks to do.  You can read more about their day on the UATP blog.

Their last day was spent helping young adult students in the PEER program practice their social skills while they played games and interacted with the volunteers.  The afternoon found them having lunch at the Developmental Skills Laboratory with older adults with disabilities and doing some fun activities with them. 

Two young adults flexing their muscles.








All in all, it was a week full of service, fun, and new friends!

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CPD Legacy Story: Tell Joyner

December 6, 2010 by cpehrson

This next Legacy Story is about Tell Joyner, one of the Postseconday Education, Employment, and Research (PEER) program’s participants. Tell is one of 17 students enrolled in PEER this year.

Tell Joyner on the job in the Anthropology Department

By Tell Joyner as told to Connie Pehrson

My name is Tell Joyner and I am part of the PEER program at USU.  I have been here for one and a half years.  I like it here because I get to work on getting my high school diploma that I wasn’t able to get in high school.

This is a chance for people like me with a disability to be able to learn how to make it in the wide world. We work on our GED classes and also learn job skills and finances.  Every month we fill out a fake budget.  I pay my “bills,” like power, rent, cable, and food.  I have to make sure I have  enough money for all those at the end of the month.

I like riding the city buses to get to school from North Logan to the University.  Sometimes I ride the buses to go downtown and do some shopping.

History is my love.  “Western Civilization is way good.”  I learned about history from reading the encyclopedia.

Kerry Done, my teacher, got me a job with the Anthropology Department at USU.  I get to research items in their museum and write up a summary of them on a card.  I looked up things about a Mayan bowl that was made of clay on the internet–I googled it.  I also go to the the USU Library web site and look through their electronic resources and data base.  I work there for 1- 1/2 hours every day.

In the future I would like to go to USU and major in history or political science, and maybe minor in anthropology, since I have experience working in the museum here.  Maybe I could do research or teach.

I have met some good friends here on the campus; the other students at PEER, students in my Institute class, and the tutors at the museum.

This is a good place for me.

Tell at the Anthropology Museum

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PEER program is off to a good start

November 16, 2010 by cpehrson

By Kerry Done,  Lead Teacher of the Postsecondary Education, Employment, and Research (PEER) program at the CPD.

Kerry Done working with a PEER student.

The PEER program is off to a good start this year.  We have five students coming from Logan School District and twelve from the Cache School District, making a total of seventeen PEER participants.

We are excited when our students become more independent and this year we are seeing less of them coming to campus on the district school buses, and more riding the local city and county buses.  We even have one student who is driving himself to school!  Two others are taking the Driver’s Education course and preparing to get their Driver’s Licenses.

During their time at PEER, the students work on the goals that have been identified in their individual education programs (IEP).  Several of them want to finish their high school studies and get their GEDs.  A few of them are planning to go on to college and we work with them on preparing for the ACT test and filling out college entrance forms.

An important part of our program is placing our students in jobs on and off campus.  This year, we have two students who are working on campus at the campus food court, bussing tables and emptying garbage cans. Another student is working with the USU Anthropology Museum, researching artifacts and creating placards to display with the artifacts.  Two others are working off campus, one at the food counter of a local movie theater, and another as a custodian for the Logan School District.

We spend a lot of time working on skills that will help our students live independently and have greater self-reliance.  Skills like planning a menu, shopping and cooking; budgeting and using their money wisely; purchasing and caring for clothing.

It is so rewarding to see them growing and learning skills that will help them take care of themselves when they are prepared and ready to be out on their own.

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