Aunt Mary is the CPD's 2008 Volunteer of the Year
CPD launches drive for volunteers
Skills and qualities currently sought: quilting, public speaking, savvy Internet navigation, writing, editing, willingness to help, willingness to learn.
Benefits: Satisfaction of knowing you made a difference.
The Center for Persons with Disabilities launches a drive for volunteers this month. The right-hand column of the CPD homepage is now dedicated to helping visitors help others. Click on the "volunteer" link to bring up a list of tasks just waiting for someone to do them.
Volunteer coordinator Jeff Sheen said the volunteer recruitment will give the Center and its community neighbors a chance to get to know each other and work together.
Though the idea has received new real estate on the CPD's homepage, it is not a new concept. Already, volunteers help within the CPD's walls and in its community recreation programs. This month, a CPD volunteer received the center's 2008 Volunteer of the year award.
The honor recognizes "Aunt Mary," who single handedly eliminated a backlog of documents that needed shredding. Since then she has kept the "to be destroyed" paper stacks under control for several years, in two different buildings.
For a list of current needs, visit: http://www.cpd.usu.edu/volunteer.
URLEND trainee Doug Peterson takes in information delived by interactive video to the Center for Persons with Disabilities. A new grant allows URLEND to train more professionals on autism issues.
Center for Persons with Disabilities a partner in $1.5 million autism grants
Two grants totaling $1.5 million will provide better services to Utah's children with autism spectrum disorders. Over the next three years, the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University will partner with two other organizations to train professionals and future leaders in the autism field.
The two grants from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration will go to a program that trains professionals across many disciplines. The Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) program is administered by the University of Utah's Department of Pediatrics and the CPD, under the direction of Dr. Judith Holt. Its goal is to take a family-friendly, integrated and culturally sensitive approach to serving children with disabilities.
The federal administration's support will allow URLEND to add new trainees with experience or interest in serving the families of children with autism. In addition, the program will work with the Utah State Department of Health to implement activities identified in the statewide strategic plan for autism.
Dr. Thomas Higbee, who heads up the center's Autism Support Services: Education, Research and Training (ASSERT) program, will be on the faculty and work with the new trainees. ASSERT prepares children with autism to enter the school system, conducts research on the best early education methods for the children and serves as a model classroom for professionals.
The two HSRA grants add to the Center for Persons with Disabilities' authority in the autism field. In addition to housing the ASSERT program, the center's biomedical lab has worked to identify genes associated with the condition.
Autism spectrum disorder is the fastest-growing developmental disability in Utah. It usually manifests itself by age three, and is characterized by significant problems in getting along with others and communicating. Children with the disorder may have unusual behaviors and learning patterns.
The reported prevalence of ASD in Utah has risen twentyfold in twenty years, according to a 2007 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.