UATP opens second Assistive Technology Lab

June 13, 2016 by Kelly Smith

Published with permission from the Utah Assistive Technology Program blog.Cameron Cressall is the coordinator of the new Assistive Technology Lab on Utah State University’s Roosevelt campus.

There is a new face in the assistive technology scene in Roosevelt—and he’s ready to get people rolling.

Cameron Cressall is the coordinator of the new Assistive Technology Lab on Utah State University’s Roosevelt campus. Assistive technology is used to help people with disabilities achieve independence.  The new lab will work in partnership with other providers, including the Active Re-Entry Independent Living Center in Price, to provide customized assistive technology to Utahns in the Uintah Basin.

“It’s not hard to be passionate about my job,” Cressall said. “I’m building, creating, doing fun things, making people happy.”

While the lab is just getting started in Roosevelt, Cressall is not new to assistive technology. He worked in the AT Lab in Logan, where he regularly helped people meet their goals for independence.

Both AT labs are part of the Utah Assistive Technology Program in the Center for Persons with disabilities, and they do more than just repair equipment. They also customize it to ensure it works for individuals with disabilities.

“We look forward to working with Cameron to continue meeting the needs in the Uintah Basin,” said Nancy Bentley, Active Re-Entry’s director. “Now we can involve the community even more, because the lab can take used devices, give them another life and put them into the hands of the people who need them.”

“The AT Lab on USU’s Logan campus has provided services that have helped a lot of people in Northern Utah,” said Sachin Pavithran, the UATP director. “We’re excited to bring those services to the Uintah Basin, and to provide them in a mobile format to reach people in rural settings.”

Before getting involved in the disability field, Cressall worked in construction and building. Eventually he found himself back in school at Utah State University, taking the Interdisciplinary Disability and Service Learning (IDASL) class offered through the CPD and completing a bachelor’s degree in social work. The IDASL class teaches people from all fields of study about disability issues. It also gives service learning opportunities to students, including an option to gain experience in the Assistive Technology Lab on the Logan campus.

“It totally changed my life,” Cressall said. “Of all the classes I’ve taken at USU, that one class had more impact, hands down, than any other. … It led me to what I do today.” It also provided a good blend of tinkering, building, customizing and serving people.

Both the Logan and Roosevelt labs need your donations—especially of used assistive technology equipment like wheelchairs, scooters, lifts and power wheelchairs. If you have devices you would like to donate, please call 1-800-524-5152.

 

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Hammond named interim IDT director

November 10, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of Marilyn Hammond

Marilyn Hammond

Marilyn Hammond has been named the interim director of the Interdisciplinary Training Division at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. She replaces Judith Holt, who is currently serving as the CPD’s interim director. The appointment became official on Oct. 1

“I have big shoes to fill,” Hammond said. “Judith is an amazing director. She has done a great job with the division. We have an excellent staff and great programs. This new role will be challenging, but exciting.”

Hammond’s new duties will include managing multiple projects, seeking new funding, collaborating with other departments and colleges, and keeping current programs and services running effectively. In addition, the Utah Assistive Technology Program will now be located in the IDT division. Hammond is the current director of the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation, which provides low-interest financing for individuals in need of AT.

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UATP, CPD to take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

September 2, 2014 by Sue Reeves

Join us on the Quad today at 1 p.m.! Please bring your own bucket (and towel!), and wear your blue CPD t-shirt or other Aggiewear. See you there!

By Deanna Taylor

Image of three people.

Kim Maibaum (center) and friends.

My name is Deanna and I was nominated by a friend, Wendy Shelton, to complete the ALS ice bucket challenge. It’s been well over a week, but I waited to complete the challenge so I could introduce to you my friend Kim Maibaum.

When Kim was 50 years old, she was diagnosed with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS attacks your muscles and nerves. The symptoms initially begin with mild muscle stiffness followed by severe weakness and then paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk. Eventually, ALS will affect other vital functions such as speech, swallowing and for many the inability to breathe without a ventilator.

Unlike you and I, if Kim has an itch she is unable to scratch it. If her arm or leg position is uncomfortable she is unable to adjust it. One of the few things ALS does not affect is the mind. Kim’s mind is as sharp today as when she was diagnosed.

The average life expectancy for a person diagnosed with ALS is 2 to 5 years. Only 10 percent of those living with ALS will live longer than 10 years. Kim falls into that 10 percent category. On Sept. 16, 2014, Kim will have been living with ALS for 10 years.

While born and raised in New York, Kim is a Utah State University graduate and Cache Valley resident. She was an interpreter for the deaf (American Sign Language) for 22 years before having to quit because of her illness. She has been an interpreter for many influential people including President Clinton during a rally for Senator Ted Kennedy.

The State of Utah only pays for 17 hours per week for Kim’s care providers. This leaves Kim to pay for the remaining 6 days of the week, and she’s exhausted her financial options.

You can learn more about Kim, ALS and donating to her care fund at www.keepkimhome.blogspot.com. You can also ‘Live a Day in the Life of Kim’ by watching this video.

Thanks for your support and participation!

 

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Pavithran elected vice-chair of the U.S. Access Board

March 19, 2014 by Sue Reeves

Sachin Pavithran

Sachin Pavithran

The U.S. Access Board elected Sachin Dev Pavithran to a one-year term as its new vice-chair on March 12. Pavithran, director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, was appointed to the Board in late 2012 by President Barack Obama.

There are 25 members on the Access Board, said Pavithran, consisting of 13 appointed members and 12 representatives from federal agencies such as the Departments of Commerce, Education, Labor, Defense, Transportation and Health and Human Services.

This year a federal member, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitation Services Michael K. Yudin from the Department of Education, was elected chair. Next year, an appointed member will be elected chair. The vice-chair does not automatically become chair the following year, Pavithran said.

Since his appointment, Pavithran has been chair of several Access Board committees, but now he will have to attend each of the 16 or 18 committee meetings and fill in as chair if Yudin is absent. He will also work with the executive board on budget matters and prioritizing issues among the member agencies.

“Everything we do is working on rulemaking and regulatory assessments,” Pavithran said. “The Access Board brings agencies together.”

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Girl receives the gift of independence from CReATE

December 11, 2013 by Sue Reeves

Image of Selina and her dad.

Selena and her dad share a smile after she gives
her wheelchair a test run.

Selena Perez thought she was coming to a routine meeting with her parents at her school. Instead she was wheeled into the media center at Willow Valley Middle School to discover a new-to-her motorized wheelchair—and the small crowd of people who came together to make it possible.

The sight moved her to tears. Through an interpreter she asked if it was to be used only at school. The answer came back: she could use it at home, too.

Selena’s family is from Mexico. She has used a wheelchair for most of her life.

The refurbished chair was made possible by staff members of the Cache County School District Office and CReATE, a nonprofit organization under the Utah Assistive Technology Program that puts affordable mobility devices into the hands of Utahns who need it.

CReATE is part of the Center for Persons with Disabilities and the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services at Utah State University. Staff members from the Cache County School District Office contacted the program and contributed to the cost of the motorized chair.

District special education director Joel Allred said Selina was doing well in school, but the people at the district office wanted her to have more independence. Until that day, she had needed an aide to push her from class to class.

“It’s very nice,” she said in a quiet moment, after posing for pictures and taking her first turn around the room. “I’ll be able to go to the kitchen when I want a drink.”

“We won’t be battling with the wheelchair to move her from one spot to another,” her father said through an interpreter. “Now her self-esteem will increase because she can move herself around.”

This story was written by JoLynne Lyon and originally appeared on the EEJ EdNotes blog on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.

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