Friday, December 16, 2011

Plea from National Federation of the Blind to Congress

National Federation of the Blind Urges Swift Action on Recommendations for Accessible Higher Education Materials

Baltimore, Maryland (December 13, 2011): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) commented today on the recently released final report of the Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities. The commission was created by Congress following extensive advocacy by the NFB as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. The report sets forth specific recommendations to facilitate the production and distribution of accessible instructional materials—including printed and digital books, journals, course packs, articles, tests, videos, instructor-created materials, and Web pages, as well as any hardware, firmware, software, or other means of accessing such materials—to students who are blind or have other disabilities. The report focuses on making mainstream educational products accessible to the maximum extent possible, allowing students with and without disabilities to access the same materials at the same time and at the same price.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The blind and other students with disabilities have an equal right to participate in higher education. Access to textbooks and other instructional materials has historically presented the greatest barrier to a truly equal education for blind students. The transition from print to digital materials presents great challenges; but, if managed properly, it will mean that blind students and other students with disabilities will, for the first time, have equal access to educational content on the same terms as their non-disabled peers. This report presents recommendations that, if properly implemented, will help to ensure that this potential is realized.”

Mark Riccobono, executive director of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute and a member of the commission, said: “Ultimately the success of this report will depend on whether Congress acts to implement its recommendations, but the recommendations themselves are strong and will make a real difference to postsecondary students with disabilities if implemented. As the report notes, while there is some activity in the mainstream market to include accessibility in electronic textbooks and other products, it will take a combination of market incentives and government regulations in order to ensure that the blind and other students with disabilities are placed on equal footing with their peers. If the report’s recommendations are not acted upon, however, students with disabilities will be put at a greater disadvantage than ever before in terms of access to educational materials. We therefore urge Congress to act swiftly on the commission’s recommendations.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lab builds bolster swing for 5-year-old with epilepsy

Volunteer trip to CReATE a success

Several pizzas and donuts later last Thursday, a group of volunteers helped CReATE (Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment) earn $700 and a clean warehouse.

CReATE, a program of UATP, is located in Salt Lake City. The program helps Utahns by providing refurbished mobility devices at an affordable cost. The warehouse runs on donated devices from the community. Lately, an influx of donations had the warehouse overflowing.

A group of eight volunteers from the Center for Persons with Disabilities went to CReATE to help clear out unusable scooters and wheelchairs to be recycled, as well as take usable parts off otherwise obsolete devices. Such parts included batteries and wheels.

The work was dirty and greasy, but resulted in 6,000 pounds of devices being recycled, generating $700 dollars for CReATE. With a clean warehouse, CReATE technician, Zachary Thompson, can concentrate on refurbishing mobility devices for clients.

Also joining the group was CReATE client Larry O'Sullivan. The Australian native is a real estate agent in the Salt Lake area who uses a mobility device to get around after a double-leg amputation. O'Sullivan is an advocate for CReATE and amputees every in Utah.

Larry O'Sullivan, a CReATE client, joined the crew for
lunch and to discuss ideas on how to improve CReATE.

Daniel Roberts, AT Lab Assistant, takes
apart a power wheelchair to salvage parts.
How many guys does it take to
dismantle a scooter? Six apparently.

Utah State University students from the IDASL
(Interdisciplinary Disability Awareness and Service Learning )
class volunteered to help with recycling day.
The volunteer team after a day of
hard, dirty labor in the CReATE warehouse.
From left to right: Macedonio and Lupita Damian, IDASL students;
Clay Christensen, AT Lab coordinator; Mike Moreno, AT Lab assistant;
Alma Burgess, CReATE program coordinator; Daniel Roberts, AT Lab assistant;
Shane Johnson, CPD development officer; Zachary Thompson, CReATE technician.

New VGO-Robotic AT helps a child attend school

Friday, December 9, 2011

From the CPD: Enter to win a helmet, learn about TBI at the CV Mall

Watch for TBI specialist Ginger Payant at the Cache Valley Mall on Saturday.

This is the perfect time of the year to remind Cache Valley shoppers to purchase a helmet to go with the new bike they get their child (or themselves) for Christmas!

This Saturday, December 10, the Cache TBI Workgroup will host a public awareness event at the Cache Valley Mall between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.  A drawing will take place every hour to give away a free helmets.

There will also be information about Traumatic Brain Injury on hand for people to take home with them.  In 2008 there were over 400 Utahns who suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), most of which could have been prevented by wearing a proper helmet. In the same year almost 60% of motorcyclists, bicyclists, ATV, and OHVs riders who sustained a TBI were not wearing a helmet. Individuals with severe brain injuries accumulate thousands of dollars in expenses yearly, and face daunting obstacles in everyday life. These are daunting statistics that we are committed to change, and we hope that you will join us in this mission.

The Cache Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Workgroup, which partners with staff from the Center for Persons with Disabilities Traumatic Brain Injury Partnership Grant, is working hard to educate Cache Valley residents about Brain Injury.

Saturday’s event is made possible in part by the sponsors who have donated helmets. We appreciate the Bear River Health Department and these generous Cache Valley merchants:
  • Al’s Sporting Goods
  • Joyride Bikes
  • Sports Authority
  • Sunrise Cyclery
  • The Sportsman Mountain Store
  • Wal-Mart North and South
  • Wimmer’s Ultimate Bicycles

Monday, December 5, 2011

Free webinar: Federal Tax Provisions that Help Meet the Costs of Home and Community-based Care

Join the National Research and Training Center for Personal Assistance Services (PAS Center) on Friday, December 16, 2011, for a free webinar entitled Federal Tax Provisions that Help Meet the Costs of Home and Community-based Care.

Steve Mendelsohn from the Burton Blatt Institute will discuss the over half dozen federal income tax law provisions that can be used to help meet the costs of remaining in one's home and community as an alternative to nursing home. These include individual income tax deductions and credits, and taxing subsidized fringe benefits of employment. Learn about these provisions, about how and when they apply, and about whether any of them can be of benefit to you or your family.

The 60-minute webinar will begin at noon Mountain Time. There is no fee and no pre-registration for this webinar, which is open to everyone. An archive of this webinar will be available at a later date.

To join the Webinar on that date, please visit: http://www.tinyurl.com/PASElluminate.

It is recommended that you visit this link a few minutes beforehand, as the Webinar software (Elluminate) needs to be downloaded to your computer, which can take a few minutes.

First time user support is available at: http://www.elluminate.com/support/index.jsp.

The audio of the conference can also be accessed by phone at 1-800-625-5918, passcode 7023043. For more information about the Center on Personal Assistance Services webinars, visit: http://pascenter.org/webcast/index.php.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

UAID Holiday Gift Box Program

The Utah Association for Intellectual Disabilities (UAID) annual Holiday Gift Box program provides gifts to individuals with cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This program is a year long project resulting in holiday gifts for individuals with intellectual disabilities & low income. It brings joy to many who are otherwise overlooked during the holidays.

UAID accepts cash or pre-purchased items. Cash donations allow volunteers shoppers to take advantage of discounts and tax exempt status of UAID to multiply the value of donations.

To learn more and to donate, go to Holiday Gift Box program.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

UATF helps Ogden man start trucking company after amputation

By Storee Powell
OGDEN - A self-described rugged individualist wasn’t sure how he could continue to work after losing a leg as a result of artery-clearing surgery.

Sixty-four-year-old Gerald Larsen said work ethic is part of his lifestyle, especially from living in Alaska wilderness for 20 years on his own, minus his team of sled dogs.
Gerald Larsen with his semi-truck in Ogden.
“I started work when I was in grade school, and have been working ever since then,” Larsen said. “Work ethic completes who I am, but since my leg was amputated I have had to accept I can’t work like I used to.”

Larsen said the situation has been hard on his ‘manhood’.
“I can’t jump off a diving board or walk on the beach, things I used to do. But to continue to work helps me compensate for that,” Larsen said. “I don’t want to be a leech and live off the government.”

But after retiring from law enforcement and truck driving, Larsen wasn’t sure what he could go back to work doing. He spent a month working at the Census doing tabulations, and decided he was not an office worker.

“Also, I’m 64 years old, and there’s a lot of things I can’t do,” Larsen said.

Larsen had driven semi-truck loads for 14 years before his surgery, but since he had no left leg, he couldn’t do the clutch. He decided to look for a truck that operated on automatic so he could take a required federal test to prove he could drive and maintain a truck.

He had to look no further than Vocational Rehab in Ogden, which had bought an automatic semi-truck for James Jessop, a paraplegic living in Ogden. Jessop and Larsen agreed to take on the small business loan together and share the trucking company, which Jessop named Big 9 Transport.
The loan for the truck came from the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation, a private, non-profit organization that works with Zion's Bank and the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund to provide low-interest loan to Utahns with disabilities to purchase assistive technology to start or expand small businesses.

But after a month on the road, Jessop realized the alteration of lifestyle required for the job wasn’t for him, and decided not do it.  So Larsen took on the driving himself, and began his own company.

Larsen said, “The folks at Microenterprise helped me develop my concept and business plan. The experience of starting my own business was scary, but the UATF and the Microenterprise Loan Fund helped me understand what to expect when owning a small business,” Larsen said.

Larsen lived in Alaska for
20 years as a dogsled musher.
But the business hasn’t been without its challenges. Rising fuel costs and stagnant freight rates was causing Larsen to lose money. One night while in Chicago, Larsen realized he didn’t have any money to get home and had to borrow money from the company (himself) to get home.

Larsen parked the truck for a few months to figure out a new plan. While applying for a dispatcher job at Specialized Rail Service in Clearfield, the company saw he owned a truck and hired him as a contract driver.

The company found containers for Larsen to pick up with his truck from rail yards, which are all regional deliveries. This means Larsen is home almost every night.
“The job is paying better than cross-country, but it requires more getting in and out of the truck, which is hard for a one-legged old guy,” Larsen said. “I can’t even sweep out my truck because I can’t put the dust pan down.”

Despite the difficulties, the business feels like home. Larsen is used to being with himself and by himself, a required disposition for a person on the road.
“You can think about things or do nothing but hang out, and I enjoy that time,” Larsen said. “I’ve become a good driver, and it is nice to be good at what you do. I will retire to part-time driving when I’m 70, and I will probably die driving truck.”

Through acquiring a disability, Larsen said he thought that meant he couldn’t help other people any more, and they could only help him. 

“But I’ve learned that I help people by making them feel good when they help me,” Larsen said. “People like to help others, and I can give them that opportunity now.”
To learn more about the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation, visit http://www.uatf.org/ or call 1-800-524-5152.

Center for Persons with Disabilitiy 40th Anniversary Events

As part of our year-long 40th Anniversary Celebration, the Center for Persons with Disabilities will sponsor two events that will help the community understand disability’s place in history.

The first is an exhibit on the History of Disability and Advocacy in the foyer of the Special Collections Division of the Merrill-Cazier Library. It will remainon display from January 9-27. Its 22 panels trace 3000 years of seldom-told history. From antiquity to the present, the exhibit brings viewers through an illustrated timeline that shows society’s attitudes and how they affect the lives of people with disabilities.

The second event is a film screening on Friday, January 20th from 1-4 pm in room 154 of the Library. Lives Worth Living documents the history of America’s disability rights movement. It was produced by the PBS Series Independent Lens. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on “The Disability Rights Movement: Past, Present, and Future.” Space is limited for the screening of the film and panel presentation.

If you have additional questions please contact Jeff Sheen at 797-8113 or jeff.sheen@usu.edu.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

AT Computer Lab

The Assistive Technology Lab located in the Janet Quinney Lawson building on the Utah State University campus has a new and improved computer lab available for the Utah community to use. It includes seven new Apple computers, software, and iPad with disability-related apps among other technology. The lab is open 8 am - 5 pm on weekdays. Learn more by visiting AT Computer Lab.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New archived training available: Wheelchair seating equipment

UATP has a new online training available for viewing: Wheelchair Seating Equipment by the Adaptive Engineering Lab (AEL). View the video below, which is Closed Captioned.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tips on supporting people with disabilities during the holidays


Not Just Surviving the Holidays: A guide for parents, grandparents, and friends to use while supporting persons with disabilities through this season of celebration and change.

Tips from CLC Network consultant and author Barbara J. Newman.

While Thanksgiving and Christmas often bring up those Hallmark memories for many of us, for some children and adults with disabilities, holidays signal an intense time of stress and distress. Often communicated with significant behavior changes, the underlying message might be "I’m overwhelmed", "You changed my schedule", "Why did you put a tree in our living room", "There are too many people stuffed into this room", or "I am on complete sensory overload".

While all of these ideas won’t work with all people, here are some strategies for families and friends to try as you create a positive time of celebration for each family member.

1. Find some pictures of the celebration from last year. If it will be similar, put together a photo album or story of that event so that the individual can remember it in pictures and written words prior to attending a similar event this year.

2. Put together a schedule of events for your party. Whether in words and/or pictures, let the person know the planned order. Some individuals enjoy crossing off or removing the individual schedule items as they are completed.

3. Many times we redecorate or rearrange rooms to fit more people. If, for example, a larger group will be gathering at grandma and grandpa’s house, consider setting it up a day ahead and visiting that room without people in it. Let the individual explore the changes without the added stress of people. Perhaps leave something on a chair or in a certain place so that you can "reserve a spot" for the event when you arrive. The individual will know to find that space or item to make a more comfortable entry.

4. Give that individual a "job" to do. Perhaps you could assign an individual to be the photographer, back massager, coffee or beverage server, greeter (be the first to arrive and assimilate guests more slowly – often a better choice for some persons), or card distributer. Many times, a helping role will not only use the gifts of an individual, but it gives the person a clear sense of what to do in that environment.

5. Designate a "safe zone". It might be helpful to show that family member a quiet and designated space in the home or building where there would be a calming and preferred activity. It might be a mini tramp, rocking chair, a favorite book, or quiet classical music in a more isolated space where one might be able to find a refuge if the senses get overloaded.

6. Who needs to know? Many times extended families get together, and yet cousins or friends may not really understand the individual with the disability. It might be helpful for parents or the person with the disability to send out a quick update to family members prior to an event that includes such topics as "How Brent has grown this year", "Activities and topics Brent enjoys doing or discussing", "Activities and topics to avoid with Brent", "Some things that Brent may really enjoy when we gather for Thanksgiving", "Some things that might be challenging for Brent at our Thanksgiving celebration" "Some gifts Brent might enjoy receiving" "Some gifts to avoid". Giving information in advance can be a powerful way to put people at ease while also arming well-meaning relatives with some quick strategies to try.

7. "It is better to give than to receive" – and many times we think our family member with a disability should only be the recipient of gifts, and not the giver. How important it is for all of us to have a chance to give. How can that person use an area of interest or gifting to provide something for others? Would it be the gift of a dance or song? Could that individual provide the cookies for dessert? Might that person enjoy a trip to a dollar store to pick out something for each guest or family member? What about a wall decoration or a note card for each guest with a favorite picture of an animal or area of interest? Find a way for that individual to also receive the joy of giving!

8. Think in advance of a way your family member can participate in the holiday traditions. Do you collect prayer requests or notes indicating things for which each family member is thankful to incorporate into the celebration? How might that family member participate? Would it be helpful to have pictures of familiar items so that the individual can point to or pick up the prayer request and hand it to the one praying? How about singing? Could you have a colorful streamer or small rhythm instrument available so that a person without words could participate with movement? How about programming a portion of Luke 2 on an iPad or other device so that pushing a button will allow an individual to read a portion of the Bible? Adding figures or using the manger scene on the mantel may be a way for an individual to better understand or even help move or tell the Christmas story. Be creative.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

60 Minutes: Apps for Autism

This 60 Minutes segment, called 'Apps for Autism', demonstrates new high-tech assistive technology in action. Watch the video to learn more about apps for iPads that help people with autism connect and communicate with the world in an unprecedented way.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Temple Grandin at USU

Wednesday, Nov. 2, Temple Grandin visited Utah State University. The event was sponsored in part by the Center for Persons with Disabilities. Grandin gave two lectures, one on autism spectrum disorders and another on improving animal welfare. To see a photo gallery of the event from the CPD, click here. Hear her lecture, 'All kinds of minds need to work together' here. To learn more about her visit from a cachevalleydaily.com story, click here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Amazing new assistive technology helping people walk

An article by the Associated Press on Nov. 1 explains how new AT developed by Toyota will help move people with limited mobility. To read the article "Toyota shows machines to help sick, elderly move", click here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Utah Assistive Technology Foundation

UATF is a private, non-profit organization under the UATP that works with Zions Bank to provide low-interest loans to people with disabilities who live in Utah to buy assistive technology. Learn more about the UATF in this article on the Center for Persons with Disabilities blog: Low-interest loans help Utahns with disabilities.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Special Needs Carnival at Dixie State

Dixie State College

Special Needs Carnival

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

6:00 p.m.

Dixie Gardner Center Ballroom
Email Mary Lundquist with questions:lundquist@dixie.edu

Monday, October 24, 2011

Recipient of business loan for people with disabilities to open gluten-free food company

By Storee Powell

HEBER CITY – After 20-year-old Utahan, Chynna Stanely, learned she had Celiac Disease, her family realized that finding and affording gluten-free food was going to be a challenge.
Celiac Disease, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, is a lifelong inherited autoimmune condition. When people with Celiac Disease eat foods containing gluten, the body responds with an immune-mediated toxic reaction that causes damage to the small intestine and doesn’t allow nutrients to be properly absorbed. Gluten is the common name for the proteins in specific grains such as all forms of wheat and related grains rye, barley and triticale.
Steven Stanley, Chynna’s father, said, “Gluten is in many common foods like pizza and baked goods; it can even be in caramel coloring which is used in soy sauce among other things. There really are no convenience foods for people with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance.”
Much of Steven’s family has gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease, making family-get-togethers difficult.
“Not too long ago all the family came over for a cookout. I made homemade French-fries and put some seasoning on them,” Steven said. “They called me from home later very sick, and I read the ingredients on the seasoning and learned there was gluten in it.”
From these difficulties Steven got the idea to start a business to create gluten-free convenience foods. The first step was to finance the business, and through the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund, Steven received a loan from the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation. The UATF is a nonprofit that provides small-business loans to Utahan’s with disabilities.
Steven said, “The positive environment working with the UMLF during the process was very helpful. They wanted us to succeed.”
Thus was born Chynna’s Kitchen, named for Steven’s daughter. The business, located in Heber City, Utah; is a family business and a work in progress, but is officially producing gluten-free food for distribution to grocery stores statewide.  
“I’ve been working on the recipes for our products the last 14 months. I’ve cooked all my life, been in the catering and restaurant business, and it is easy for me to get in the kitchen and have ideas,” Steven said. “There’s not a lot in the range of gluten-free convenience foods. People need them so when kids come home from school they have something to throw in the microwave.”
The Stanley Family during an expo (starting left):
Bryer, Heatherly, Steven, Chynna and Branton.
Chynna’s Kitchen specializes in frozen pizzas, corndogs, chicken nuggets, and cookie dough among other convenience foods. Some of their products are already in some stories, like Day’s Market in Heber City. More food will hit 22 store shelves in Utah the first of 2012, which is being distributed by Associated Foods.
While starting up the business has been slower than Steven anticipated, he said it is important to take the time to start small so product quality is where it needs to be. The business requires a USDA certification among other accreditations. Steven hopes to eventually expand to a larger market.
“We thought we’d start as a bakery, but we soon learned that demand was already filled in this area so we are hoping to partner with such businesses in our distribution efforts to keep prices low for the consumer and so we don’t have to compete with each other,” Steven said.
People tasting Chynna's Kitchen's
gluten-freecookie dough during an expo.
Steven also wants to educate the community about Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Chynna’s Kitchen is a member of the Gluten Intolerance Group and the Celiac Disease Foundation. Through these networks, Chynna’s Kitchen will be doing community awareness and educational events to help people understand the disease.
This is necessary, Steven said, because it can be difficult to diagnose Celiac Disease.
According to the Gluten Intolerance Group, gluten intolerance is the most undiagnosed disorder in the U.S. For every one person diagnosed, 80 people are undiagnosed.

“Lots of times people eventually figure it out themselves after they’ve been misdiagnosed for something like for Irritable Bowell Syndrome,” Steven said.

While Chynna’s Kitchen was at a recent expo where people taste-tested their foods, Steven said one woman told him she hadn’t had a corn dog in eleven years.

“When I saw how she was so excited over a corn dog I knew we are doing a good thing,” Steven said.

Find more about Chynna’s Kitchen on Facebook and soon at www.chynnaskitchen.com.
For more information on small-business loans for Utahans with disabilities, call the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation at 1-800-524-5152.

Friday, October 21, 2011

New device built by Utah Assistive Technology Lab helps six-year-old play Wii

By Storee Powell

Six-year-old Dillon Lundahl, a Cache Valley resident, got his birthday wish – a Wii video game console.
But Dillon and his family quickly learned he couldn’t play the Wii like his brothers could because of his lack of balance and sensation in his feet. The game console requires motions and movements of the body while the player holds a remote. The remotes are wireless controllers which can be used as a handheld pointing device and detects movement in three dimensions.

Six-year-old Dillon Lundahl uses a stand built by
the Assistive Technology Lab that allows him
to be able to play the Wii game console while Mom
Erica and therapist Shaun Dahle give encouragement.
Erica Lundahl, Dillon’s mother, said, “Dillon was born without the right side of his brain which controls motor, so he has no balance, is blind in the right eye and has little feeling in his feet. He has to work a little harder at life than everybody else.”

Such a condition is known as a Cephalic disorder. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website, the disorder is caused by damage to, or abnormal development of, the developing nervous system, usually before birth. The degree to which the mind and body is affected by the disorder varies enormously. Many disabilities are mild enough to allow those afflicted to eventually function independently in society, like Dillon. (See another story of a girl born with half a brain amazing scientists at Daily Mail Online.)
Despite the setback, Erica was determined to find a way to help Dillon be able to play with his birthday gift alongside his brothers because she knew he was capable if he had a little help. Erica said Dillon’s mental development is normal for his age. He entered first grade this year and attends a regular classroom.

She took Dillon and the game console to Amy Henningsen, occupational therapist at the Assistive Technology Lab (utahatlab.blogspot.com) at Utah State University, an initiative of the Utah Assistive Technology Program.  The Lab helps the disability community in Utah fabricate and repair assistive technology.

Henningsen sat down with AT Lab coordinator, Clay Christensen, and hammered out an idea for a device that would give Dillon the balance and guidance he needed to play the Wii. The result was a stand that allows Dillon to brace himself while playing the game.
The stand was built by Christensen in the lab without any reference, and is thought to be the first of its kind, a revolutionary concept born out of necessity.

Dillon Lundahl plays the
Wii Fit during physical therapy to
work on his balance.
Christensen said the stand is custom fit to Dillon’s needs, and has the ability to fold up so it can be stored easily.
Now Dillon can not only play with his brothers and friends on the Wii, but now uses it in conjunction with the Wii Fit during therapy. The Wii Fit is an exercise game that utilizes an electronic balance board on which a player stands during exercise. Yoga, strength training, and balance games are featured.

The Balance Board is placed under Dillon’s fit and he can use the stand for balance and stability as he plays the games, which encourages him to use muscles he otherwise would not, increasing his balance and ability to use his lower trunk. (Watch Dillon play the Wii Fit during therapy on YouTube below.)
Shaun Dahle, Dillon’s physical therapist at the Logan Regional Pediatric Rehabilitation Program, said the benefit of using the Wii Fit during physical rehab is that “It gives Dillon a visual indicator of what his feet are doing. He can’t move his feet very well because he has little feeling in them. This lets him tie those two things together.”

While the cephalic disorder may negatively affect some of his mobility, Dillon’s zest for life is apparent as he comes into physical therapy with Star Wars light saber flashing in hand and an excited smile on his face.
Christensen said, “Watching someone achieve their personal goals because of a little help we gave them is an emotional experience. That is what we are all about at the Assistive Technology Lab, changing lives for the better.”

Learn more about the Assistive Technology Lab at www.utahatlab.blogspot.com or call 435-797-0699 ext. 1.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

USA Today: 'Paralyzed man uses mind-powered robot arm to touch'

An article in USA Today outlines new assistive technology research, which has many potential impacts for people with limited mobility. To watch the video, click here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

NAMI Utah State Conference 2011

The NAMI State Conference will be held on Thursday November 3rd, 2011 at the University of Utah Student Union Building.

Topics for this year’s NAMI Utah State Conference will include:
  • The Integration of Health and Mental Health
  • Alternatives to Incarceration
  • The Value of Peer Mentoring
  • Refugee Mental Health
For more info on the event, click here.

NAMI Utah is Utah’s voice on mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Utah’s mission is to ensure the dignity and improve the lives of those who live with mental illness and their families through support, education and advocacy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Increasing safety and reducing risks for people with disabilities

This free training is tailored for people with disabilities.

Topics include:
·        Overview of abuse
·        Relationship and Human Rights
·        Ways to Reduce Risk and Avoid Crime
·        Setting Boundaries
·        Being Assertive
·        Warning signs
·        Safety Planning
·        Connecting with resources and supports
             
Experienced trainers are from The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Utah Domestic Violence Center, Sego Lily Center for Abused Deaf, and the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University.

Training Locations, Times and Dates:


1. Tooele City Hall, Council Chambers, 90 North Main Street, Tooele              
October 27th 2011 10:00 a.m. - noon

 
2. USU Arts & Events Center, 639 West 200 South, Blanding                                                                                   November 3rd, 2011 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

For more information, please call Marilyn Hammond at 800-524-5152 or at 435-797-3811 or email
marilyn.hammond@usu.edu.

iPad Training Archive

If you missed the October 5 online training, “iPad Basic Training” sponsored by the Utah Assistive Technology Program, it is available at http://podcasts.usu.edu/class/uatp/ipad2/player.html. The presentation was by Nathan Smith, director of technology for Utah State University's College of Education. He covered iPad gestures, useful apps and built-in accessibility features. Also, check out our other archived trainings here. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

UATP & the CPD in the 2011 USU Homecoming Parade

UATP was in the 2011 Utah State University Homecoming Parade on September 24th. Photos from the event are as follows. For a full collection of photos, visit UATP's Facebook photo album here.

Brittany Stoddard, Ms. Wheelchair Utah 2012, on the UATP float.

Clay Christensen, AT Lab Coordinator, drove the float.

Sachin Pavithran, UATP program coordinator, and guide dog Barstowe.
The Center for Persons with Disabilities had a float with
staffers and families from the Up to 3 Program.

Vincent, a client of the Assistive Technology Lab,
rode his scooter as he passed out candy.
Also, this photo of the UATP float was on CacheValleyDaily.com.
See it at Photo Gallery: USU Homecoming Parade 2011, photo #22.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

6-year-old Dillon leads team onto field

Dillon Lundahl in the AT Lab working
on occupational therapy.
‎Six-year-old Dillon is a recipient of UATP/CPD services. Dillon uses a walker to assist with mobility and is using a Wii Fit for occupational therapy, learning some cool new things. Dillon's excitement for life is contagious.

His mom, Erica, said, "At Saturday's game Ryder's coach asked Dillon to lead the football team out onto the field. Listen to all of the boys cheering for him, they are so good to him! Dillon told me it was the greatest day ever and he can't wait to be a football player like his big brother. Brought tears to my eyes."
Watch Dillon lead the team in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lplh1yFE1r8.

Monday, September 19, 2011

UCAT Annual Open House - October 6th, 2011

UATP partner, Utah Center for Assistive Technology (UCAT) will have the Annual Assistive Technology Open House October 6th, 2011 – 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The event will feature demonstrations of assistive technology devices including:
•Alternative computer access.
•Keyboard and mouse alternatives.
•Ipad and its many possibilities, demo the latest apps.
•Voice activation equipment.

•Augmentative communication devices.
•Wheelchair demonstrations.
•Electronic aids to daily living.
•Accessible vehicles with lifts and ramps.
•Ceiling lifts, stair lifts, accessible bathrooms.
•Information about funding for assistive technology devices.
•Refreshments will be served.


Individuals with disabilities, their families, and those who provide services to people with disabilities are invited to attend the open house.

The Center is located at 1595 West 500 South in Salt Lake City.
For more info on the event, click here.

Center for Persons with Disabilities to dedicate Developmental Playground

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

USA Today: Adapting to the iPad, called education's 'equalizer'

Between the approximately 40.000 educational apps for the iPad and its touch-screen, schools are hailing the iPad as the educational equalizer. USA Today detailed the benefits of the tablet in an article Sept. 14,  read the full article here. 

The article said, "The tablets are growing in popularity for special-needs students because they can be customized to each child's needs, are lightweight and mobile, and give the kids the sense they're plugged into a larger, high-tech community, educators and parents say."

UATP is also looking to the future in this new assistive technology with an upcoming training Oct. 5. Learn more here. Check out some more about UATP's past demos on the iPad for those with special needs, visit this link.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sandy real estate guru and Australian native, Larry O'Sullivan recently got a mobility device from a program of the UATP, Citizens Reuitilizing Assistive Technology Equipment.

He wrote, "My chair is a reborn wonder from CReATE (Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment), a part of Utah State University (at 1595 W 500 S, Salt Lake City UT). Ken and Zachary made it happen. Their patience, dedication and plain hard work produced my miracle."

Larry O'Sullivan
CReATE client
To read the full post and view pictures or to learn more about Larry, visit Larry's Blog.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cache Valley resident wins Ms. Wheelchair Utah 2012

Brittany Stoddard, Ms. Wheelchair Utah 2012
Brittany Stoddard of Cache County was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Utah 2012. The event is a program under The Hull Foundation, which works to provide new horizons for those living with paralysis. The event took place at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City Sept. 10.

To view the picture gallery from the CacheValleyDaily.com, click here.