The Center on Disabilities and Human Development Monthly Newsletter
Tools for Life 2017
Students had the opportunity to observe and learn interview techniques during this seminar. Attire was also a topic, as you can see in the image above.
During the Reality Town skill seminar, students were given fake "lives," consisting of real world problems. Such as, budgeting emergencies, and careers.
AT Staff poses in wild costumes during the conference.
13th Annual Tools for Life
By: Bryce Lambert

Earlier this month, Pocatello hosted the 2017 Tools for Life: Secondary Transition and Assistive Technology Fair coordinated by the Idaho Assistive Technology Project. 284 people attended Tools for Life, and 142 of those people were high school students.

"The 2-day conference encompasses more than forty presentations and group activities to expand student knowledge of assistive technology, self-advocacy, college and career readiness," said Daniel Dyer. 

Those who attended were able to take part in the process of the transition out of high school for students and their families. There were sessions on self-advocacy, independent living, employment, post secondary, and assistive technology.

Highlights included keynote speakers Tim Harris, Nina G and Jamie Ellison. Interactive sessions like Reality Town, Avatars, and Interview Skills assisted students in learning and practicing real life skills. Students also enjoyed an evening social with entertainment and a dance.
Attendees were able to also enjoy a night of socializing and dancing once the conference had concluded.
U of I Child and Youth Study Center
Child and Youth Study Center
By Ryan Locke
The CDHD’s Child and Youth Study Center (CYSC) conducts comprehensive psychological assessments for children who may have a neurological disability. Referrals typically come from physicians in the community who suspect a child may be on the autism spectrum; have an intellectual disability, a sensory processing difference, hyperactive and impulsive behavior, and/or problems specific to inattention. Clinicians speak with the child's parents specific concerns specifically focusing on developmental milestones in the child’s early months and years, depending on the age of the child when he/she was referred for evaluation and current behavior concerns.
Depending on the referral question, a variety of standardized assessments are administered. Parents and teachers complete behavior and adaptive functioning ratings, and the clinician observes the child and notes developmental differences. Most specifically; cognitive level, language (expressive and receptive), fine and gross motor ability, level of emotionality, sensory seeking or avoiding, and if there are any restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior.
The CYSC traces its origins to circa 2002 when Dr. Rand Walker of Education and Psychological Services was asked to do supervision at his office by the Washington State University clinical psychology department. His work in that capacity lasted from 2002 to 2005. Due the overwhelming need and interest, he was convinced that a formal program for supervision of students was needed and the present Child and Youth Study Center was founded in the summer of 2005 for that purpose. Dr. Gwen Mitchell took over as the program’s director 2010.
The CYSC’s newest research project began early this year and will continue through the end of the year. Referrals for an autism spectrum evaluation, and those who agree to participate, will be placed in one of two conditions for evaluation.

Half of the evaluations will be conducted remotely. Using the Naturalistic Observation Diagnostic Assessment (NODA) app on their smart phone, parents capture four 10-minute video clips, in each of the following settings: play with others, independent play, mealtime, and parent concern, and upload the files to the Behavior Imagining website. Dr. Mitchell completes the assessment by viewing the files and “tagging” behaviors that are required to make a diagnosis of autism, as well as behaviors that are often seen as associated features of autism.
The other half is evaluated using the traditional method mentioned earlier. This National Institute of Mental Health grant is investigating the length of time it takes from initial contact with a clinic and when a diagnostic determination is made. In many places, the waiting list is up to a year to get an appointment for an evaluation. As early intervention for all neurological disorders is shown to have the most promising long-term outcome, it is hypothesized that this naturalistic method of assessment will decrease the waiting time for a diagnosis, and enable parents to get their child into intervention as quickly as possible.
Once the study concludes, the CYSC hopes to ultimately disseminate the data in peer reviewed journals and present the findings at conferences next year.

Strengthening Families Training Institute Presentation
Raising a child with a disability: Real stories-protective factors and strong families
Melissa Crist, MS and Jane Zink MA from IdahoSTARS presented at the 18th annual Strengthening Families Training Institute in Boise, ID on March 22nd. The presentation provided real stories from families raising a child with a disability and how the protective factors help them stay strong. They shared information on community supports, social/emotional communication, parenting strategies, opportunities for advocacy and other resources. The presentation identified the providers role in helping meet the unique needs of families with children with disabilities.
CDHD Trainees go to Washington!
2017 Disability Policy Seminar
By Olivia Lebens and Amber Thompson

Disability Policy Seminar, March 20-22, 2017

University of Idaho staff met with the Idaho delegation after attending the disability policy seminar in Washington, DC.

Interdisciplinary coordinator, Olivia Lebens, attended with current trainee Amber Thompson and past trainee and advocate Jen Magelky-Seiler.

The focus of this year’s policy seminar was the American Health Care Act, Medicaid, and advocacy. Over 900 people attended the conference and visited with their state delegates on the hill to share their stories.   All four Idaho delegate offices visited with CDHD staff and trainees.

“We personally met and spoke with trainees from California, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Utah.  I thought it was amazing to see so many people come together for such a great cause.” Amber Thompson

On the Hill! Olivia Lebens, Amber Thompson and Jen Magelky-Seiler visit Idaho's Delegation. 
"I have learned that stories can impact policy.” Amber Thompson  From (left to right) Amber, Olivia, Candace Gingrich and Jen pose for a picture after the closing keynote.
Networking Amber (kneeling) meets with an Illinois advocate.
Spuddy Buddy in D.C. (Above) Jen Magelky-Seiler and Amber Thompson representing Idaho. 
AT Corner
Assistive Technology a good idea
Assistive Technology: A Good IDEA
By Jessilyn Matthias

          Hello again! For this edition, I wanted to talk a little about assistive technology and how important it can be for educating students who have a disability. In 2004, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was created to provide qualifying students with devices and services needed to give each student a free and public education. Since then, there have been several modifications and updates to this Act. In these parameters, assistive technology is defined as any item or service that can be used by a student who has a disability. An AT service is any service or person provided to assist with the selection or use of an AT item.

            IDEA requires schools to provide AT that allows a student with a disability to participate and be included in the typical classroom environment. Devices and/or services are noted in the student’s Individual Education Plan, and schools are required to provide services at no cost to the student’s family.

            Education is very important to me. Growing up, my family insisted that I do well in school and that my own disability of cerebral palsy would not be an excuse for not having a successful life. Today, I have a Master’s of Science degree and I’m focused on helping others reach his or her own greatness. AT has the potential to not only improve educational opportunities for students with a disability but help students transition into a meaningful life.

For more information about the IDEA act and AT, please visit

Save the date

April 5-7 - Federal Programs Conference, Boise ID

April 22 - Walk and Roll Disability Acceptance Event, Moscow School District Community Playfields Moscow ID Registration Link

April 23-29 - Week of the Young Child, Botanical Garden Boise, ID
April 24 - artAbility Showcase, 5:00 - 7:00 PM at the 1912 Center - Moscow ID
Artability 2017 Showcase
Center on Disabilities and Human Development
The CDHD Insider is a newsletter for CDHD staff, partners, and community. It is a tool used by the Center to keep everyone informed on the day to day work that is being performed and things to look forward to in the near future.

April 2017

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Center on Disabilities and Human Development

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Moscow, ID 83843