CDHD Awards
Chair of Assistive Technology Act Programs
Janice Carson, PhD, was elected as the Chair for the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP). The association is a national, member-based non-profit organization, comprised of state Assistive Technology Act Programs funded under the Assistive Technology Act (AT Act). ATAP facilitates the coordination of state AT Programs nationally and provides technical assistance and support to its members.
Janice Carson, PhD.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Robin Greenfield, PhD, was awarded the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD) Lifetime Achievement Award. This award was presented at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference. This conference was held October 4-5 in Nampa.
Photo from Left to Right: Robin Greenfield, PhD, and Andrea Cox. Dr. Greenfield is holding her lifetime Achievement Award.
Autism Speaks Award
Richelle Tierney was awarded the Grassroots Organizer Award from Autism Speaks. Richelle received this award for her work on Idaho Autism Insurance Reform. Idaho became the 47th state, in April, to mandate private health insurance companies to provide coverage for autism therapies. This new coverage will begin January 2019.
Photo from Left to Right: Benn Brocksome, Richelle Tierney, Lana Gonzales, and Kristen-Lee Morris. Richelle is holding her Grassroots Organizer Award.
Conferences and Presentations
Medicaid Expansion and Disabilities Informational Presentation
B y Jacqueline Baxter

I was very happy that I was able to attend the Medicaid expansion “Prop 2” seminar, mainly due to the fact that I was not very educated on the topic, and wanted to be able to vote on the proposition in November. The seminar was hosted in three different locations including Boise, Moscow, and Idaho Falls.

I was able to learn about the huge number of people in our state that were currently in the “gap” of not qualifying for Medicaid, yet still falling below the poverty line and not being afford other types of healthcare themselves. Another big take-away that I got was that even without passing proposition 2, each individual county is already paying for this health care through different avenues from taxes. The meeting was very informative and I especially liked that all questions were so welcomed. I was happy to see that the proposition was passed on November 6th, allowing so many people to gain access to health care coverage. 
Association of University Centers on Disabilities "We All Belong Here"
Approximately 1,000 people from around the nation and territories arrived in Washington D.C. for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) 2018 Annual Conference. CDHD staff, the Community Advisory Committee Chair, and several partners attended. There were four poster presentations from CDHD.

Janice Carson, PhD, Andy Scheef, PhD, and Alison Lowenthal, presented "Inclusive Idaho: Statewide Inter-Agency Initiatives to Promote Competitive Integrated Employment for All." Gwen Mitchell, PhD., and Melissa Crist presented "Does Pre-Service General Education Coursework Prepare New Teachers?".

Cari Murphy, PhD, and Shawn Wright gave a presentation on "Online Learning Accessibility: Empowering Teaching through Universal Design Principles." Dr. Scheef and Dr. Carson presented "Using Peer Support Arrangements to Promote Positive Post-School Outcomes for Students with Developmental Disabilities".
Cari Murphy, PhD, and Shawn Wright with their poster "Online Learning Accessibility: Empowering Teaching Through Universal Design Principles."
Janice Carson, PhD, and Andy Scheef, PhD, with their poster "Using Peer Support Arrangements to Promote Positive Post-School Outcomes for Students with Developmental Disabilities"
Andy Scheef, PhD, Alison Lowenthal, and Janice Carson, PhD, with their poster "Inclusive Idaho: Statewide Inter-Agency Initiative to Promote Competitive Integrated Employment for All."
Melissa Crist and Gwen Mitchell, PhD, with their poster "Pre-Service teacher Knowledge and Understanding of Working with Children on the Autism Spectrum."
American Evaluation Association Conference "Evaluation-Speaking Truth to Power"
Cari Murphy, PhD., and Lily Robb, from Idaho SESTA, presented at the annual American Evaluation Association conference in Cleveland, OH on November 2nd.

Their presentation, “The Power of Training Review Meetings”, covered the two-part training review process that they used as internal evaluators to engage SESTA trainers in dialogue on their data. Consistent with a learning approach to evaluation, the training review process encourages staff reaction on their data, and, ultimately, facilitates use of their data to make improvements in trainings individually and programmatically. Cari and Lily shared the templates and guiding questions they used collaboratively with training leads in summarizing training data, and the protocols and infographics they used to present the data for group reaction, dialogue, and learning.
SESTA Essential Components Conference Series
Idaho SESTA hosted 6 separate trainings across the state of Idaho regarding the essential components of the IEP Process. These trainings were hosted in Moscow, Coeur d'Alene, Nampa, Idaho Falls, Boise, and Twin Falls. In the month of October and beginning of November over 336 educators from all different communities around Idaho came to solidify their understanding of the special education process. They collaborated with other teachers, for 7 hours, did hands-on activities, and gained information on topics such as Referral and the IEP. This training was designed at the beginner level making it ideal to both new and experienced special education teachers which was represented by the wide variety of attendees present.
Creating Accessible Documents
By Jessilyn Matthias

Every day, we read a plethora of signs, screens, documents, and other printed materials to get information about our world. In the past, individuals with a visual impairment could not independently use written information unless it was translated to Braille. Access to visual cues or graphics to receive information, instructions, or entertainment was also limited for people with disabilities. There are now a variety of embedded software tools that label electronic text and images to make them usable for screen readers and other technologies that help people who have low-vision or need assistance to turn pages or read documents. A screen reader operates on a computer by seeing text, or graphics (with captions) and using voice generating software to read the words on the screen to the user. Alternatively, loose pages can be fed through a scanner and read via word recognition software on a computer. More recently, there are apps that allow a user to photograph a document which is then read aloud. For these options to work however, a document must be appropriately formatted for the contents to be properly understood. In this article, I will point out some simple features in Microsoft Word 2013 that writers should use so everyone can communicate easily.

You can begin to check your document for accessibility by clicking on the File tab on the menu above your document and clicking the “check for issues” box next to Inspect Document. A menu will drop down with three options, including Check Accessibility. By choosing that option, (see graphic at the top) a panel appears on the right side of the screen showing “Inspection Results.” There will be a list shown in the text field that indicates potential problems that you can fix to increase the accessibility of whatever you are writing. Most problems are fixed automatically when clicked on. Instructions on how to fix other problems are revealed when remaining menu items are clicked on. They are usually simple to fix, and you can search for questions or other information by choosing the Microsoft Word Help “?” menu icon, or the online tool “Read more about making documents accessible” in blue at the bottom of the panel. Images in your document should have captions that can be read by screen readers. To make captions, simply right-click on the image, and scroll down to the “insert caption” option. An information box will appear where you can provide a title and/or describe the item. Providing an “alternative text” allows a user with a screen reader to know there is a graphic in your document, and what it contains.  

All users should be able to access and use information, regardless of sight, hearing, or physical impairments. By using accessible features in your documents, you provide a way for everyone to understand what you have to say. Communication is important, and you can use technology to make it easier for everyone to imagine the future. 
AT Loan Program Provides a Chair for a Woman's Adventures
grit freedom chair
By Jessilyn Matthias

Many people enjoy the great outdoors—hiking trails, fishing, exploration, and hunting are typical endeavors. For people who have disabilities, outdoor freedom is a little more daunting, both to find equipment and paying to get it. For Destiny, it was worth the wait to bring the world to her feet, and make her dream voyages a reality. 

The Idaho Assistive Technology Loan Program of the University of Idaho Center on Disabilities and Human Development recently paid for a Freedom Chair for Destiny to make her own roads. She is 18 years old and has multiple disabilities, but still has a life and hobbies to pursue. According to Destiny, “This chair will help me get out to do daily activities and will encourage me to go do the hobbies I love, like hunting, fishing and wheelchair hiking. It can do this because it was made for the city and outdoors.”

The GRIT Freedom Chair ($3,500) is a manual wheelchair that features fatter tires and push-pull handles. These modifications take anyone off the payment and onto adventurous sandy, snowy, or uneven terrain.

For more information about the AT loan program, please contact Krista Kramer at
208-885-6097 or
artAbility Workshop
ArtAbility participants collaborating on a piece.
By Jessilyn Matthias

The artAbility project’s newest workshop series features the charcoal-and-cardboard drawings of Moscow artist Thad Froio. In addition to charcoal, Thad also works magic with tattoo ink at his shop Harry and Lloyd’s, also located in Moscow, Idaho.
Teaching the techniques of smearing, blending, and saturating bright colors, Thad showed participants how to create vibrant art. Thad uses cardboard to create his pieces, which may seem like an unusual medium, but since it is so easy to find, it makes his art form more accessible with an added eco-friendly bonus. His pieces of a female golfer silhouetted against a brilliant orange sun, and a leopard against a deep blue background showed how complex the simple art medium can be.

The first session at the end of October had participants experimenting with charcoal and pastels to create art-scapes on cardboard. Colorful drawings were created and enjoyed by all. For the second workshop, participants were asked to bring pictures of something meaningful to draw. Their completed works reflected personal interests: family members, TV characters, and themselves as superheroes. I even drew my favorite animal—a lizard.

Thanks, Thad, for making this such a great experience. Art truly is for everyone, and can be used to tell unique stories. Join us at the spring Showcase to celebrate creativity and diversity! 
Career Mentoring Day
By Morgan Nash

For the 2018 Career Mentoring Day I had the opportunity to serve as a mentor to high school students as they visited their ideal career field as well as assist with interview skills and resumes.

We started out the morning with fresh fruit, donuts, juice, and a few warm up activities. We began with an ice breaker where a ball of yarn was handed to a student and they were asked to state one thing they liked such as, “I like basketball” or “I like dogs”. If other students and volunteers agreed they would raise their hand and the person holding the ball of yarn would grab a hold of a piece of yarn while tossing the whole ball to a person of their choice who had their hand raised.

This game was continued until each person held on to a piece of the ball of yarn. The purpose of this activity was to show how we're all connected. After the ice breaker, students were sent off to their ideal career sites with their mentors.

Students and volunteers conducting mock interviews.
I was lucky enough to accompany a student named Bailey who was interested in digital design. We headed to the Art and Architecture building on University of Idaho's Moscow campus. We had the opportunity to visit a class of college students who were working on their 3-D digital designs. Bailey and I both enjoyed the tour and demonstrations and learned a lot. The student expressed a lot of interest in the field and plans to pursue a career in the field of digital design. Career Mentoring Day 2018 was a success!
Trainee Corner
Group Training
By Lynsey Fenter

On October 15th, our trainees had their second group training of the fall semester. With election season quickly approaching there was an emphasis on voting accessibility.

Mike Gates, a member of the Moscow Chapter of the Self Advocate Leadership Network, gave us a presentation on the importance of advocacy and voting. During his presentation Mike also showed us an accessible voting booth. He showed all of the different features that are included with this machine. Mike's presentation was extremely informational and left myself and other trainees feeling prepared for the voting season.

Our last group training of the semester was on November 26th. Janet Mundell, a speech and language pathologist (SLP), spoke to us about her work in the Moscow School District. She discussed with us the different settings that a SLP works in, what her personal day to day activities look like, and answered our many questions regarding her work. We all really enjoyed having Janet speak to us about her profession!
Book Club
By Laura Hannon

The student-led interdisciplinary book club had its final meeting of the semester November 27. The club meets three times each semester at a local coffee shop to discuss a book that challenges how we view culture and disabilities.

This fall, students read the award-winning book Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. The main character, a 5th grader named Melody, has cerebral palsy and utilizes assistive technology to communicate. Book club members enjoyed discussing communication devices, integrated classrooms, and overcoming expectations.

Book club reads two books a year and is funded by local grants. If you’re interested in some thought-provoking literature, stop by the book club library in our Moscow office at the front desk and borrow a good book!
Boise Trip
By Kat Moffis

On the 24th of October Olivia Lebens and three CDHD Trainees, Lynsey Fenter, Andrew Martinez, and I headed down to Boise, ID for the Idaho Partnerships Conference (CDHD was a sponsor of the event) and other learning opportunities.

We were up bright and early in order to make it to the Boise State University (BSU) campus for the Keynote Speaker, Kyle Cease. Cease gave an inspirational speech about doing things that scare you, as it might just be the best step forward. 

After lunch we left the BSU campus to go to Lotus Tree, to speak with Laurie Appel. At Lotus tree, we learned about craniosacral therapy and what it means to be an occupational therapist for children. Once we said our goodbyes to Laurie, we were done for the day. 

On Friday we started our day by visiting Northwest Neurobehavioral Health. Laura Curtis and Dr. Jeffrey Hall gave us a tour of the facility and then sat down with us to tell us about how they started their business and what a day in their lives looks like. 

At 11:00am we made our way over to Southwest Idaho Treatment Center (SWITC) where we were able to speak with two of the residents about their experiences of living there. After that we were given a tour of the grounds and their new secure facility.
From left to right: trainees Kat Moffis, Andrew Martinez, and Lynsey Fenter standing in front of SWITC.
Once finished at SWITC, we met with Anne Kuhlmeier, a Speech and Language Pathologist at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation. There we learned more about assistive technology and its alternatives.

To end our time in Boise we met up with a past CDHD Trainee who is now a social worker in the hospital setting; she told us a little bit about what the process looks like and what her day to day can be. Overall, the trip gave us insights into what we want to do in the future.
save the date 2018
7 - Fall commencement, UI
17 - Winter recess begins
22-1/1 - CDHD offices closed to the public

2 - CDHD offices reopen to public
22 - Autism Insurance Implementation Workshop
29 - Fred Riggers Annual Disability Awareness Day