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:

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:

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:

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.