Refurbishing a wheelchair for Dillon

One of the joys of working at the Utah Assistive Technology Lab is getting to know clients like Cache Valley 9-year-old Dillon Lundahl. 

The AT Lab has been working with Dillon since he was six, building and modifying a variety of devices for him to use in play, therapy and everyday life.

Six-year-old Dillon using a stand during therapy built at the AT lab.
While Dillon's development is normal for his age, he struggles with mobility and balance. One such device the Lab came up with was a stand Dillon could use during physical therapy to play the Wii Fit. 

This month, Clay refurbished Dillon's power wheelchair and fabricated a basket to attach to the chair so Dillon can carry his school stuff with ease.

Dillon's refurbished power wheelchair complete with awesome Dillon racing sticker.

Clay said, "It is fun to be part of Dillon's life - we get to know people in the community, and we just feel lucky we are the ones getting them the assistive technology they need to continue to live independently."

Cache Valley Volunteer of the Month: Congrats Victor Jewkes

Volunteering at the AT Lab can be an adventure, and to recognize the many hours of hands-on help Victor Jewkes of MedSource has given to the lab, we nominated him for the Cache Valley Volunteer of the Month for January.

The award, given by the Cache Valley Volunteer Center, was presented to Victor today at the Pioneer Valley Lodge. 
He has been a consistent and conscientious volunteer at the Utah Assistive Technology Lab. Using his professional expertise, Victor spends much of his own time fixing and refurbishing assistive technology for residents of Cache Valley. 
Left, Clay Christensen, AT Lab Coordinator; middle, Victor Jewkes of MedSource; right, Cameron Cressall, AT Lab assistant.
Left, Clay Christensen, AT Lab Coordinator;
middle, Victor Jewkes of MedSource;
right, Cameron Cressall, AT Lab assistant.
From mobility equipment to ramps and lifts, Victor goes the extra mile to make sure people with disabilities have the working AT they need, regardless of their ability to afford it. His can-do attitude and a love of serving others makes Victor a great advocate of the AT Lab and people with disabilities.

Victor said, "This means more than you know. I appreciate the honor, and want to recognize the AT Lab for all that it does for people with disabilities."

UATF grant helps 4-year-old get some wheels

Four-year-old Emma received a grant from the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation so she could get a power wheel car to give her mobility. The Utah Center for Assistive Technology provided the adaptations to the car. 

By Rebecca Bell
Utah parent of child with special needs

The world of special needs parenting can be a magical one..... 

A couple of weeks ago we took a trip to Salt Lake City to the Utah Center for Assistive Technology (UCAT). What an amazing and humbling experience it was. At UCAT they adapt every day items for people with disabilities. 

Emma test driving her new wheels.
Emma test driving her new wheels.
UCAT's Ed Whiting chatting with Emma.
UCAT's Ed Whiting chatting with Emma.
For Emma's 4th birthday, they gave her an adorable VW Beetle power wheels car. It has been adapted with a full support seat and 5 point harness. They re-wired it so that she just has to push a big button on the steering wheel rather than foot pedals. 

It was incredible to watch them work on a toy for four hours at no cost to us [UCAT provides labor for Go Baby Go cars free of charge, and the UATF grant covers the cost of the car]. I seriously had a lump in my throat through most of the visit, and when it was time for her to try it out I could hardly contain myself. 
The UCAT team working on adapting the car.
The UCAT team working on adapting the car.

Play is so important and Emma doesn't have many things that she is able to play with independently. She is absolutely in LOVE with this little car. Thank you for making our little girl's year. You are with out a doubt, all in the right profession.  


Go Baby Go!
Go Baby Go!

Upcoming training: Serving People with Disabilities of Various Cultures

The Center for Persons with Disabilities will be presenting a free training in Provo Jan. 21st.

The focus is Serving People with Disabilities of Various Cultures. Everyone is welcome!

Person in wheelchair breaking chains on wrist.











Topics will include:

  • Assumptions, Stereotypes and Generalizations
  • Culture and Cultural Competency
  • Communicating with People who have Various Types of Disabilities
  • Service Animals and Other Accommodations
  • Effects of Violence and Trauma on Disability
  • Response to Victims with Disabilities 

Presented in partnership with USU, UCASA, UDVC, the Sanderson Center and Human Capabilities.

Provo, January 21st, 9:00 a.m. to noon, County Administration Building 100 East Center, Rm. L700.

Please RSVP to Lynelle at lynelle.chenn@usu.edu or 435-797-8807.  

UATF helps restore hearing

By Storee Powell

Pat Markowski said she has been married for a lot of years, but began having communication problems with her husband as she lost her hearing.

"I wasn't hearing him. And I wasn't enjoying TV," Markowski said. "If I turned it up, I was blasting my husband out." 
"You bet hearing is something  we take for granted," Markowski said.
"You bet hearing is something
we take for granted," Markowski said.


But now Makowski is enjoying life again and communicating with her husband because of her new hearing aids she was able to purchase with a low--interest loan from the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation.

"They help me immensely, and my hearing aids have made my life a lot easier," she said.

UATF is a non-profit initiative of the Utah Assistive Technology Program providing alternative finance options to Utahns with disabilities to purchase assistive technology devices like hearing aids, adapted vans, communication devices.

"The loan process was so easy," she said. "It surprised me how reasonable it was."

Markowski had checked on getting a loan through a bank and a credit union, and said the rates were not affordable for her.

"I'm very thankful for the loan. The cost was my first concern - I wouldn't have been able to get the hearing aids without it."

Insurance does not pay for hearing aids, so most people end up paying for them out of pocket. 

"I never realized how bad off I was until I got these," Markowski said.

Learn more about UATF, and find loan applications online at www.uatf.org

Taxi access for people with disabilities

A note from James Weisman, general counsel of the United Spinal Association.

Taxi access for people with disabilities has become a cutting edge advocacy issue.

Dispatch apps, sometimes called TNC's (Transportation Network Companies) need to provide services to people with disabilities and must be held accountable when they do not. Using AbleRoad to rate car services and dispatch apps can help us to accomplish this.

AbleRoad app image
AbleRoad is a website and mobile app that allows wheelchair users to rate and share car services and dispatch apps.

We have three goals:

  1. To assist others with disabilities who need to travel.
  2. To hold taxi companies, and car services accountable.
  3. Most importantly, to have a measurable evaluation of the largely unregulated dispatch app companies, which include, among other companies, Uber and Lyft.

Here's how:
Go to AbleRoad.com and type in the name of the car service or dispatch app and your location. Since AbleRoad uses the Yelp platform, if it is listed on Yelp, it will appear on AbleRoad and you can write a review and tell fellow travelers with disabilities about the quality of the service and/or accessibility of the vehicle.

If a car service is not listed on Yelp, you can add the business to Yelp using www.yelp.com/writeareview/newbiz and then add a review. It will appear on AbleRoad.

To download the AbleRoad app on an iPhone go to the App Store and search for AbleRoad; to download on Android go to play.google.com and search for AbleRoad.

Let's work together to make it happen. Thank you for participating.

Job opening at CReATE in Salt Lake

Position: CReATE Assistant, Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment (CReATE)

Open until Dec. 19th. To apply to this job, go to USU's Career Aggie website, and after making a profile, look for job ID #60678 - CReATE assistant.

CReATE facility in Salt Lake.

Job Description: This is a part-time, non-benefited position. CReATE is a growing, non-profit organization operated through the Utah Assistive Technology Program at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. The CReATE Assistant will possess good office management and customer service skills, as well as basic mechanical skills to refurbish, clean and scrap materials in the warehouse.  

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Answer phone calls, emails, and other correspondence and provide timely and accurate responses.  Complete daily paperwork and data entry to various databases and spreadsheets.  
  • Work well in a team environment.  Interact positively and professionally with everyone.
  • Under direction from CReATE coordinator and UATP PR/Marketing specialist, actively participate and promote public relations and marketing initiatives including: 
    • Social media websites, blogs, bulletins, websites, etc.
    • External and internal events (fairs, expos, open houses, etc.) 
    • Coordinate and perform in-services, webcasts, on-site demonstrations, open houses, etc.
    • Assist and coordinate with volunteers.
    • Refer callers to appropriate agencies, non-profits and vendors, if we cannot meet their needs. 
  • Clean, sanitize, and refurbish used mobility devices. Scrap/recycle devices, organize and store usable parts. Transport scrapped/recyclable materials to a recycling center.
  • Deliver and pick up donated devices in various locations between Ogden and Provo.  
  • Provide suggestions and feedback to help ensure continuous improvement.  
  • Maintain, clean, and organize all areas of work environment.
  • Work with clients to help secure funding for specific devices.  
  • Other duties as assigned.

Supervision: Supervised by the Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP) at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.  Person will report directly to the CReATE Program Coordinator.

Location: Job is located in a warehouse at the Judy Buffmire building: 1595 West 500 South, Salt Lake City.

Requirements:
1. Strong PC skills, ability to operate basic office equipment.  Experience with data entry, database maintenance/management and inventory spread sheets.  Basic familiarity with social media strongly preferred. Public relations and marketing experience a plus.   
2. Excellent written and verbal communication skills.  Ability to fluently read, write and converse in the English language. Spanish language skills are a plus. Ability to follow directions and procedures.
3. Strong customer service experience and ability to positively interact with outside agencies, vendors, and clients in a friendly and professional manner.  
4. Self-initiative with a strong skill set for working with little or no supervision to meet/exceed deadlines.  
5. Experience working with people with disabilities and mobility equipment strongly preferred. 
6. Basic knowledge of power and hand tools.  Knowledge of electronics a plus.
7. Detail-oriented with ability to organize both hard copy and electronics files, wheelchair parts, and tools.  
8. Ability to lift heavy equipment (up to 50 pounds), climb a ladder and stand for up to 4-8 hours per day.
9. Possess a current valid Utah driver’s license. Must be able to complete driver’s training and certification to drive both state (USOR) and Utah State University vehicles.
10. Ability to drive a full-size van and/or pickup truck. Ability to maneuver a utility trailer a plus.