Save the Date: Roosevelt Open House

photo of Cameron Cressall
Cameron Cressall, AT Lab Coordinator
Join us as we celebrate the opening of the new AT Lab in Roosevelt on Wednesday, September 7 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room of Utah State University's Roosevelt campus. We will introduce our new director as well as services available from the AT Lab.

We are inviting other service providers to join us and set up a table at our open house.

If you provide services for people within the Uintah Basin in Utah and you are interested in setting up a booth, please email JoLynne at utahatp [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wheels for Daemon

photo of Daemon
Daemon in his new chair
Daemon Wabel had outgrown his wheelchair. “He’d had the same wheelchair since he was three, and he’d outgrown it,” said his mother, Stacey.

It was too narrow, and it was falling apart. But replacing it would mean paying a $4000 deductible, and that price was awfully steep.

So Stacey found an ad on KSL Classifieds that mentioned the CReATE program. Based in Salt Lake City, CReATE takes used mobility devices and refurbishes them, then transfers them back to people who need them at a low cost.

She contacted Tom Boman at CreATE. Tom asked for some measurements, then searched the inventory for a chair that would work. CREaTE doesn’t normally stock pediatric chairs, but they did find a smaller chair for Daemon. “It was like finding a needle in a haystack,” Stacey said.

That was just the first step. Boman needed to refurbish Daemon’s new chair, so he did some welding on the old one to help it hold together until the refurbished one was ready. “He’d gotten a lot of use out of that old chair,” Boman said.

Boman also modified the new chair so that it could accommodate Daemon as he grows.
When Daemon received his new chair, it was a joyous moment. He does not talk, but he still communicated.  “When we changed him out of his other chair, he screamed with delight,” Stacey said. “I’m not exaggerating. He was just bouncing around in there. … It was very obvious that he loved this chair.”

Boman said CReATE helps people—like Daemon—who have needs that cannot be met. Often, insurance programs only pay for a wheelchair every five years. Many chairs don’t last that long. 

Fortunately for CReATE, other chairs do outlast their owners’ need. Some of those are donated to CReATE, where they are refurbished and transferred to those who need them at a low cost. CReATE (Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment) is part of the Utah Assistive Technology Program within the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University.

To find out more, visit the CReATE web page.

Reeve foundation grant augments Uintah Basin AT Lab services

A little girl is fitted for assistive technology
The AT Lab in Roosevelt will offer services
similar to those out of the Logan AT Lab.
People with disabilities in the Uintah Basin will soon have more help meeting their goals for independence, thanks to a grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and the new Assistive Technology Lab at Utah State University in Roosevelt.

The lab and the $73,925 High Impact Innovative Assistive Technology grant from the foundation will open up new possibilities. People in the Uintah Basin will have expanded opportunities to obtain and learn about assistive technologies that could make a difference to people with mobility, communication, vision, hearing or other disabilities.

“We have a physical presence over there in the Uintah Basin now,” said Alma Burgess, the grant’s principal investigator.  “That allows us to do something similar to what the AT Lab does in Logan now.”

The funding will support the Roosevelt lab’s services. It will also enhance the device loan bank already operating there. The loan bank allows people to find out if a piece of assistive technology—which can sometimes be costly—will truly work for them before they make a purchase.

The Roosevelt AT Lab will also provide training on how to use assistive technology; build, modify and maintain devices; and work with people with disabilities. In addition, it will perform services similar to those already offered in the CReATE program in Salt Lake City, offering affordable refurbished devices to people who need them.

Uber and the Disability Law Center team up for better transit

Wheelchair accessible vehicles introduced in Utah

By Nate Crippes
Utah Disability Law Center

Technology is constantly improving.  This includes assistive technology, as I am sure many readers have seen.  At the Disability Law Center, we advocate for people with disabilities to get the assistive technology they need.  Rarely have we been able to advocate for the improvement of technology.  Over the last few months, however, we received such an opportunity. 

Here at the DLC, we are aware that people who use wheelchairs have little access to taxicabs and similar services.  As we were looking into options to try to force their hands at providing some access, we were put in touch with the folks at Uber.  We were aware that Uber has been operating their Uber Assist program, an option for Uber riders that is able to provide more assistance for people with disabilities, in Utah for quite some time.  While this program can help certain people in wheelchairs, it did not provide access to people who use power chairs. 

The DLC and Uber worked together to find vehicles, and drivers, that were equipped to provide riders to people who use power chairs.  After a few months and several meetings, we were able to get a vehicle provider on board to get Uber WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles) up and running. 

Last month, Andrew Riggle, DLC Public Policy Advocate, and Ms. Wheelchair Utah, Eliza McIntosh, took the inaugural Uber WAV ride to the Utah Center for Assistive Technology in Salt Lake City.  

In order to request a ride, once you have the Uber app, you just select “Access” on the vehicle icon slider and select WAV.   Unfortunately, vehicles may be limited at this time, until we get more providers and drivers on the app.  However, Uber is aware when rides are requested, and an increased demand will help us get more vehicles on the platform to ensure more access.  

Video: Accessing Services from the Utah Assistive Technology Program

Do you need an assistive technology device? Do you have a goal for independence and you need to figure out how to meet it? Do you already know of technology that could help you gain independence--or even income--but you don't know how to finance it?

This is for you!

This video offers a brief introduction to the Assistive Technology Lab, the CReATE reutilization program (at 19:09) and loans available through the Utah Assitive Technology Foundation (at 36:31).

Interdisciplinary disability program now available in the Uintah Basin

an IDASL student works on a wheelchair for client Gordon Richins
An IDASL student works on a wheelchair
for client Gordon Richins.
The IDASL program has trained students on addressing disability issues since 2001. Starting in Fall 2016, it will be an option for Utah State University students in the Uintah Basin.

The IDASL (Interdisciplinary Disability Awareness and Service Learning) class is a two-semester, one- to three-credit course available to juniors, seniors and graduate students of all disciplines. Its purpose is to help people from all academic fields work together to find solutions to disability-related issues. The number of credits available depends on the student’s level of involvement.

Cameron Cressall, an alumnus of the program who is now the Assistive Technology Lab coordinator in Roosevelt, took the class when he returned to school after years in construction work and furniture building.

“Of all the classes I’ve taken at USU, that one class had more impact, hands down, than any other,” he said. “It led me to what I do today.” It made his work experience in building relevant in his chosen field: Social work. (As the lab coordinator, Cressall helps people meet their goals for independence by using technology to move, eat or enjoy a favorite activity.)

His lab experience also provided him with a career option that felt right. “I’m building, creating, doing fun stuff and making people happy.  … It’s not hard to be passionate about my job.”
Cressall worked in the AT lab as part of the service learning the IDASL program requires of all its students. Now, the lab he leads will provide similar opportunities to students in a whole new part of the state. Other service learning options in the Uintah Basin are pending.

In addition to service learning experiences, the class requires its students to attend seminars and presentations where they learn about disability in a collaborative, solution-focused approach.
Stipends are available for long-term trainees. For more information, contact Alma Burgess, the project coordinator.

FREE Webinar: Addressing Reciprocative Conversational Deficits in People with Disabilities

photo of two young women communicating

Communications app training will especially benefit children and adults on the autism spectrum

A free webinar will address teaching communication skills. It takes place June 23 from 3 to 4 p.m. 

Many people make the false assumption that learners/candidates for augmentative and alternative communication have two-way, turn-taking conversational skills in place. Most times, this is not true. The learner must be explicitly guided through the conversational process.

For example, we assume everyone knows that asking someone, "How are you?" would result in the conversation partner replying, "Fine, thanks. How are you?" Most times, early or young AAC candidates do not reciprocate the conversational segment. 

Further, in the case of people with autism spectrum disorder, the learner is often not even aware that they must take a turn in the conversation. Often, false conversations between a person without disabilities and a person with disabilities devolves into a game of 20 questions in a one-way conversation. This is also the case for almost all AAC conversations.

photo of RJ Cooper
RJ Cooper
RJ Cooper, longtime developer of assistive technology and AAC, has developed an app that guides such persons through a conversation. At the conclusion of applied therapy, generalization might even be possible. RJ will be showing video, presenting research, and finally taking questions.

This webinar will be presented by RJ Cooper of RJ Cooper and Associates. 

In order to participate, you will need a computer with high speed internet access.


If you are interested in joining please RSVP by Tuesday, June 21 by contacting Lois Summers. Participant instructions will be emailed to you.

If you are a screen reader user, or need any other accommodations in order to participate in the training, please contact UATP Program Director Sachin Pavithran  no later than Tuesday, June 21 to make arrangements to participate via phone.

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