Thursday, July 18, 2019

Independence, unboxed: UATP small grant gives mobility

Scooter “will allow me to once again get out and enjoy life”

scooter on a wooden floor
A small grant from UATP facilitated
the purchase of this scooter.
ST GEORGE--This thank you note regarding a small grant from the Utah Assistive Technology Program was reprinted with permission from Kathryn Naron.

Dear Lois,

Red Rock Center for Independence recently assisted me in applying for a Utah Assistive Technology Program small grant in the amount of $400 to go towards the purchase of an electric mobility scooter. I received word on Tuesday that the grant was approved, and the scooter was ordered today.

I want to thank you and all those who participated in the grant approval process. It means more to me than I can possibly describe, but I will try.

Prior to my retirement from the Foundation of Dixie Regional Medical Center in 2012, I enjoyed a full life in spite of pain stemming from multiple degenerative, inflammatory, and neurological ailments. After retirement, I tried to maintain a certain level of activity and sense of purpose by volunteering in the community, serving on boards or committees of several non-profit organizations, and being a member of a professional choir. 

However, over the past 5 years, my body continued to deteriorate and pain increased. The last two years brought mostly immobility. Dropping out of every activity I had previously enjoyed caused feelings of despair. Self-imposed isolation became increasingly frequent. I was unable to stand for more than a couple of minutes or walk any distance, and life came to a screeching halt.
The decision to go anywhere at all had to be measured by how far I would have to walk or stand in a line. More often than not, knowing how much pain I would endure prevented me from going. 

I purchased a used transport chair hoping to get out more, but that requires asking someone to push me. For an independent (and perhaps a little too prideful) woman, that’s a difficult ask. It was just easier to sit at home and mope.  

The UATF grant of $400 that facilitated the purchase of an electric mobility scooter will, singularly, allow me to once again be more functional at home, be active in the community, and to get out and enjoy life. I will not only regain mobility, but quality of life and a renewed sense of purpose.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, the deepest appreciation.


Kathryn Naron

Thursday, July 11, 2019

UATP appreciates its summer interns!

It’s summer at the Utah Assistive Technology Program—and that means we are enjoying a new crop of interns. Here’s a quick introduction.

Three men bend over a table in the AT Lab
Ray (right) works with volunteer Nick Wolford (far left) and employee Brandon Griffin.

Raymond Emmart, Logan

Raymond Emmart is a 14-year army veteran with a combat disability. After completing an associate’s in general technology, he is now a student at Utah State University working on a bachelor’s in tech systems with an emphasis on controls, robotics and automation. 

His internship in Logan is voluntary. He has put in more than 300 hours since May. The experience will look good on his resume, and more than that, he’s enjoyed it.

 “I’m having a lot of fun here,” he said. His work with the lab means that he is sometimes present when people receive a device that makes a difference in their lives. Recently he saw the reaction when a man received a wheelchair ramp and was almost in tears. “It’s very touching when you see stuff like that,” he said. 

Ray’s mother was a nurse, so he gained a lot of exposure to the disability field. The internship was the first time he worked in it himself, though. 

“His experience has been very beneficial here. He’s helped us streamline and get organized,” said Dan O’Crowley, Logan’s UATP coordinator. “He’s got a very good engineering mind, so when we tackle a project, he brings a lot to the table. He is good at looking at it from a different perspective, which can be very helpful. It’s been very nice not to have to train him.

“His background as a veteran has been very helpful as we’ve worked with them. He’s been able to connect with veterans because of that common experience.”

action shot
Noah operates at power drill at UATP in the Uintah Basin.

Noah Sadlier, Uintah Basin

Noah Sadlier started as a volunteer and is now a paid intern at UATP in the Uintah Basin. “I’m organizing tools and putting in new wheelchair batteries,” he said. “I’ve also been cleaning up, sweeping, taking out trash, vacuuming.”

He has learned to shine up an old wheelchair and take measurements, too. 

Noah comes to us through a partnership with the Community Employment Placement Program with the Uintah School District. The program teaches work, vocational and daily living skills to students and adults with disabilities. “Noah’s a very fast learner and he’s worked hard,” said Sarah Chandler, the program’s coordinator. “We’re really proud of him.”

“He is developing a comfort zone in knowing what needs to be done, and gets busy on his own,” said Cameron Cressall, UATP’s Uintah Basin coordinator. “He’s getting that confidence that he knows he’s doing a good job. I hope he realizes that it’s not just a job. He’s helping people. He gets to see the difference that he’s making in people’s lives."

Welcome. interns! 

Friday, July 5, 2019

UATP’s new Logan coordinator is a familiar face

Dan O'Crowley
The Utah Assistive Technology Program welcomes a new coordinator in Logan.

Dan O’Crowley started with UATP in the spring of 2016 as a volunteer in the AT Lab, then became a lab technician. He is now a junior in mechanical engineering at Utah State University.

“Growing up, I had a mind for mechanical engineering. I always thought I would go in that direction.” he said. “I realized at one point I wanted to work with people, not just objects. This lab has been a great combination of those two.”

Dan has already seen the difference assistive technology can make in people’s lives, both on the long- and short-term. “A lot of people come to the lab with a lot of frustration. It’s great to be able to have the tools on hand to solve that problem.”

Once, a man who broke his ankle came in after getting around on crutches for a week. “He was just exhausted, trying to do that,” Dan said. “At a sports event he saw someone else with a knee scooter, and then he came and borrowed another one out from us.”

UATP’s fabrication capabilities have also helped people with long-term needs. Dan and UATP volunteer Mike Stokes worked to make a 3-D printed prosthetic device for a child to help him color, paint and use an iPad. That ongoing project has helped the boy be successful at school, and he has taken the device home to use it there, too.

action shot
Chance paints using a 3D printed device
from UATP in Logan.
The Logan program is working with physical and occupational therapists to collaborate, use their expertise and offer solutions to clients, Dan said. The goal is to provide AT in affordable, practical ways to the people who need it.

“Generally speaking we prefer people to come to us,” Dan said. “If they’re a long distance away, we will try to Skype and work out most or as many of the details and plan sometime in the future to cross paths to transfer the device to them.”

For more information on UATP and its services, visit our website.


Are you a Utahn with an assistive technology need? UATP has locations in Logan and the Uintah Basin that can help you find ways to maintain or improve your independence. Both locations also have a demonstration and loan library where items can be checked out, compared to similar devices and used before a purchase is made. Devices can also be refurbished, reused, customized and built from the ground up to suit a particular need.

UTAP’s Salt Lake City location focuses on putting refurbished mobility devices into the hands of people who need it, for a fee that is usually less than an insurance deductible. 

UATP also offers small grants and low-interest loans for the purchase of AT. This service is available to Utahns statewide.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Independent living center serves more people, thanks to UATP

Ricardo Mora received a chair from UATP in
Salt Lake City, through a referral from
Ability 1st. It raises and lowers, which helps him
access the higher-up items in his house.
PROVO—Independent living center staff members know the pattern: receive assistive technology budget money once a year, use it to help as many clients as possible. When it’s gone, it’s gone—and often they run out of money before they run out of budget year. 

But Kathy Tucker and Shelly Lund at Ability 1st in Provo have found ways to keep providing mobility devices to people who need them, even after the money runs out. The Utah Assistive Technology Program has played a big part in that strategy.

“Tom’s a lifesaver,” said Kathy, who is the equipment manager at Ability 1st. “If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be able to help as many people throughout the year.”

Tom coordinates UATP’s Salt Lake City location, which focuses specifically on mobility equipment. His shop receives donated wheelchairs, refurbishes them and transfers them to people who need them for an affordable fee. The cost is usually less than an insurance deductible.

Shelly, the center’s assistive technology coordinator, said they have often used both small grants and equipment from UATP in Salt Lake City to help clients receive a refurbished wheelchair. Sometimes the clients don’t have insurance. Sometimes they do, but they need a loaner chair so that they can get where they need to go while waiting for the necessary medical and insurance approvals—which can take months.

One family had been so tapped out by medical bills that they could not afford the deductible on a new chair for a ten-year-old girl with a chronic illness. They turned to UATP’s small grant program for funding, and to UATP in Salt Lake City for a chair.

“I know the mom was really happy that Tom was able to find a color of the chair that she liked,” Shelly said.

They referred another client, Ricardo Mora, to UATP. Now he has a motorized chair that lifts him so he can reach the cupboards in his kitchen. 

Clients have also been able to use devices from the Ability 1st loan bank, thanks to help from UATP. It started years ago, when the independent living center swapped several broken-down chairs for one working, refurbished one.  “That’s how we were able to loan out equipment,” said Kathy. “That helped out because sometimes I wouldn’t have power wheelchairs for months.”

People now donate equipment to the center, but sometimes it needs some help to get working properly. Tom has helped with that, too, either parting out wheelchairs that are not usable or talking them through repairing a chair that can still be used. “If there’s a power chair and it’s not running, a lot of time we can call Tom and he can tell us what’s wrong with it,” Kathy said. It helps a lot when they don’t have the budget money to send a chair to a vendor for repairs.

He has helped train them on basic wheelchair repairs as well—and they’ve passed that knowledge on to clients.

“They’ve been really good to partner with,” said Tom from his office in Salt Lake City. “They’re good at helping us follow up with clients in that area and exchanging information.” 

They have also donated equipment to UATP in Salt Lake—chairs he can refurbish or part out. “They collaborate with us pretty well.”

Friday, June 7, 2019

UATP prepares boy for summer fun (and therapy)

action photo of boy smiling on therapeutic trike
Kobe tries out his new trike

ROOSEVELT—Thanks to a donated, therapeutic trike, 7-year-old Kobe will be able to work on therapy and hang out with siblings and friends, all at the same time.

Kobe’s doctor recommended that he do some bike riding to help build up his leg strength and work his hips. He has a rare genetic condition called CDG-PMM2, and it affects his muscles, brain and balance, so a therapeutic trike was a good—but expensive—fit. (A quick google search for therapeutic trikes netted several examples, starting at $1000.)

“We needed something that had a seat back and seat belts and something that could snap his feet in,” said his mother, Raquel Labrum.

She talked to Utah Assistive Technology Program coordinator Cameron Cressall. They began looking into options. Then Cameron learned a therapeutic trike had been donated to UATP. He picked it up, did a little cleaning and refurbishing, and called Kobe’s family out to see how it would work for them. 

“He rode it when we got it that day,” said Raquel. Then they took it home and he rode it some more at his dad’s work. “He’s very social and he likes to play with friends, so this will give him another tool that he can use.”

Mother pushes the boy, who is wearing a seat belt. His foot pedals are strapped to his feet.
Kobe and Raquel

Do you need affordable equipment? Do you have used equipment to donate or sell? UATP has several options for you, including our new Classifieds feature. Find out more on our website.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

UATP financing helps veteran receive a van to fit his spirit

action photo
Bryan and Kim demonstrate the lift in his new van.
SANDY--As an outdoor enthusiast, Bryan Rowe skied, snow-boarded and mountain biked through Utah’s stunning landscapes. As a member of the US armed forces, he went to northern Iraq after the Gulf War to help provide comfort, build roads and manage refugee camps. As a custom woodworker, he has literally left his mark in many Utah landmarks, including the Utah State Capitol, the Salt Lake Library, the First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City and the Coffee Garden on 9th and 9th. 

As an army veteran with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he needs some customization of his own. The degenerative, neurological disease has affected his movement, and getting in and out of his truck became more difficult. 

In the fall of 2018, Bryan and his friend Kim Olmore began looking for an adapted van that could transport him and the wheelchair he received from the Veterans’ Administration. (When this interview took place in May 2019, the ALS had affected Bryan’s speech. Kim offered some background and interpreted for him.) They knew he would also need financing that would help pay for the modifications, which would drive the price of the van well above its blue book value. 

They learned of the Utah Assistive Technology Program’s reduced-interest loans and began working with Lois Summers, UATP’s financing coordinator. UATP is part of the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University.

Summers and UATP partner Zions Bank put together a loan that financed the van Bryan wanted—a Ram Promaster. 

The conversions were done in a way that would not affect the van’s warranty, Kim said.

They bought the van from a dealer in the Midwest. The dealership manager’s father drove it out to them over the Thanksgiving holiday, free of charge. “It’s just a unique breed of people when it comes to this type of situation,” Kim said. “It was amazing customer service.”

The van features a lift system that allows Bryan to keep a lower profile in his wheelchair, so he can see out of the windows. It also has a back bench seat that allows for the transport of additional passengers. He’s used it to see friends and attend barbecues, and he hopes to make a trip to the Oregon Coast to see his parents. 

The van purchase would not have happened without UATP, Bryan said. “I got the van to fit my spirit.”

Bryan, Kim and Elsie, Bryan's Vizsla dog.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

USU's engineering design night features low-cost trike

students pose with the bike
Student designers from left to right: Nathan Linville,
Zachary Wilson, Connor Toone and Liz Housley
Students from Utah State University's College of Engineering partnered with the Utah Assistive Technology Program and Intermountain Pediatric Rehabilitation to build a therapeutic trike. This ongoing project could open up more opportunities for families to work on a youngster's physical therapy at home.

Students from USU's Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering department, UATP volunteer Mike Stokes and Intermountain Pediatric Rehabilitation physical therapist Shaun Dahle collaborated on the project. They showed it off during Senior Design Night at Utah State University.

Several versions of therapeutic trikes are on the market, but they are more expensive and less adjustable than the prototype created by the engineering students. The group consulted with Dahle and UATP volunteer Stokes as they crafted their design. "We've used every kind of trike, so we know [what works]," Dahle said.

"There is a need for families to have a lower-cost alternative to these special needs trikes," said Stokes. "The goal is that through the [UATP] lab, we'll rebuild these based on need. The students will be giving us a set of plans, they kept track of where they bought the parts. We will just build as many as there's a need for."

UATP, which is part of the Center for Persons with Disabilities, paid for materials used in developing the trike. The plan now is to use donated time, labor and equipment at UATP in Logan to construct additional trikes for families who pay for materials. "We're looking at families who cannot afford or do not have insurance, and we will build it... we can save them money," Stokes said.

The bike project is currently awaiting the university's approval before the design can be used off-campus.

The trike could benefit children who have not yet walked or crawled, Dahle said. "I've taken kids that you'd think would never ride a bike... This actually teaches kids how to reciprocate their legs." The act of pushing one pedal after the other is similar to the motion needed for walking or crawling, he said. "A lot of kids that don't do those things can ride this bike."

The trike can be made for $580 in material and parts (expertise and welding equipment not included).   The plan would make the equipment available at 40 to 15 percent of the cost of therapeutic trikes that are currently on the market.

The students' design also includes some built-in, improved usability.

"We took cues from existing designs," said Nathan Linville, one of the project's team members. One feature their trike had that existing designs did not: a seat that could be adjusted up and down, forward and back. It also allows the child to power the bike by pushing the pedals, or to "freewheel" while the parents push. This would allow the parents to still push a child home if the child's legs became tired or stiff.

The students who worked on the project included Linville, Liz Housley, Connor Toone and Zachary Wilson.

The project's people cluster around a version of the trike
Project manager Derek Scott, volunteer Mike Stokes and the four students work on a version of the trike in the metal factory at Utah State University. Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

UATP director, volunteer receive awards

Sachin poses with his award, flanked by two officials
Dr. Pavithran received his award at a ceremony on the Utah State University campus.

Two people from the UATP organization were recognized this month for their service to the community. We are proud to work with them!

Dr. Sachin Pavithran

Sachin received the Utah State University Presidential Award for Civic and Community Engagement in the staff category, recognizing his leadership in advancing collaboration between USU and the greater community. He was nominated “for his tireless advocacy on behalf of persons with disabilities,” according to a press release from USU’s Center for Community Engagement. “He’s worked internationally, with federal agencies in the U.S., with individual states and countless individuals, and recently assumed the policy director role in the Center for Persons with Disabilities. His work for CPD using a data- driven approach to advocacy for civil rights and inclusion at all levels of society makes USU a leader in giving people with disabilities a voice in public policy.”

Volunteer Mike Stokes 

Mike was recognized by the CPD’s Public & School Partnership during the organization’s National Service and Volunteer Recognition Day awards, for his tireless contributions to the Utah Assistive Technology Program. He received a certificate from UServeUtah, signed by Lt. Governor Spencer Cox.

Mike shakes hands with Bora Lee
Mike Stokes receives his award in Logan's Historic Courthouse

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Happy National Assistive Technology Awareness Day! Here's a look at the future of AT.

March 27 is National Assistive Technology Awareness Day--and it's a great opportunity to celebrate the past and future of assitive technology. (Take a look at UATP's history at the bottom of this post.)

Chance paints using a prosthetic arm with an attachment to hold a brush
Chance with Version Two of a
UATP-designed device
As for the future, UATP has taken its first steps into 3D printed prosthetics--and it's exciting times here at UATP!

UATP was approached by teachers at Arrowhead Elementary in Santa Clara, Utah, who wanted Chance to be able to color with his friends at school. He would color by holding the crayons in his mouth. The system was working pretty well, especially if he switched to markers, said Chance's father, Richard Hirschi. Still, "All our crayons at home keep getting bitten in half."

Richard said his family likes to let Chance work through problems on his own. "We let him get as far as he can before we give him the next tool to get over the next barrier," he said.

Richard and Chance gave a new tool a try in February, when they met UATP's Logan Interim Lab Coordinator Dan O'Crowley and volunteer Mike Stokes in Salt Lake City. (Chance's wheelchair was being serviced at Shriner's Hospital.) Dan and Mike tried out their first prototype of a prosthetic arm. They quickly decided Version One was too long, but they modified it on the spot, made some more observations, then returned to the lab to work up Version Two.

"We realized there was a learning curve to that first design that was too long," said Dan. "Version two is very simple. We hope that once he learns to use it, we could maybe incorporate a little more sophistication into future designs."

Chance tried that one this month at school. The video below shows him using the next prototype to write on the computer.

UATP in Logan will continue working with 3D printed prosthetics. "3D printing is amazing, but it's not going to solve all the problems," said Dan. "This bridges the gap to make designs that an insurance company will not pay for." Sometimes a client's needs and desires are very different from the device insurance will cover, but 3D printing allows for an inexpensive, individualized alternative.

Since 1989, UATP's focus has always been on connecting people to the devices that help them gain or retain independence. Technologies come and go, but UATP continues helping people to find affordable solutions.

Here's a quick look at our history:

  • In 1989, Utah was one of nine states that received funding to establish a statewide program for assistive technology. The Utah Assistive Technology Program was then established at Utah State University, as part of the Center for Persons with Disabilities. From these beginnings, assistive technology programs became available nationwide.
  • In 1991, the UATP's financing program was established to help make AT affordable to Utahns. These services are available to clients statewide. 
  • In 1993, the AT Laboratory was established in what was then the Industrial Technology Education department at Utah State University. It was soon made part of the Utah Assistive Technology Program, where devices are modified, customized or built from the ground up to serve individual needs. These services are offered in addition to UATP's device reuse and demonstration and loan programs. The lab has also provided training to students who 
  • In 2006, UATP established its Salt Lake City location (formerly CReATE). The SLC facility focuses specifically on the reuse of mobility equipment by refurbishing donated devices and transferring them to people who need them, for an affordable fee. 
  • In 2017, UATP opened its Uintah Basin facility. Like its counterpart in Logan, UATP in the Uintah Basin provides demonstration and loan, device reuse, customization and financing services to Utahns in the region.
Rick leans over a project, wearing safety glasses. Power tools are in the background.
Rick Escobar, one of UATP's earliest employees, works in the AT Lab.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Notes from the trenches: Volunteer Mike Stokes shares some solutions for seniors

Mike demonstrates a liftware  spoon
Mike Stokes demonstrates assistive technology at Utah State University.

UATP volunteer Mike Stokes has experienced caregiver worries: how to make sure a loved one with dementia doesn't wander into danger, fall out of a wheelchair or fall out of bed. He wanted to know if an elderly parent is drinking enough to avoid dehydration, but he didn't want to violate their privacy.

"They want their independence, but you want to be there," he said.

Mike also wanted to solve problems affordably, in ways allowed by landlords and as needs change in senior housing complexes and care facilities. "They don't want you to come in and wire things and put in monitors," he said.

With a knack for solving problems, Mike found some things that help which he shared with the Utah Assistive Technology Program. 

Before we share these tips, please note: this technology is meant to supplement quality care, not replace it.

Solution 1: motion detectors.

When a loved one with dementia came to stay with Mike and his wife, Cindy, they were concerned about her waking up and wandering in the middle of the night. They tried sleeping while listening for her to make sure she didn't wander out of the house. It was exhausting. 

So Mike found a wireless motion detector for $15 and installed it in the hallway. When their loved one left the bedroom and entered the hall, it alerted them with a loud chime.

"We just put it on our nightstand so we could get some restful sleep," he said.

Solution 2: magnetic and pressure alarms

A $20 magnetic alarm let the Stokes family know when their loved one was trying to get out of a wheelchair--a move that would put them at risk of falling.

A wireless bed alarm and sensor pad also helped alert them when their loved one was getting out of bed and might need help. (An online search turns up many brands that do this, at varying prices and consumer ratings.)

These solutions worked in a number of different settings and did not require wiring.

Solution 3: Smart door and window sensors

It was important for Mike to know if his parents were drinking enough water to avoid getting dehydrated, but he wanted them to feel like their privacy was respected. His solution was to make sure drinks were in the fridge, then install a wireless sensor on the refrigerator door that would send a notification to his phone when the door opened.

An internet search turned up a number of smart sensor options and prices, ranging from $15 to $60.

Solution 4: Smart home technology

UATP posted a training on smart home technology on our YouTube channel. Bryan Carroll of the Utah Center for Assistive Technology demonstrates Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers, compares them, and shows how they can be integrated into smart home technology. He offers a voice-activated experience that can turn on lights, lock doors, set the thermostat, and make phone calls. View the training here:

Friday, March 8, 2019

Intermountain West will soon have another AT lab

Future Idaho facility drew inspiration from UATP

A group looks at a specialized spoon
BYU-I visitors examine a Liftware Level spoon in UATP's demonstration
and loan library.
A new assistive technology fabrication lab is slated to open in the Intermountain West—and it has drawn some inspiration from the Utah Assistive Technology Program.

“It’s one of the few AT labs in the country where they make custom made assistive technology,” said Dean Cloward, professor in Special Education at Brigham Young Univerisity-Idaho. “Idaho doesn’t do that.” 

BYU-Idaho now plans to launch its own fabrication lab to serve people in southeastern Idaho. The area has similar demographics to northern Utah, Cloward said, with similar needs in special education. Idaho families with a need for custom-made assistive technology have gone to Utah in the past.

Visitors from BYU-I have come to Utah State University’s UATP off and on for years, but on the most recent visit included faculty members interested in the launch of the Idaho lab. Its focus will be more on serving children, while the Utah lab serves people of all ages and abilities.

The BYU-I visit included a stop at the Smart Apartment in the Sorenson Legacy Foundation’s Center for Clinical Excellence. The apartment is stocked with high- and low-tech assistive devices. “We’ve seen most of those technologies, but not in one place, not where they’re all used in conjunction with eachother,” Cloward said. “It was interesting to see … how it could be used to assess someone with disabilities and see how they could interact with the technology.”

The Idaho lab is expected to open in Fall 2019.

Mike Stokes in the smart apartment
Volunteer Mike Stokes demonstrates some low-tech grab bars.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

UATP welcomes VISTA member, expands outreach to Utah’s minorities

Bora Lee will help us reach out to minorities in Utah. If you
would like her to meet with your group, contact her at

Twelve years ago, Bora Lee went to Los Angeles with a plan: get a master’s degree in graphic design. Instead, she discovered a new path: one that eventually brought her to the Utah Assistive Technology Program.

She is an AmeriCorp VISTA member who will work with UATP to reach out to Utah’s underserved populations for one year. “I wanted to contribute to the community what I’ve learned,” she said. “This was a way I could give back.”

In LA, she worked with immigrant children and families with disabilities for a private organization; first in a preschool and later with a weekend program for the families of people with disabilities.

It sparked a lot of thought for her, knowing that people emigrated to the United States hoping for a better life for their children. But especially for families of children with disabilities, the reality fell far short of the American dream. Students with disabilities went to school, but once they finished their public education, a lot of them ended up spending all their time at home.

Do you know someone who needs UATP’s services, but does not speak English? We now have a service that connects us to interpreters who speak 24 languages. Call 800-524-5152 and we will get you started!
“For minorities it is a lot harder to find resources,” she said. They have to overcome so many barriers: of trust, of language, and of just knowing who to ask for help.

It became a focus of study. She earned a master’s in special education with a focus on moderate to severe disabilities. Now, in addition to her work with UATP and Americorp VISTA, she is completing an Ed.D, focusing on transition to adulthood for minority students with disabilities.

At UATP, she is busy talking to organizations, individuals and families about the services UATP can offer.

“I received so much, and I wanted to give back what I’ve learned for a year,” she said. “The more I work with people with disabilities, the more I feel like I’m gaining more from them.”

Get involved:

Do you have suggestions on how UATP can better serve minorities in Utah? Would you like Bora to meet with your group? You can contact her at 435-797-0466.

Do you know someone who needs UATP’s services, but does not speak English? We now have a service that connects us to interpreters who speak 24 languages. Call 800-524-5152 and we will get you started!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

3D printer in Logan helps build customized AT, gets its own specialized home

Bryce Hampton with Dan O'Crowley, in front of the housing they created for the
3D printer.

LOGAN--The Utah Assistive Technology Program in Logan has added a 3D printer to its fabrication lab. It gives our staff yet another way to customize assistive technology to meet the specific needs of clients. 

For example, it helped a boy who struggled with motor control in his right leg to ride his bike, after UATP employees Brandon Griffin helped design a pedal that solved the problem of a foot that kept sliding off the pedal.

The boy really likes riding his bike (he calls it his motorcycle).

Brandon Griffin came to UATP Logan after working
in the Uintah Basin location.
Griffin was able to print a pedal that kept the foot from sliding. That bit of custom-made AT was also “low profile;” it wasn’t clunky or noticeably different from the pedals of other boys’ bikes. “It seemed to work really well, and he was very excited to have his ‘motorcycle’ back,” Griffen said.

But as it turned out, UATP’s powerful new customization tool needed some adjustments of its own. When the UATP technicians used material that is able to withstand higher temperatures and higher stress, they were having trouble, especially if the print was more than a half-inch tall.

That material—called ABS plastic—needed to be kept at a warmer, more constant temperature than the air around it could provide. So technician Dan O’Crowley worked on it with Bryce Hampton, an intern who came to UATP via the Aggies Elevated program.

close-up of pedal with a small ridge that prevents the foot from sliding off
 A 3D printed pedal, customized for the boy
who will use it.
Rather than heat up the room where the printer was, they decided to trap the heat the machine created by building a box around it. It could hold in the heat the printer created, maintaining a more constant temperature.

Some other requirements: it had to be lightweight and inexpensive, so that it could be replaced easily and wouldn’t damage the printer if it was bumped. They settled on an old UATP standby—tri-wall cardboard—and added in some plexiglass windows so they could observe the print in progress.

They also needed two doors, but were momentarily stumped on how to add hinges to their tri-wall design. “Bryce came up with the idea of just cutting through the tri-wall except for that last layer,” O’Crowley said.

The result: UATP’s powerful tool now has a home within a home. ABS prints turn out better. AT lab technicians continue to beef up their printing skills. And assistive technology in Utah takes another big step into the future.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

UATP classifieds: helping Utahns access affordable AT statewide

magnifying glass over "Utah Assistive Technology Program Classifieds,"
Do you have a gently used device to sell or give away? Do you need a gently used device? The Utah Assistive Technology Program announces the UATP Classifieds: our newest comprehensive means of helping Utahns access the equipment they need, regardless of where they live in the state.

The new online service connects device sellers and donors directly to people who need technology to be more independent.

Examples of equipment that can be advertised include mobility equipment, adapted vans, environmental adaptions, technology to aid with communication or learning, daily living, adapted computer technology and much more.

Sellers and donors can use the service to ensure their equipment can help someone else, once it is no longer needed.

To use the service, register online for UATP Classifieds. You can then search available devices or post a device of your own. Devices are searchable by device type (mobility or daily living, for example) and by list type (free, priced, priced or best offer).

Items posted will be subject to review before they can be viewed publicly. UATP provides a place for buyers, sellers, donors and recipients to meet, but UATP is a third party that is not involved in the exchange, liability or monetary transaction of devices on the site.

You can always find a link to the UATP Classifieds on the UATP website homepage. Just visit the page, scroll down and hit the "access UATP classifieds" button.