Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The 2020 Census is still on!

a mountain town
2020 has thrown us a few surprises, but the 2020 Census is still on. Be counted for your community!
Photo by Lukas Kloeppel from Pexels
This information is from the Disability Law Center and Options for Independence.

We support census activities because Utahns with disabilities matter! Be counted, complete your census survey early. It only happens every 10 years, and it has a powerful impact on our lives.

Why participate in the 2020 Census?

A complete and accurate census count is critical for you and your community. The results of the 2020 Census will affect:
·       Federal Funding used to provide daily services, products and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to resources like Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, CHIP, National School Lunch Program, Title I Grants, Special Ed Grants, Pell Grants, Federal Direct Student Loans and more. The amount each state receives is determined through census information.

Every person not counted in the Utah Census is a loss of $1,866 per year resulting in a loss of $18,660 per person over 10 years! 

·       State Government which determines the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and to draw congressional and state legislative districts. 

·       Local Governments as funding is disbursed to ensure public safety and plan new schools and hospitals. 

·       Businesses as decisions are made where to open new stores, factories, and offices, creating jobs for your community.

·       Nonprofits as census data is used to learn where and how to best serve their constituencies. 

When can I respond to the 2020 Census?

Invitations to respond to the 2020 Census will be delivered between March 12-20. Each household will receive one census with one person being designated as the head of the household. However, information for all residents of the home will be included. Once you receive that invitation, you can respond online, by phone, or by mail. If you do not respond to this invitation, a census taker will visit your household beginning in mid-May to complete the census in person. 

Is Responding Safe?

The Census Bureau is bound by law to keep your information confidential. Your private data is protected and your answers cannot be used against you. You are kept anonymous.
·      The law ensures that no identifiable information about you, your home, your business, or anyone else in your household may be given to law enforcement, government agencies or courts. 
·      The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics. 

What Questions will be on the Census?

·      How many people are living or staying at your home on April 1, 2020
·      Whether the home is owned or rented
·      Gender of each person in the household
·      Age of each person in the household
·      Race of each person living in the household
·      About whether a person in the household is of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin
·      Relationship of each person in the household to one central person

The Census Bureau will NEVER ask you for:

·      Your Social Security Number
·      Money or Donations
·      Anything on Behalf of a Political Party
·      Your Bank or Credit Card Account Numbers
·      Your Citizenship Status

Census Accessibility

·      Interpretation services are available as needed in 12 non-English languages with a dedicated phone number. TDD (844) 467-2020.
·      A support person may be used to help fill out the information if needed.

For more information go to or call (301) 763-4636 or (800) 923-8282. Deaf or hard of hearing can call the Federal Relay Service (800) 877-8339. You may also call us, The Disability Law Center at: 800-662-9080.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How COVID-19 affects UATP services

photo of virus
photo courtesy of the CDC on Unsplash
The Utah Assistive Technology Program's financing (assistive technology loans, small business loans and small grants) will continue! This service is available to Utahns with disabilities, statewide. To find out more, visit our website or call 800-524-5152.

Our Logan and Uintah Basin locations will continue operating on a limited basis, by appointment only. For more information contact Cameron Cressall in the Uintah Basin and Dan O'Crowley in Logan.

Our Salt Lake City location is currently not accepting new clients or donations. For more information, Contact Tom Boman.

These changes to our operations will continue until further notice.

For latest updates, check this blog, UATP's Facebook page, or our Twitter feed.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Event highlights issues facing immigrant families

Sachin Pavithran, CPD policy director and UATP director,
spoke to participants about immigrants, disability and
how communities should approach them.

People with disabilities face additional barriers to citizenship

 By Diego Mendiola

 On Thursday at Mount Logan Middle School, community members and refugees gathered to learn about the challenges that are faced for those that are attempting to naturalize in the US, and the difficulties faced while reaching out to immigrant families with members with disabilities.

Immigrant families face increasing hurdles to become naturalized, refugees are denied access to the United States, and insensitivity of cultural differences prevent access to opportunities for those with disabilities.

 “If you feel like, ‘Wow the system is totally broken and I don’t understand anything,’ It’s probably a good thing,” said U.S. immigrantion lawyer Chad Pemberton in his opening remarks about the immigration process. “You’re probably right.”

 The event was held in partnership between the Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection and the Center for persons with Disabilities at Utah State University.

Although Pemberton said he would try to be as neutral as possible about his presentation, he was open about his bias toward immigrant families. “By nature, the subject of immigration is political.” 

Pemberton said the way immigration issues are portrayed in the media is not helpful for American’s perception of outsiders. He said the media makes it seem that “if you are not a citizen, that means you didn’t try or you don’t care, that you recklessly want to break the law.”

According to Pemberton, the wait time for a person petitioning for a relative to become a permanent resident can take 20 to 25 years to process an application. The government is currently processing applications from 1998.

 “As you can see, the wait times are insane, and they’re only getting worse” he said. “So when people say, ‘why don’t they do it the right way,’ they don’t realize what’s really happening, how backlogged everything is.”

Unless prospective immigrants have relatives who are citizens or they are considered refugees by the United Nations, many people around the world simply have no options to move into the United States in a legal manner. Taking these issues, Sachin Pavithran invited the audience to experience immigration through the perspective of a person with disabilities.

Pavithran is the Utah Assistive Technology Program director and the policy director at the CPD. 

He emphasized the value of interdependence in immigrant families and communities. Sometimes they might perceive independence from the family as a threat to the family unit. “A lot of folks will really push individuals to become independent from their family.” He advised against this tactic. “If you try to push the family away, the person with disabilities will also be gone. Value the importance of interdependence. It’s how many family units work.”

 Furthermore, there is a lack of trust, he said. “Working with government agencies is not the easiest” for immigrant families. Although programs like the Utah Assistive Technology Program do not share personally identifying information, many immigrant-status families do not trust these services. 

Pemberton said policies have made a lot of immigrants fearful of receiving government services. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, “Since the 1800s, Congress has put into statute that aliens are inadmissible to the United States if they are unable to care for themselves without becoming public charges.”

 On Aug. 14, 2019, the latest rule change was added. It extended the definitions for who can be considered a public charge, and what services qualify a person to be considered a public charge. Those who use those services may be disqualified from renewing their status within the United States.

That rule, according to Pemberton, does not apply to those who are already permanent residents.

 Find out more on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Three videos on hearing technology now available

UATP's YouTube channel now has three new videos to help Utahns better understand hearing technology: specifically how they compare to/work with hearing aids, what situations they are most helpful in, and how Utahns can try them out and find ways to finance them (more on that below).

They focus on the PockeTalker:

The Contego:

...and neck loops of various types.

For help with financing, visit UATP's financing page. Many of UATP's reduced-interest loans are for hearing aids, and loans and small grants can also help with the purchase of other hearing technology.

UATP has a PockeTalker available for demonstration and loan at the Logan and Uintah Basin locations. For more information in Logan, contact Dan O'Crowley. For more information in the Uintah Basin, contact Cameron Cressall.

The videos were made with the help of the Division of Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. They also have lending libraries in these two locations:

The Sanderson Community Center
5709 South 1500 West
Taylorsville, UT 84123

Southern Utah Program
1067 E. Tabernacle, Suite 10
St. George, UT 84770

They also have hard of hearing assistants in these counties:

San Juan & Moab
Jamy Bailey  928-369-6952 

Daggett, Duchesne and Uintah
Francy Davis 435-790-1956

Box Elder, Cache and Weber 
Virginia Parker 435-730-5723

Utah County
Andrina Fuller 435-260-9961

Thursday, February 6, 2020

UATP volunteer makes affordable therapeutic trikes a reality

UATP is poised to offer custom-built trikes from the Logan and Uintah Basin locations to Utah families who need them.

UATP thanks the JR Stokes Foundation for supporting the development of this project.

action photo
Crew tries out his bike with UATP Logan coordinator
Dan O'Crowley (behind) and volunteer Mike Stokes (right).
Biking is Crew’s favorite part of physical therapy. “He loves it,” said his mother, Melissa. “For him, it’s playtime.”

But a standard bike—even one with training wheels—wasn’t appropriate for him. Bikes with training wheels teeter, and six-year-old Crew needs more stability. When he rode a bike in therapy sessions, it was on a specialized piece of therapy equipment. 

Melissa looked into getting him one of his own, but sticker shock set in.

“They’re so expensive. That’s not in our budget,” she said.

“For kids that really need support, I don’t know of a trike that costs less than $3000, by the time you get all the parts,” said Shaun Dahle, a physical therapist in Cache County. It’s discouraging for families to spend so much on equipment a child will outgrow all too soon.

He approached Utah Assistive Technology Program volunteer Mike Stokes with the problem more than a year and a half ago. “Shaun mentioned that he’d love to have a less expensive trike made out of PVC. He asked if we thought it was possible,” Stokes said.

“The real drive for me was to create a product that was available to families at a lower cost,” said Dahle. “There are a lot of other costs that these families already have.”

a boy grins from a green PVC bike
Graham tries out a bike that will help him
learn to walk and crawl.
The therapeutic benefits of cycling are significant. It teaches reciprocal movement, Dahle said, which can help children learn to crawl and walk. For some, biking is the only way they can get exercise, and it bothered Dahle that biking activities were limited to physical therapy sessions. “How much more would a child thrive if they could do it at home?” 

Stokes took the project on, working at the UATP lab and in his own garage. “One of the major goals that we set out to do was, we wanted it to be able to be assembled by anyone in the world.” After several months and many prototypes, he settled on a furniture-grade PVC design that UATP can build for $350 ($325 if the bike is black or white).

When the design was final, Stokes and UATP staff made the first two PVC trikes, and they are now with families in Northern Utah. One of them was Crew’s.

“It was amazing to find this,” Melissa said. “I’ve been so excited about it, and he’s been so excited.” Now he can ride bikes with his sister and friends.

“How is it, Crew?” she asked.

His speech is limited, but he gave it two thumbs up. 

Brandy White, who is from Cache County, is looking forward to the difference the bike will make for her son, Graham. “It’s going to help train his brain on muscle memory, how to work his muscles and how to use them,” she said.

She expects the equipment will help the two-and-a-half-year-old boy learn to walk and crawl. “He loves riding his bike,” she said.

Does your family's tot (50 lbs and under) need a therapeutic trike? UATP is now ready to build more of them for other families who need them. They are offered for the cost of materials ($325 for white or black, $350 for color). The time to build them is provided by UATP staff, volunteers and students at no cost. For more information, contact Dan O’Crowley in Logan and Cameron Cressall in the Uintah Basin.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Winter’s here! Let's prevent the fall.

trees covered in snow
We hear it again and again—snow and ice complicate the lives of people with limited mobility. If you worry about falling in Utah, here are options to help.

In the home

If you need ideas for creating a safe environment, consider visiting the Smart Apartment in the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Clinical Excellence on Utah State University’s Logan campus. This space features high- and low-tech solutions that can work together, but that do not require a remodel or rewiring of the home.

adjustable shower head
Items in the Smart Apartment that could help with fall prevention include a roll-in shower with a shower chair, a shower head that can be fixed and adjusted for height, grab bars, a lift chair and pull-down shelving. A complete list of smart apartment items on display is available on the Utah Assistive Technology Program website. For a tour, contact Dan O’Crowley.

Dan can also show you the MyNotifi device, available in our demonstration and loan library. This wearable technology detects falls and recommends exercises that help prevent falling.

Other resources in Utah include the state’s independent living centers, which are non-residential programs that offer services to people with disabilities. To find the one nearest you, visit their network website.

Need help affording an assistive device? 

UATP offers small grants up to $400 to people at 150 percent of the US poverty guidelines and below. We also offer reduced-interest loans without income restrictions for the purchase of AT. More information is on our website.

Home modifications

Sometimes a more permanent change is needed to make a home safer. UATP has aided in the purchase of outdoor stair rails and has financed many other home modifications. More information is on our website.

Neighborhood Housing Solutions also offers financing options to help with modifications to homes in Cache, Box Elder and Rich counties. Options vary by location and the type of modification. Find out more on their website.

We transferred a power chair to Sandy Johnson from our
Salt Lake City location. Now she volunteers there to help
with the refurbishing of chairs for other UATP clients.

Mobility aids

Our demonstration and loan libraries in Logan and the Uintah Basin have a variety of canes, crutches, wheelchairs and scooters. These can be demonstrated or loaned for a short-term need. 

In addition, UATP has an inventory of donated wheelchairs and scooters that can be refurbished and transferred to people who need them. Fees may apply, but they are nearly always lower than an insurance deductible. This service is offered in our Salt Lake City, Logan and Uintah Basin locations.

Know of other options in Utah? Leave us a comment. 

Be safe and stay warm!