Making a difference

This post originally appeared in the Red Rock Center for Independence spring 2014 newsletter. Learn more about the Center at

'In January, a mom contacted the Red Rock Center in hopes of being able to borrow a wheelchair for her son. The wheelchairs that her son was using had completely fallen apart and he was unable to go to school school on the bus because his wheelchair was unsafe. The little boy needed a pediatric size chair with a 5 point harness. Unfortunately, at 
the time, RRCI didn’t have this specialized wheelchair in the loan bank. 

The family has been approved by Shriner’s Hospital for a new chair. However, they were months away from receiving the equipment. He really needed a loaner chair until he could get his new chair built. 

A post was made on the Red Rock Center’s Facebook page for help. “We need a little help today!” and went on to describe the desperate situation of this family. The post was viewed by the Facebook community and passed on to Clay Christensen, AT lab coordinator and Alma Burgess, program coordinator for Citizens Re-utilizing Assistive Technology Equipment (CReATE) at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. 

Tom Boman, CReATE’s wheelchair technician contacted Red Rock Center’s assistive technology specialist Mike Earl, who explained exactly what was needed. Because CReATE maintains such a large inventory of refurbished mobility equipment, Boman was able to quickly locate a suitable loaner for this little guy! 

Within 24 hours of the original Facebook post, a wheelchair had been found and arrangements had  been made to deliver it to the family in St. George. One of the best things about the people in the state of Utah is that when there is a need, there is NOTHING that can’t be done!' 

People-first chapter to start in Cache Valley

Options for Independence and GAP are starting a People-First Chapter in Cache Valley for people with developmental disabilities. The program advocates for people-first to help them increase their independence. The kick-off is tonight!

Adapted drive controls make driving possible for Utah woman

Driving is part of many people's everyday lives, and is part of what makes us independent. 

This need was no different for Monique, 30, who has Epidermolysis Bullosa, meaning her fingers are fused.

Monique received a small grant from the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation to purchase an adapted driving control device for her car. The spinner knob was put on the car by the Utah Center for Assistive Technology

Watch the video to see how it is working for Monique!

Free online webinar: Eligibility requirements for getting assistive technology

The Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP) will present a FREE online interactive training, “Eligibility requirements for getting assistive technology,” on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. MST.

This free training will be presented by Disability Law Center attorneys Rob Denton and LauraLee Gillespie. They will explain eligibility requirements and processes for getting assistive technology in the world of Medicaid, Medicare, Private Insurance, Vocational Rehabilitation and Special Education. This webinar will help you understand what is required to qualify for assistive technology services and common legal issues the Disability Law Center has addressed concerning assistive technology. 

Rob Denton is a Senior Attorney at the Disability Law Center. Denton has practiced in various issue areas during his twenty-six years at the Disability Law Center, including access to various assistive devices through Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance, special education and vocational rehabilitation services. Denton must love working at the Disability Law Center since he has been there since 1988.  

LauraLee Gillespie, an attorney at the Disability Law Center, focuses her practice in special education and Vocational Rehabilitation disputes. As a former public educator, she brings a unique understanding to her work with the Utah Department of Education. Gillespie received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Weber State University in 1996. While teaching, she received her paralegal certificate at the University of Washington. A 2011 S. J. Quinney College of Law graduate and a 2012 Utah State Bar Licenses attorney, Gillespie loves the work she has been involved in at the Disability Law Center since 2009.

In order to participate, you will need a computer with high-speed Internet access. If you are interested in participating please RSVP by Tuesday, April 15th, to Storee Powell via email, or call 435-797-7412. Participant instructions will be emailed to you.

If you are a screen reader user please contact Sachin Pavithran at 435-797-6572 or, no later than Friday, April 11th, to make arrangements to participate via phone. If you need any other accommodations in order to participate in the training please let Sachin know by this date also.

Please feel free to pass on this information to anyone that you think might be interested.

March Madness at CReATE

March was really Madness at CReATE - 13 Utahns with disabilities received refurbished wheelchairs and scooters from the non-profit. CReATE also had 55 devices donated in the month of March - so check out our ever-expanding inventory. Here a some of CReATE's March wheelchair recipients who are now moving along!

Light the Fire at the National Federation of the Blind of Utah Convention

MAY 8-10, 2014


Special Guests Include
Greg DeWall, 2012 Bronze Paralympic Medalist in Judo 

Stacy Cervenka, former Aide to Senator Brownback of Kansas;
 current aid to members of the California State Legislature 

Scott LaBarre, member of the National Board of Directors; President, NFB of Colorado; 
Attorney with LaBarre Law firm in Colorado 

Other Features Include
Improv night with the NFB of Utah Players
 Sports Fashion Show
Exciting Auction
HUGE Door Prizes! 

Register at OR
Call our Hotline at 801-INFO-NFB (463-6632)

Use the Marriott Hotel link below
Book your group rate: National Federation of the Blind Early Booking Special >>
OR Call Marriott Hotel at 1 888 236 2427 


She got one - why didn't I? Understanding Vocational Rehabiliation logic when it comes to funding AT

REVISED: 3/21/14

By Erin Hough
Disability Law Center of Utah

Does the assistive technology you're
asking for relate to an employment goal?
The mission of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is to assist and empower eligible individuals with disabilities to gain and maintain employment. If you are found eligible for services you will be assigned a counselor whom you will work with to determine what services are necessary for you to get a job and keep it. One of these services may be an assistive technology (AT) device or service.

You and your counselor will work together to determine if you need the device to succeed at work. Not at daily living, not at recreation, at work. Come prepared to discuss this need with your counselor. 

Sometimes VR will cover a device in one case and not in another. This may seem inconsistent and unfair, but what they're really doing is looking at whether the device is necessary in that individual situation, to assist that individual with “preparing, securing, retaining, or regaining an employment outcome.”  

Everyone’s going to need something different to reach their employment goal. Here are some examples:

Covered (most likely): 

  • An IntelliPen to help someone with a learning disability to keep track of what was said in meetings or trainings at work.
  • Adaptive software for someone to access specific digital material at work.
  • A netbook and screen reader for someone who is blind to be able to do work related tasks such as taking notes and accessing emails and calendars.
  • An iPad for someone with an intellectual or developmental disability to be able to communicate work preferences and develop work-related skills.

Not Covered (most likely):

  • An IntelliPen for convenience, because you're tired of carrying your laptop around.
  • Adaptive software for someone who does not yet have a job and does not need it for education or job searching.
  • A netbook and screen reader for someone who is blind to access books or newspapers for leisurely reading on the go.
  • An iPad for someone with an intellectual or developmental disability to be able to communicate with caretakers at home.

When seeking funding for assistive technology devices, VR is mandated to search for comparable benefits. This means that before funding an AT device or service, VR will work with other agencies, programs, and providers to meet in whole or in part the cost of the AT service. If no comparable benefits are readily available, VR may fund the service until a comparable benefit becomes available.  

Any AT device or service provided by VR is intended to help you get and keep a job. Here are some examples where VR may or may not see a clear connection to an employment goal. 

May or May Not be Covered:

  • Van modifications to be able to get to work… and everywhere else.
  • A shower seat so you can have good hygiene at work… and everywhere else.
  • Power standing wheelchair
  • Hearing aids so you can hear what’s going on at work… and everywhere else.
  • Dedicated communication device so you can communicate at work… and everywhere else.
  • A ramp installed at home so you can get to work… and everywhere else.

We hope this helps! These cases can be difficult, so feel free to call the Disability Law Center with questions 1-800-662-9080.