The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University

DSL collaboration with USU students

The Developmental Skills Laboratory (DSL) at the CPD provides many opportunities for USU students to meet youth and adults with disabilities and hone the skills and techniques they are learning in their classes. For some of them, this may be the first time that they are around people with disabilities and they have a chance to find out what unique and fun individuals they are.

Each semester, practicum students from different departments at USU become part of the team of specialists that work with the adults with disabilities in the DSL day program on various skills. Once a week, DSL participants receive Music Therapy from a faculty member and various student interns in the music department. This is one of the group activities that the DSL participants enjoy the most!

Twice a week, speech/language therapists from the Communicative Disorders department come and work on individual and group speech therapy activities, bringing with them speech/language practicum students to help out. The USU Vocational Rehabilitation Department works closely with DSL, providing intern job coaches who come and meet the participants, learn about their skills and the goals they are working on, and potentially match them with job opportunities in the community.

Another CPD program, the Interdisciplinary Disability Awareness and Service Learning (IDASL) class, uses DSL as one of their Learning sites that their students are required to attend throughout the course. The IDASL class provides opportunities for USU students from a variety of disciplines to become more aware of the needs of people with disabilities and gain the knowledge and skills to be part of an interdisciplinary team once they are out in the workplace.

The Val R. Christensen Service Center at USU also collaborates with the DSL program each year and sends several student volunteers to work directly with DSL participants on art, recreational, and life skill activities. The Service Center is a student-run, volunteer organization that prepares students to make lifelong contributions through service.

Altogether, this is a win-win situation for both DSL and USU.