CDHD Announcements
Sue House Retires
Sue House, our Idaho AT Equipment Lending Library Coordinator, retired on October 30th 2020. Sue originally started working at CDHD as the Information and Referral Specialist for the AT project in 1999. When asked what her retirement plans were Sue mentioned the following:
“I am looking forward to spending more time with my husband who has had some health issues during the past several years. Once COVID lets up, I will be able to spend more time with my children and their families. I miss having the opportunity to visit them. We also hope to visit ghost towns around the state of Idaho. I have more time to enjoy my hobbies, which include sewing, scrapbooking and, when weather permits, gardening!”

Sue had a special message for the staff of CDHD that she wanted to share:
“I want you all to know you have a special place in my heart. The Center and the Idaho AT Project were my home away from home for so many years that there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think back at my many years there. Meetings, laughter, collating papers, filling file folders, ArtWalk and artAbility, fighting with copy machines and printers, moving our cars every three hours (early days on Third St), attending conferences, hosting conferences, watching trainees learn and grow, potlucks with great food and friendship, and watching old staff leave as new staff arrived… these are memories I cherish. It has been an honor to work with you and even more special to call you dear friends. Keep up the great work! I am one of your biggest fans!"
New Employee Budimir Markovic
We would like to welcome Budimir Markovic to the CDHD team! He will support both the AT Project and the Idaho Project for Children and Youth with Deaf-Blindness as a Project Assistant. Budimir is originally from Norwalk Connecticut but spent most of his life in Ohio. He graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2015. Following graduation, he moved to Colorado where he lived with his girlfriend. Budimir will be joining us in our Moscow office.

Budimir had the following to say:
“During these unprecedented times, I feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to support such as amazing group of individuals providing valuable services across the state of Idaho and beyond. I’m already learning so much! I’m excited to get to know everyone, and I can’t wait to get to meet everyone in person hopefully soon! Don’t be shy to drop a line and say hello anytime!” 
New Self-Advocacy Website Launching Soon
By Jessilyn Matthias

I would like to tell everyone about the start of a new online educational resource I have created. The webpage, titled “ Leadership at Its Best: Self-Advocacy Training” promotes choosing one’s own direction in life, and learning to ask others for help. Self-Advocacy is important for people who have disabilities to determine the direction of their own lives to live a full life.

I have worked at the Center on Disabilities and Human Development for about four years now, and I am involved in a variety of activities, such as assisting with the Idaho Living Well grant project, writing articles for the CDHD Newsletter, and helping to recruit for and organize our Community Advocacy Committee meetings. Recently, I have begun to branch out in my own community to be an advocate for my friends and others who are affected by disabilities. Growing up with cerebral palsy, I remember standing up for myself and never being afraid to express my opinions. I did not have any idea what self-advocacy was at the time, but I always thought speaking my mind was easy. Now, I understand self-advocacy takes a lot of knowledge and work. I also know I cannot do it all myself. I’m interested in teaching others everything I have learned, and continue to learn, about self-advocacy.

Self-Advocacy means speaking up for what you want, and often that includes talking to others and getting their help. My emphasis is on leadership and communication skills. Leadership is important because it gives a person direction and goals. The values of Vision, Courage, Honesty, Focus, and Cooperation are explained, along with reasons why each is important. Communication is the other key. A self-advocate needs skills to share ideas and dreams with others, as well as express things he or she needs help to do.

The website also has an area where I have shared a few articles I have written about my life with cerebral palsy. I also discuss Person-Centered Planning, which is deciding what a person wants to do and when, and who will help. There is also a tab to find other books and websites for resources, as well as inspirational quotes.

Leadership at Its Best will be linked to the main CDHD page at My goal is to create a dialogue with people about self-advocacy and related topics. There will be a blogging section where visitors may ask or respond to questions, as well as an area to add comments and suggestions about the site. Visit frequently for updates and new information! 
I look forward to connecting with readers and engaging in a conversation about how we can all benefit from leading independent and robust lives.
Managing Math
By Jessilyn Matthias

I do not know about my readers, but math has never been my subject. I would copy from my book and watch my teacher at the board, go to the resource room to practice timetables, but nothing seemed to sink in. While I did go on to earn a “C+” in pre-calculus in college, I wish I’d had the awesome math-massacring technology of the modern classroom.

There has long been evidence that everyone learns differently; some like watching or hearing, while others prefer trying something themselves. Students are individuals and naturally have his or her own strengths and weaknesses. There are many options available to assist those of us who need extra help in the numbers department.
Often, “low-tech” solutions such as using graph paper and rulers to assist with number alignment are beneficial. For example, tactile learners can manipulate magnetic or textured numbers to solve equations, and computer programs that speak math problems to the user, pens that record as they write, electronic worksheets, and talking calculators.

Finally, there is a Chrome extension called Equatio that offers features including predictive typing, pre-loaded equations and chemical formulas. Users are also able to handwrite or speak math problems. Users can also translate word problems into math terms.

Math is no longer the boogeyman it once was. AT has levelled the field, and made math something everyone can do, regardless of their perceived weaknesses. Students are able to learn via an amazing array of materials that cater to all abilities. Each of us is smart in our own way, and benefits from feeling included and competent.

For more information, please visit:
Project Updates
ACT Early Idaho
In September 2020, Act Early Idaho, the newest project of the Center on Disabilities and Human Development was funded by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Act Early Idaho is working to support recovery and strengthen resilience skills, behaviors, and resources of children, families, and communities related to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Act Early Idaho will work to expand integration of early identification activities including parent-engaged developmental monitoring using the CDC's "Learn the Signs Act Early" developmental monitoring materials.
Communication Access Program (CAP)
The Idaho Assistive Technology Project is partnering with the Idaho Commission on Aging, Molina Healthcare, and the local Areas on Aging to implement the newly developed Communication Access Program (CAP). In 2017, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declared social isolation and loneliness a global crisis by coining the term “loneliness epidemic”. This is evident as nearly one-third of older adults report experiencing loneliness and social isolation (Berg-Weger & Morley, 2020). Understanding COVID-19 has intensified this situation, this community partnership is working to provide personal amplification devices and distance technology for Idahoans to communicate with family and friends who are in the room or across the country.   

Funding to support this program has been provided through Idaho Commission on Aging CARES Act dollars flow through to the: Area Agency on Aging: Southwest Idaho and Molina Healthcare: Community Champions 2020 Award.

For more information please see the 2020 Community Champions video at:  
COVID-19 Page Provided by SESTA
Idaho SESTA, in close collaboration with the Idaho State Department of Education (SDE), Special Education Department, put together guidance addressing many of the issues and concerns facing school teams as they considered General Education and Special Education services and supports for students with disabilities given the unique circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. An Idaho SESTA COVID-19 Resources and Tools webpage was developed to include SDE resources, other resources and webinars. Informational Padlets were developed on topics such as Assistive Technology and Instructional Design, Behavior Resources and Parent Resources. A Padlet is best described as an online "bulletin" board where links to resources can be placed in a secure location.
Deaf-Blind Project
The Deaf-Blind project is currently producing "The Pause" a new video fact sheet. This four minute video fact sheet is the second in a series providing educational strategies for teachers and families.

Find the first video here:

The project is also providing virtual consultations to teachers and families across the state.
Idaho Pyramid Model Collaborative
The CDHD's Idaho SESTA and IdahoSTARS Projects are partnering with the Idaho State Department of Education, Head Start Collaboration Office, and Boise State University to address early childhood inclusive policies and practices at the state, local program leadership, and early care and education environments level. Together, we are working to improve early childhood outcomes and increase positive social-emotional competencies for all young children through implementation of Pyramid Model practices.

For more information see the Idaho Pyramid Collaborative webpage at:
Child Youth Study Center Welcomes WSU Students
The clinical service project - Child & Youth Study Center (CYSC) is looking forward to hosting three Washington State University (WSU) Clinical Psychology students for their practicum experiences during the spring semester. Once students have completed their Master of Science degrees in clinical psychology, they are eligible to work under a licensed psychologist as a service extender. This not only helps the students receive on-the-job training, it helps the community as we can provide comprehensive diagnostic services to a greater number of children in the community.

Robyn Herbert received her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Kansas, a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from WSU and is in her final year (5th year) in the clinical doctoral program at WSU. This will be the second semester Robyn has been with us at the CYSC as a service extender, and she was a LEND trainee with us last year.

Aurora Brinkman received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and biology from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master of Science degree from WSU. She is in her third year of the clinical doctoral program at WSU. This will be the second semester Aurora has been with us at the CYSC as a service extender.

Jennifer Mattera received her bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology from Providence College in Rhode Island and Master of Science degree from WSU. She is in her third year of the clinical doctoral program at WSU. Jennifer worked with Gwen Mitchell last semester focusing on school psychology. She joins us in the spring as a service extender.
Robyn Herbert
Aurora Brinkman
Jennifer Mattera
2020 AUCD National Conference
Olivia Lebens and Kalley Malone as part of their 2019-2020 LEND leadership project were part of a multidiscipline & multistate team that collaborated on a research project exploring alternatives to guardianship, focusing on medical decision making. The team surveyed and interviewed clinicians, family members, guardians, and self-advocates to learn more about their knowledge base on supported decision making. The team worked extensively with the Protection and Advocacy agency in Utah, Disability Law Center, as they learned about alternatives and tools that can be implanted in place of guardianship, i.e., limited guardianship, advanced directives, and HIPAA. A brochure for clinicians, family members, and self-advocates was created and distributed by the HOME clinic in Salt Lake City, UT and research was presented at the 2020 AUCD Conference.
Trainee Corner
Welcome CDHD 2020-2021 Trainees!
Ellie Chastain
Major: Psychology
Project: SESTA
Logan Dunne
Major: Human Resources
Project: IdahoSTARS
Megan Follett
Major: Child and Youth Development
Project: IdahoSTARS
Melanie Hernandez
Major: International Studies
Project: Living Well
Brittany Hurst
Major: Early Childhood and Family Relations
Project: IdahoSTARS
Jordan Moffis
Major: Journalism and Digital Broadcasting
Project: Dissemination
Ernesto Montes Marques
Major: Psychology
Project: artAbility
Nicole Touchstone
Major: Interior Design
Project: AT
Audrey Murray
Major: Recreation, Sport, and Tourism
Project: Core
Sophie Spanbauer
Major: General Studies
Project: Core
Pictured is Project Director Ernesto teaching a painting workshop via zoom
artAbility Workshops
By Audrey Murray

Due to the pandemic, the CDHD’s artAbility workshops took place over Zoom Fall of 2020. While this was quite different from previous years, it did not prevent participants from learning new art techniques and connecting with their friends and peers. Participants created three acrylic paintings that expressed their emotions through color. Participants were then able to share their paintings to the group and explain what it meant to them and how it made them feel. Generally, brighter colors represented positive emotions and darker colors depicted more negative emotions. However, Ernesto, the instructor, made sure to clarify that every emotion is valid and important to feel. Ernesto supported each individual by teaching brush stroke techniques and giving everyone time to share their own creativity. In uncertain times, this art clinic allowed participants to embrace their emotions, be creative, and engage with others virtually.
ASB Volunteers pose for a group photo in front of their freshly painted wall
Alternate Service Break with CDAR
By Ernesto Montes Marques

The collaboration between the Center on Disability Access and Resources (CDAR) and the Department of Student Involvement resulted in an Alternative Service Break (ASB) trip held on November 14th and 15th, 2020. This ASB trip was oriented around disability. Prior the volunteer service, ASB Volunteers attended two meetings which I facilitated. These meetings were comprised of my presentation on Disability Etiquette, Jessilyn Matthias' Self-Advocacy Presentation, and time for discussing volunteer expectations. On November 14th, 2020, Volunteers worked together to paint a wall and portion of a stairwell for CDAR's Testing Center as requested by CDAR's Director, Amy Taylor. Following the volunteer service, we watched and discussed the movie Crip Camp (2020), a documentary that tells the story of the disability rights movement in the 1970s. On November 15th, 2020 volunteers helped transcribe/digitize texts with the instruction of CDAR's Assistive Technology Specialist, Eric Matson. Through out the meetings and volunteer service, we covered many disability topics such as People First Language, Self-Advocacy, Assistive Technology, and Accessibility to name a few. Additionally, we discussed other topics not specific to disability like Active Citizenship, Open-mindedness, Diversity, and the impact and power flow of activism.