Apple app is a screen reader for on the go!

Capti Narrator is a new app from Apple that is great for people with low-vision or blindness who consume digital content.

Capti allows you to listen to everything you want to read on the go and at your leisure. You can listen to any content from the Web, GoogleDrive, or Dropbox. 

The app is free, and requires iOS 7.1 or later. Watch the video to see it in action!



Disability Law Center's 2014 Public Hearing

The Utah Disability Law Center wants to hear from you on how to make services even better.

The DLC invites you to share your thoughts about the Disability Law Center's services, legal issues impacting the disability community and what you think the DLC should be doing about them. Your comments will help the center prioritize and improve services. They will also be shared with staff, Board of Trustees, and federal funders.

Because space is limited, you're encourage to sign up ahead of time. You will have up to five minutes to provide comments. If you are unable to attend in person, you may submit your comments in writing.

Public Hearing Location:
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 from 5:30 to 7:30pm.
Community Legal Center
205 N. 400 W., Salt Lake City, UT 84103

To submit your comments in writing, c/o "Public Hearing," via:

  • Mail: Disability Law Center, 205 N. 400 W., Salt Lake City, UT 84103
  • Fax: (801) 363-1437
  • Email: hearing@disabilitylawcenter.org

To reserve time or request an accommodation to participate, please contact Chris Serrano at 1-800-662-9080 or
cserrano@disabilitylawcenter.org. All requests for accommodations, including ASL or Spanish language interpreters, must be made by Thursday, July 31, 2014.

Possibilities: Smart Homes for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

By Erin Hough
Disability Law Center

In my last post, I wrote about my observations that even though assistive technology (AT) has a huge potential to help people be more independent, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are rarely using it. 

Erin Hough, advocate at the
Disability Law Center
I was feeling a bit discouraged by the trends. Luckily, I recently received a dose of inspiration in South Dakota. At the “Creating Possibilities: Where the Rubber Meets the Road” conference, I discovered many new and innovative ways professionals around the country are using AT with this population. 

Although there were many interesting topics and presentations, I found the most relevant speaker to be Greg Wellems. Mr. Wellems is the Chief Operating Officer of Imagine!, a service provider for I/DD in Colorado. Having worked in the field for twenty five years, he understands the system and the needs of this population well. 

A few years ago, Mr. Wellems oversaw a project which involved the construction of two Smart Homes. 

As described on Imagine’s website, “A Smart Home is a home that incorporates cutting edge technologies to improve the quality and efficiency of services and supports for people with disabilities.” 

They include things like web based communication and video conferencing tools, adjustable counters and workspaces, task prompters, and building sensors. Each home is customized to the needs of the individuals living in it.

U. of Colorado has developed a
Smart Home for people with I/DD.
According to a study conducted by student researchers at the University of Colorado, Denver, residents reported feeling a much greater sense of control over their lives one year after moving into a Smart Home. They also reported feeling safer and more respected by others. They had more personal relationships and were better able to access the resources they needed. In fact, they were doing so well that staff support was able to be reduced.

Interestingly, Mr. Wellems did not suggest building more Smart Homes. Instead he talked about how specific pieces of technology could be used to achieve similar outcomes in already existing homes and facilities. He believes this approach could actually be more cost effective for service delivery systems. 

He suggested AT become a core part of the person centered planning process, and he shared some tools to help providers and state agencies begin thinking through how to make this a reality.

It seems to me that if we want to see people benefitting from all that AT has to offer, then AT needs to become an integral part of our systems that serve people with disabilities. This is what Mr. Wellems is advocating. I’m excited to see what he comes up with next! 

Learn more about Colorado's Smart Home's.

Fourteen breaks a record at CReATE

Fourteen was the magic number for June at CReATE (Citizen's Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment).

That was a record breaking number for June - it was how many wheelchairs the UATP non-profit got to individuals with disabilities in Utah. We want to do even more in July!
CReATE wheelchair recipient, Skylar.

But we need your help in spreading the word about CReATE. We have manual and power wheelchairs, as well as scooters available to Utahns with disabilities. No insurance required, and devices range from $100 to $500. 

Check out the latest inventory here. Have a device to donate? Call 801-887-9398 to schedule a drop-off. 

Thank you for your continued support of CReATE!

Rapid Transit Wheelchair Race this Saturday!

The Rapid Transit Wheelchair Race is June 28th.
Proceeds from the event benefit various local disability organizations.

Bacon Bits: Growing Up Fisher - How the Media sees the Blind!

By Everette Bacon

There has been quite a buzz in the blind community about a new sitcom that recently aired on NBC called Growing up Fisher

Growing Up Fisher family picture.
This show is about a blind lawyer named Mel Fisher and his family and the challenges the family faces when parents separate. The show is loosely based from the life of the show’s creator, D.J. Nash. 

After viewing the first 9 episodes, I have come to my own conclusion that the media still has a long way to go in properly portraying blindness to the public.

Breaking down the pilot episode, I was truly excited after viewing the first scene. Yes, I said the word “viewing” even though I am functionally blind and only have light perception. 

I “watch” television and movies audibly using technology called Descriptive Audio. This means during the scenes where actors do not have dialogue, a narrator comes on and describes the scene to me. They might describe what the characters look like or how they are dressed. 

The narrator also might point out some key objects that are sure to affect the characters and the entire scene. During this first scene, Mel and his son Henry are walking in the backyard. Mel is clearly holding on to Henry as the boy guides his blind father to a large tree. Mel is holding a chainsaw in his other hand. 

Mel says to his son, “Tell me how high the tree is and which direction the back of the house is."

His son says with trepidation, “Really tall and behind your left shoulder.” Mel tells his son that this is now a danger zone and that the boy should run into the house. The boy protests, but Mel fires up the chainsaw and the boy runs into the house. The next scene shows Mel making a precise diagonal cut of the tree and as he yells, “Timber!” The camera shows his wife smiling with adoration at her husband’s independence.

Now, if the show could have ended right at this point, I would have jumped for joy and proudly state that blind people really have come a long way in the eyes of the media! But as the rest of the show progresses, we learn that Mel is some kind of super human, who has been able to hide the fact that he is blind for most of his life except to his family and very close friends. 

The show states that he was able to make it through law school without anyone learning of his blindness, and that he and his brother, who is also an attorney, are able to hide Mel’s disability from their firm’s clients. Mel is also able to get around without a cane and that a guide dog is the answer to any of his travelling problems.

I could go on and on about the perpetual stereotypes of blindness the sitcom demonstrates, but I will spare you with any more details. My reasoning for this is because thankfully, the show has been cancelled due to poor ratings.

I think that last statement says it all. Maybe one day the media will see blind people for who they really are: just ordinary people with a characteristic of blindness and nothing more. Maybe…. 

Bacon Bits is a recurring post by Everette Bacon, president of the Utah National Federation of the Blind, supervisor of technology and employment at the Utah Division of Services for the Blind, and friend of UATP. You can follow Everette on Twitter @baconev. 

Utah toddler gets Go Baby Go car with UATF grant