Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Have a student with a disability? Six facts you should know about AT in education

The Disability Law Center of Utah's tips for looking at assistive technology in an Individualized Education Plan:

  1. School districts and charter schools are required to
    Have you considered assistive  technology in your child's IEP?
    Have you considered assistive 
    technology in your child's IEP?
    consider the use of assistive technology (AT) for every student receiving special education services. This should not merely be a box that is checked on the individualized education program (IEP); there should be a conversation about possibilities for AT to help your individual child access education. 
  2. An IEP should ensure access to the general education curriculum. If your child needs AT in order to access the same content as the other students, the school is required to provide it.
  3. Even if a student doesn’t need an AT device for academic purposes, the school may be required to provide it in order to help with functional skills, such as communication, mobility, independent living or social skills. Functional skills are also part of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
  4. A child does not necessarily have to receive special education services in order for the school to pay for an AT device. The student may also receive AT under the equal access to public education programs protected in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
  5. Sometimes schools are required to allow students to take home AT devices, depending on if it’s necessary for the child to receive a FAPE. For example, if a student needs the device to complete homework assignments, they may be permitted to take the device home.
  6. The Disability Law Center helps advocate for students to receive the AT devices and services they need. Call 1-800-662-9080 or visit us online at for more information. 

This is general information. It is not intended to be legal advice. Only an attorney can give you legal advice to help you with a problem or answer a question.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Archived webinar: Accessibility with the iPad

Did you miss the Accessibility with the iPad webinar on November 9th? Watch it now in our YouTube archives!

Andrew Porter, Utah State University Apple Representative, presented iPad basics and quick user tips, with the main focus on the integrated accessibility features of the iPad as well as some accessibility appsApple products are renowned in the disability community for their 'out-of-the-box' accessibility. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Unusual projects at the AT Lab

The Assistive Technology Lab is no stranger to unusual projects. Since disabilities are very unique to individuals due to many factors, devices often need to be modified to work for the user.
The modified stairlift chair  with an extended headrest.
The modified stairlift chair 
with an extended headrest.

Last week, the AT Lab took on this project for a 13-year-old girl who is six feet tall. She uses a stairlift at home, but the chair she was using didn't have a high enough headrest. This resulted in a few head bumps. 

The solution was an extended headrest that was welded onto the back of the chair.

Clay Christensen, AT Lab Coordinator, said, "It was a tricky project, but it will really make a difference for this individual." 

The adapted headrest will  support the individual's head.
The adapted headrest will
support the individual's head.

Do you have a project for the AT Lab? Call 435-797-0699 ext. 1 to see how we can help!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

American Sign Language volunteer needed for a video project

The Disability Law Center needs a volunteer that is proficient in American Sign Language for a project. 
The Disability Law Center is looking
for a volunteer who knows ASL.

This past year, the DLC represented a father who wanted to be able to have an interpreter at his daughter's school production of "A Little Mermaid."  The school district denied him this service, claiming that they were not obligated to do that for extra curricular activities. They were only willing to provide a seat in the back of the theater with a flashlight and script.

The DLC represented this family and the district's policy was changed. This will impact other families in this district and will hopefully translate to other districts around the state making the same changes.

This story will go into the DLC annual report as well as the website. The Center would like to include a video of the story in ASL.

Sheri Newton of the DLC said, "We want people to understand their rights and communicate our story effectively." 

The DLC is looking for a volunteer who is proficient in ASL that would be willing to be videotaped telling the 300-word story.

Newton can meet the individual at a location convenient to them. The project should be done before the holidays. Interested individuals can call Newton at (435) 232-4269 or email 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cache Valley middle school student surprised with a new power wheelchair from CReATE

Mobility is part of freedom, and yesterday 6th grader Selena Perez got that freedom when she received a power wheelchair. The unfettered joy on her face said it all as she went from a manual wheelchair that was pushed by her aid, to using a joystick powered chair.
Selena Perez in her new power wheelchair.
Selena Perez in her new power wheelchair.

The wheelchair was a surprise for Selena and her family. Her parents thought they were attending a planning meeting with Cache County School District Special Education Director, Joel Allred.

The staff had been looking at other options for Selena, but they realized a new chair would be around $10,000. But after talking with Amy Henningsen, assistive technology specialist and occupational therapist for the Utah Assistive Technology Program of Utah State University, they learned about refurbished mobility devices available.

UATP's non-profit program CReATE ( offers refurbished mobility devices for a small fee to the Utah public. Selena's measurements were taken for a new chair and sent to CReATe. A chair that was perfect for her was found in stock.

The $400 fee for the chair was paid for by the staff at the Cache County School District Office, who have come to love Selena.

ESL coordinator, Kelly James, said they decided instead of doing a gift exchange with each other, they wanted to do something meaningful. 
The Cache County School District staff with Selena.
The Cache County School District staff with Selena.

"We decided that the gifts seemed trivial, and seeing Selena get the chair was amazing," James said. 

Selena's friends, family and school staff watched with tears in their eyes as she was able to zoom around the room. Her reaction at first was a choked 'thank you' of joy.

Read other stories about Selena and her new chair on the USU College of Education blog as well as The Herald Journal.
Selena with her family.
Selena with her family.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Utahns learn about communication devices for people with disabilities

Participants gathered at the AT Lab to check out AAC devices.Communication is key to quality of life, and those who attended the AAC Open House at the Utah Assistive Technology Lab last week learned about how people with disabilities can be successful using devices.
AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) is how many people with various disabilities communicate. Methods range from simple to complex. 

A participant looks at a devices from DynaVox.
Vendors from DynaVox, Enablemart, Prentke Romich, Tobii ATI and Saltillo brought their devices to show consumers. From iPad apps to computer software, the options are endless. 

Speech language pathologist Tobey Fields said it is important for people to know what is available.

"So many times I hear about a senior that is unable to communication and becomes socially isolated, and it makes me sad," Fields said. "It shouldn't happen."

UATP staff talks to Rod Price (center) from the School of the Deaf and Blind.
AAC can benefit many ages and disabilities. To learn more about AAC and speech-related disabilities, visit the Penn State Early Intervention website AAC Kids.

Friday, November 22, 2013

AAC Open House Dec. 5th!

Learn how communication devices can benefit people with disabilities from those who are aging to people with autism and other disorders at the AAC (Augmentative & Alternative Communication) Open House on Dec. 5!

All are welcome! This is an informal event, and you can come as you please. It will be at the Assistive Technology Lab on the Utah State University campus in Logan from 1 to 5 p.m.

Various vendors of communication devices will be there to demonstrate their technology, as well as knowledgeable professional staff to answer questions. See you there!

Click image to see a larger
view of the event flier.

Click the campus map to view it larger.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Utah Public Radio features mobility reuse program, CReATE

There's no hiding it, UATP was pretty darn excited when Utah Public Radio featured our assistive technology reutilization program on the air yesterday.
Hear what Vicki Long had to say
about getting her wheelchair this week.

In case you missed it, here's the link to the archived version. Division of Services for People with Disabilities employee, Vicki Long, also talked to UPR about getting a wheelchair from CReATE this week. 

Thank you to all those who support CReATE! Learn more about the program at  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Help get the CRPD ratified!

Use this avatar on your social
media profiles to promote the CRPD!
The Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow, Nov. 21st, on the CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

The CRPD recognizes the rights of people with disabilities as an international treaty. Write an email, Tweet, or call your Senator to tell them to pass the CRPD. Here are some great blog posts on current CRPD concerns:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

CReATE is on the air!

Tomorrow, Nov. 19th, Utah Public Radio will feature a story about CReATE (Citizen's Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment) at 4:30 p.m. MDT. 

Hear some fun soundbites of wheelchairs being refurbished, and what it is like to work at CReATE. Find a Utah station near you or listen online at

CReATE technician, Tom Boman, sorting out chairs.

The work table where Tom makes the chair magic happen.

Program coordinator, Alma Burgess, helps Tom put up a ramp.

Power wheelchairs are heavier than they look.....

Alma and Tom load wheelchairs to take to Logan.

Tom the Wheelchair Transformer Man.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New tech for low-vision computer users

Computer use for people with low-vision is getting better and better with new assistive technology. 

Last week, Digital Apex representative Anna Jeffery showcased such products in the Assistive Technology Lab like the ZoomText with image reader as well as ZoomText for Mac and magnilink student.
Trainees try out the software
for low-vision in the AT Lab.

Digital apex recently announced its newest featured product MagniLink S, from Low Vision International, (LVI). This video magnifier allows a visually impaired student to be equal to their peers in the classroom. 
Digital Apex rep Anna Jeffery shows
students how to use ZoomText.

The new MagniLink Student is easily carried between home, school or work, and is deployed in seconds. The MagniLink Student comes with the latest technology for superior image quality and is easy and fast to connect to a computer – or directly to a monitor. It can even read text aloud.  

Learn more about Digital Apex products at

Monday, November 4, 2013

Free online webinar: Affordable Care: The Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Process

The Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP) will present a FREE online interactive training, “Affordable Care: The Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Process,” on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. MST.

This free training will be presented by Chase Merrill, Health Insurance Marketplace Outreach and Enrollment Navigator for the Cache Valley Community Health Centers. Chase will cover the Individual Insurance Mandate, Marketplace insurance plan classification, ways to complete the marketplace application, basic marketplace qualifications, tax subsidies, and FAQs. 

Chase is a Utah State University graduate in business administration and marketing. He helps guide the uninsured and under-insured through the application process with the goal of obtaining health insurance for themselves and their families. The Health Insurance Marketplace was established by the Affordable Care Act, and open enrollment goes until March 31st, 2014. Chase is a Federally Certified Applications Counselor (CAC), and also speaks Spanish. You may send him an e-mail at

In order to participate, you will need a computer with high-speed Internet access. If you are interested in participating please RSVP by Monday, Nov. 11, to Storee Powell via email, or call 435-797-7412. Participant instructions will be emailed to you.

If you are a screen reader user please contact Sachin Pavithran at 435-797-6572 or, no later than Friday, Nov. 8, to make arrangements to participate via phone. If you need any other accommodations in order to participate in the training please let Sachin know by this date also.

Please feel free to pass on this information to anyone that you think might be interested.

Assistive Technology Fact Sheet

The Disability Law Center of Utah has made this assistive technology fact sheet available to the public. Click on the images to view them in a larger version. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Treats, no tricks, for CReATE

Happy Halloween! October has been a month full of treats for CReATE, UATP's non-profit intiative to refurbish donated mobility equipment and make it available at a low-cost to Utahn's with disabilities. 

The press conference and open house on the 1st was a success! Thanks to those who attended and participated. Information highlighted includes CReATE's improved efficiency at getting wheelchairs out the door, a greater variety of devices available, and how the program has evolved since it's founding in 2007. 

The CReATE team speaks to a crowd of professionals
and community members about the program.
CReATE chair recipient, Larry O'Sullivan, left; Tom Boman, CReATE technician, middle;
Faye Hauser, CReATe office manager.
The CReATE facility has undergone renovations recently
to make the refurbishing process more efficient. 
Also spotlighted was the Newbie award given to CReATE in 2009 by the Pass It On Center, a national collaboration for the reutilization and coordination of assistive technology. The award recognized CReATE's efforts to put affordable mobility equipment into the hands of people who need it.
The Newbie Award given to CReATE in 2009 is made of
recycled material to symbolize the reuse of assistive technology.
Another highlight of the open house was Gordon Richins', CReATE wheelchair recipient and Center for Persons with Disabilities employee, ride in the Action Track Wheelchair. The device is built to go over difficult terrain and provide access to wilderness activities. 

CReATE got five wheelchairs out to the community in the month of October. View the current inventory of devices available online

If you'd like to donate a used wheelchair to CReATE, call 801-887-5064. Thanks to all those who support CReATE! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Limits raised for small grants for assistive technology

Thanks to recent generous contributions and continued other funding, the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation has raised the amount it's able to give in small grants from $250 to $400.
Small grants can also be used
towards a wheelchair from CReATE.

Small grants can be used to purchase assistive technology such as mobility equipment, communication devices,  
hearing aids and more.

Utahns with disabilities at 150% of the poverty level qualify for a small grant from UATF. Learn more and find applications at

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cache Valley restaurant Thanksgiving dinner fundraiser for Options

Angie's Restaurant of Cache Valley is continuing a generous tradition of the free Thanksgiving Dinner fundraiser for Options for Independence.  
Saboor & Kristine Sahely provide this Thanksgiving Dinner free of charge for individuals and families here in Cache Valley. Donations received go Options for Independence an independent living center for people with disabilities. 

Options provides a variety of services for individuals and families with disabilities and the disability community. Gobble gobble!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Access Board Webinars on Playground Surfaces and Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas

The next webinars in the U.S. Access Board's free monthly series will cover accessible play surfaces and new guidelines the Board issued for outdoor developed areas on Federal sites. These webinars were originally planned for earlier this month but were rescheduled due to the government shutdown.
The accessible developmental playground at
the Center for Persons with Disabilities.

Webinar on Accessible Play Surfaces: November 7, 2:30 – 4:00 (ET)

In this session, Board staff and a representative from the National Center on Accessibility (NCA) will present results from a recently completed study on playground surfaces that assessed how well various types of surface systems, including engineered wood fiber, poured in place rubber, and rubber tiles, perform over time. NCA conducted this research with funding from the Board. (A webinar on accessible prescription drug labels previously scheduled for this date has been postponed.)

Webinar on Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas: November 8, 2:30 – 4:00 (ET)

In September, the Board issued accessibility guidelines for outdoor areas developed by the federal government, including trails, picnic and camping areas, and beach access routes. In this webinar, Board representatives will review scoping and technical requirements of the new guidelines which will become effective as part of the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards on November 25.

For more information, including registration instructions, visit Questions for the webinars can be submitted in advance through this website.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

CReATE on Aggie TV News

Catch CReATE (Citizen's Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment) on Aggie TV News this week! The news clip appears at 19:12 minutes and gives an overview of how the nonprofit initiative of UATP assists Utahns in getting refurbished mobility devices like power wheelchairs. 

See CReATE's latest inventory of refurbished mobility devices online. Have a chair to donate? Give us a call at 801-887-9398.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Free online webinar: Assistive Technology for Seniors

The Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP) will present a FREE online interactive training, “Assistive Technology for Seniors,” on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. MST.

This free training will be presented by Amy Henningsen,
Adapted utensils are low-tech devices.
occupational therapist and assistive technology specialist, for the Center for Persons with Disabilities. Amy will present a variety assistive technology device available to seniors to help them maintain their independence. Simple, low-tech products as well as high-tech products will be demonstrated in the area of activities of daily living (ADL’s) such as mobility, bathing, dressing, eating, meal preparation, household chores, etc.

Amy Henningen, occupational therapist
& assistive technology specialist
Amy is a registered occupational therapist, and is a 1974 graduate of Eastern Michigan University. She is certified in Neurodevelopmental Treatment in Pediatrics and as an Assistive Technology Practitioner. She has over 30 years of experience working with developmental disabilities in a variety of settings. She currently provides direct and consultative services for the Up to 3 Early Intervention Program, and is a member of the UATP.

In order to participate, you will need a computer with high-speed Internet access. If you are interested in participating please RSVP by Monday, Oct. 28, to Storee Powell via email, or call 435-797-7412. Participant instructions will be emailed to you.

If you are a screen reader user please contact Sachin Pavithran at 435-797-6572 or, no later than Friday, Oct. 25, to make arrangements to participate via phone. If you need any other accommodations in order to participate in the training please let Sachin know by this date also.

Please feel free to pass on this information to anyone that you think might be interested.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Did you hear? Join in the free Assistive Listening Technology Seminar

Do you have a hearing loss? Help is available! Join the Hard of Hearing Outreach Program of the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation to learn about technology-related options for help with hearing loss.

Where: Legacy House of Logan 300 E. 1400 N.
When: October 9, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.  
What: Amplification systems for help in conversation, Amplified phones; captioned phone systems, Amplified and flashing alarms for the home. These are only a few of the many ways that technology can help you! 
Who: Open to the public – help for all ages! 

This service is free, but please RSVP. Attendance is limited and registration is required. Please sign up contacting Kate Seader, Hard of Hearing Outreach Assistant, Cache and Rich Counties, 541-230-5655 or 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Free online webinar: Accessibility with the iPad

The Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP) will present a FREE online interactive training, “Accessibility with the iPad,” on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. 

This free training will be presented by Andrew Porter, Utah
iPad by Apple
State University Apple Representative. Apple products are renowned in the disability community for their ‘out-of-the-box’ accessibility. The training will present iPad basics and quick user tips, with the main focus on the integrated accessibility features of the iPad as well as some accessibility apps.

Andrew Porter, a self-proclaimed "app"aholic, has always had an interest in technology and computers. Andrew’s life was changed about five years ago when he bought his first Apple MacBook laptop. Andrew worked at the USU Campus Store's AggieTech department as a sales associate, and is currently the Campus Rep for Apple at Utah State University.

In order to participate, you will need a computer with high-speed Internet access. If you are interested in participating please RSVP by Tuesday, Oct. 8, to Storee Powell via email, or call 435-797-7412. Participant instructions will be emailed to you.

If you are a screen reader user please contact Sachin Pavithran at 435-797-6572 or, no later than Friday, Oct. 4, to make arrangements to participate via phone. If you need any other accommodations in order to participate in the training please let Sachin know by this date also.

Please feel free to pass on this information to anyone that you think might be interested.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CReATE, wheelchair reuse program, to re-open to public

Media Advisory:  Sept. 25, 2013

For Immediate Release Contact: Storee Powell, public relations specialist at the Utah Assistive Technology Program – office (435)797-7412, cell (208)360-2376, email

CReATE's inventory of mobility devices
available to Utahans with disabilities.
When: Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 at 2 p.m.

Where: CReATE (Citizen’s Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment)
Judy Ann Buffmire Building
1595 W. 500 S.
Salt Lake City, UT 84104

Who: CReATE staff and former beneficiaries of the program (various Utahns with disabilities)

What: Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment (CReATE) has recently undergone changes to emphasize quick service and a wide variety of mobility device selection. To raise awareness of this vital service, CReATE will re-open to the public October 1st starting with a press conference, featuring Utahns who have received chairs. CReATE is a non-profit that serves Utahns with disabilities by providing low-cost mobility equipment. Wheelchairs and scooters are donated from the community, and cleaned and refurbished to manufacturer standards by a technician. Utahns can get one for the cost of refurbishment – under $500. Trained technicians match people to appropriate chairs, and unused devices are recycled keeping them out of landfills.

Why: The need for low-cost mobility equipment for Utahns with disabilities is critical. Most insurances, including Medicaid and Medicare, only pay for a mobility device like a power wheelchair ever three to five years. Often, individuals need an auxiliary chair for travel or other purposes. Mobility is essential to life, and CReATE helps keep people independent by providing it at a low-cost. Raising awareness of this service is important to help people learn how to get a mobility device or donate one.


CReATE ( is an initiative of the Utah Assistive Technology Program under Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. Learn more about UATP online at

Monday, September 23, 2013

AT, a celebrity and fun at the UCAT 2013 Annual Open House

It's time for the annual open house at our partner, UCAT (Utah Center for Assistive Technology)!

UCAT Annual Open House Flier
Oct. 1st, UCAT will be showcasing the newest assistive technology devices. Vendors and staff will show the latest in wheelchairs, modified vehicles, augmentative communication, adaptive computer technology, independent living aids, ipad apps and give out over $150.00 in gift cards as door prizes. 

Also, meet extreme sportsman and motivational speaker, Clay Egan. He'll be showing off his rock crusher! Enjoy refreshments and a demo of the Actiontrack Wheelchair.

UATP will be a vendor to highlight the Citizen’s Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment (CReATE) Grand Re-Opening. Join us at 2:00 p.m. for a showcasing of the program and see our inventory of reutilized mobility equipment available to the public. More details to come.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

AT Council meets to discuss current status of UATP

Nothing brings together a group like awesome food! Tuesday, AT Council members met and scarfed down Pier 49 pizza while discussing what's been going with UATP.

The AT Council is an advisory committee to UATP, providing feedback on our initiatives. 

The Utah Assistive Technology Program is looking for new members to join the AT Council. Members are not paid, although lunch is included at the bi-annual meetings. 

Meetings generally occur in March and September. Help with transportation can be arranged - meetings are in Salt Lake City.

UATP is looking for individuals (over 18 years of age) who are Utahns with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, seniors, or students with disabilities. 

We want more public input on UATP activities so we can learn how to better serve Utahns with disabilities. If you meet the above description, and are interested, email Storee Powell at 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Open house and youth activities at Options

Mark your calendars for all the fun coming up at Logan's Options for Independence!

An open house on Oct. 2nd will celebrate Options' new location. Come check out the new space, enjoy
Come meet Options' friendly
staff at the Open House!
refreshments and learn about the services provided. It will be from 4 to 6 p.m. at 106 E. 1120 N. Logan. All are welcome!

Options youth program focuses on provided activities for youth with disabilities. Here's what's coming up this fall:

  • Thursday, October 8th from 4:00 to 6:00: a lesson on basic money management and getting shakes.
  • Wednesday October 16th at 11:00: attending a matinee of a world famous blues concert at the Eccles theater with the option of going out to lunch at the Center Street Grill after for those who would like to stay. Rides to this activity are available. The matinee is free, you are responsible for your own lunch cost.
  • Saturday, October 19th: Going to FRIGHTMARES at Lagoon. If enough people go, a group discount is available, so the cost will be about $35. Options will provide transportation and lunch. Bring your own spending and snack money.
  • Saturday October 26th: a zombie walk fundraiser for OPTIONS. More details forthcoming!

If you are interested in any of these activities, please call 435-753-5353 or email Jennie at