Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Alex gets new wheels

Growing up fast means 8-year-old Alex needed a new wheelchair. Martha and Dennis Harrison brought grandson Alex to the AT Lab to see what magic Clay could do.

After finding an appropriate-sized chair in storage, Clay and Cameron were able to take parts off of other wheelchairs to complete the new one. He tried it out Monday, and it fit great.

Martha said, "This wheelchair means independence for me. It was very hard to go places in the old chair. I'd have to ask a stranger to help me get him back in the wheelchair once in the van, and while no one has ever told me no, there isn't always someone available."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Apple app is a screen reader for on the go!

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Disability Law Center's 2014 Public Hearing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

Possibilities: Smart Homes for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

By Erin Hough
Disability Law Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about Colorado's Smart Home's.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fourteen breaks a record at CReATE

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your continued support of CReATE!