Let's Celebrate!
Ann Parks Retirement Party
June 29, 2019
3:00 PM
Parks Farm
Ann Parks started with the Center on Disabilities and Human Development in the early 1990’s as support to the financial accountant.  She soon took over all aspects of accounting as well as personnel management .

Over the years Ann gained the skills necessary to oversee all fiduciary grant responsibilities in alignment with Federal and University guidelines. She has been a key liaison with central administrative offices on campus such as accounts payable, office of sponsored programs, risk management, internal auditing, UI legal and realty offices, and EHHS. Ann successfully ushered the CDHD through several full scale audits and her accounting compliance skills were meritorious.

Ann has been successful in helping CDHD projects achieve compliance with all systems expectations of which we are grateful. Suffice to say that Ann’s replacement has very large shoes to fill. Her work has always been exemplary! She will be missed.
CDHD Announcements
CDHD Welcomes New Staff
We would like to welcome Melanie Christensen, our new Financial Specialist as of June 3rd.
Melanie Christensen grew up in Southeastern Idaho and has lived there with her husband of 22 years and raised two daughters in the Portneuf Valley. She started her career working in financial institutions and credit unions. She dedicated thirteen years to Idaho State University while also completing a bachelor’s degree in 2016 from Idaho State University with her oldest daughter. She is excited to grow and excel in her career at the University of Idaho CDHD. She enjoys watching sports, and her favorite football team is the San Francisco 49ers.
Melanie Christensen has blue eye shadow and blonde hair with bangs. She is wearing a black jacket with a blue and white patterned shirts.
Alyssa Pietz has brunette hair and wears glasses. She is wearing a black and white stripped shirt.
An Idaho transplant from Washington, Alyssa Pietz joins the Center on Disabilities and Human Development, Boise office, as the new program technician. She was the previous administrative assistant at the U of I Extension, Ada County. Alyssa graduated from the University of Idaho and is a Alpha Gamma Delta alumna, and an adviser for the Delta Upsilon chapter in Boise. When she’s not at work you’ll find her exploring Idaho and finding new adventures with her boyfriend, Patrick, and their Australian Shepherd, Ruby. We would like to welcome Alyssa to the team and are excited to see the things she will add to our community.
Three doctoral students, Howard Fulk, Carrie Hall, and Nicole Lopez, graduated this spring with a Ph.D. in Education. The emphasis of the program at the University of Idaho, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences is designed to prepare prospective university faculty and leaders to teach, conduct and disseminate research, and secure funding for research in the area of autism spectrum disorders and other related disabilities.

Dr. Fulk's dissertation is entitled "Closing Sheltered Workshops: An analysis of Services, Programs, Training and Experiences Leading to Successful Community Employment Outcomes."

Dr. Hall's dissertation is entitled "Training and Supporting General Education Teachers to Promote Inclusive Practices."

Dr. Lopez's dissertation is entitled "Virtual Reality Interview Skills Training for Young Adults with a Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Making Employment a Reality."

Congratulations to you all!!
Two women standing side by side in UI graduation robes.
L to R: Nicole Lopez and Carrie Hall pictured after graduation. Howard Fulk not pictured.
L to R: Aleksandra Hollingshead Ed.D., Carrie Hall, Julie Fodor Ph.D., Gwen Mitchell Ph.D.
SESTA Summer Conference 2019
Idaho SESTA presented their Summer Conference 2019: "Cut the Fluff, Teach the Stuff – Effective Instruction for Special Educators." Over 430 educators across the state registered for the conference. Featured keynote speakers were Anita Archer, Ph.D, in Boise on June 12th and Fort Hall on June 14th, and Charles Hughes Ph.D, in Coeur d’Alene on the June 18. Breakout sessions were offered in the following areas: high-incidence disabilities, low-incidence disabilities, early childhood and general education.
By Jessilyn Matthias

Who knew learning could be so much fun?

With BrailleBuzz, very young children, ages 2-5, practice their Braille skills using the dot-cell characters and audio feedback. A Perkins-style keyboard encourages proper hand placement and prepares them to use similar keyboard devices as they get older.
Both sides of the BrailleBuzz are textured for easy grip and direct the user to the correct buttons. With three types of letter-and-dot learning modes, there are plenty of ways to learn! The first mode associates letter names and sounds, and then says a word that starts with the sound. For example, when “G” is pressed, the audio says “guh, G is for guitar,” and pairs it with a guitar sound.
The second keyboard mode pairs key combinations with a recorded voice that provides the dot numbers. The letter mode announces the Braille cell dot position of the letter, teaching users to associate reading and writing of each alphabet letter.
Kids will love the cute bumble bee design and high contract of the bright yellow keys on the black surface. Parents will love the screw-reinforced battery compartment and easy-to-follow instructions. BrailleBuzz supports alphabet learning and reading readiness, as well as reinforcing braille writing skills that will last a lifetime.
The BrailleBuzz retails for $99.00.
For more information, visit the American Printing House for the Blind, Inc., at
CDHD Collaboration
Federal Programs Conference
CDHD staff sits at the vendor booth display table
Nick Stallings presents in front of an audience of conference attendees.
The CDHD and the Idaho Assistive Technology Project sponsored a vendor booth at the Federal Programs Conference in Boise April 10-12th.

Nicholas Stallings, Southern Idaho Lending Library Coordinator, presented two sessions on "Assistive Technology is NOT only for Students with Disabilities: How Capacity Building Around AT can Benefit All Learners."

Federal Programs is a biennial conference hosted by the Federal Programs Department, The English Learner and Migrant Education Department, and the Special Education Department at the Idaho State Department of Education. This conference provides a well-rounded training opportunity about aspects of federal programs within schools and districts, but is also a place to come and be inspired!
Community NOW!
Statewide training on Person-Centered Thinking topics for Community NOW! took place from May 14th to June 7th. The training team presented to over 600 self-advocates, family members, and providers. Two of the presentations were interpreted in Spanish.

Special thanks to the self-advocates and family members that presented. Kelly and Amber Gardner, Debra Parsons, James Steed, Ned Fowkes, and Noll Garcia for their outstanding leadership and education efforts during the training.
L to R: Ned, Cynthia, Richelle, Noll, Christine, Art, and Blake present in Emmett.
Living Well Grant Update
The CDHD, Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Disability Rights Idaho, have completed the first six months of work on the Idaho Living Well (ILW) project. 
The project seeks to develop strategies to improve the current Home and Community Based service (HCBS) system in Idaho. The grant supports the ongoing work of Community NOW! (CNOW!).
CNOW! is a stakeholders’ group made up of people from around Idaho including adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, family members, service providers, and representatives from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. CNOW! was initially formed by the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities and Medicaid to do work in response to a successful class action lawsuit (K.W. vs. Armstrong) related to budget-setting methodology for adults served through the Medicaid DD Waiver program. CNOW! is supported by multiple organizations, including all current ILW grant partners. Its role is to develop recommendations for systems change and policy to improve Medicaid HCBS services and supports.
During the initial six month planning period, grant goals, objectives, and the work plan were refined with grant partners. Grant supported activities were also started under several grant objectives.      
Another objective under the grant focuses on outreach to the Culturally Responsive Advisory Group (CRAG). This CNOW! work group is made of Latinx adults who have developmental disabilities and Latinx family members who have a child with a developmental disability. The goal is to get the input of work group members to help develop strategies to improve access to Medicaid services and supports for members of the Latinx community. 

Pictured above is the Community NOW! meeting on June 13 th in Boise. 
During that meeting, evaluators for the Administration for Community Living (ACL) presented about how grant partners and Community NOW! are working together to bring about systems change in Idaho. 
To find out more, please contact Jen Magelky-Seiler at or by phone at (208) 885-1181.
Trainee Corner
Young girl in a pink shirt hanging from harness and climbing rope with climbing wall behind her.
Courageous Kids
By Kat Moffis

On April 27th volunteers and participants gathered at the University of Idaho Climbing Wall for 2 hours of fun. The volunteers where comprised of CDHD Trainees, the Pullman Fire Department, and staff of the the climbing center. Children of all ages were given the options to free climb on the bouldering wall or step into a harness and climb several meters into the air.
Overall the day was a success, with many smiling faces and fears faced. This was my first year attending the event and I thought it was a blast. I was able to help several children climb the wall and learn about climbing safety.
Pictured left to right: Lynsey Fenter, Reagan Rockholm, Morgan Nash, and Aaron McNee.
End of Semester Potluck
By Laura Hannon

On Friday May 3 rd, CDHD staff members and student trainees gathered for the annual end of semester potluck. The potluck celebrated trainee accomplishments and the three trainees who graduated from the University of Idaho this spring semester.
Oliva Lebens and Dr. Gwen Mitchell presented the three graduates, Morgan Nash, Lynsey Fenter, and Reagan Rockholm with awards for completing the Interdisciplinary Training Program. Aaron McNee was celebrated and awarded as he will be studying abroad in England next semester.
Trainee Graduates
Lynsey Fenter
wearing a black dress.
Morgan Nash
hugging a child and wearing a black shirt and a backpack.
Reagan Rockholm
wearing a black sweater and pointing.
Congratulation Class of 2019!

Lynsey Fenter accepted a job at UIdaho Center for Disability Access and Resources (CDAR) and is working in a psychology lab at the University of Idaho. Morgan Nash is seeking new adventures in Boise. Reagan Rockholm is attending the University of Denver to work towards a masters in psychology.

We wish these graduates luck in the next chapter of their life!
artAbility Showcase
By Kat Moffis

On April 9th, 2019 the 5th annual artAbility Showcase was held at the Latah County Fairgrounds with nearly 150 people in attendance. The event showcased artwork from local artists created during a series of six workshops. Artists used a variety of mediums including mixed media collage with Rachael Eastman, charcoal on cardboard with Thad Froio, and new this year, poetry with Ashley Centers.
At the showcase artist read their original pieces (bottom picture).
Huge thanks to all who attended and to all the artists!
Pictured is artist Caroline Doty, and Project Director Mia Giglio.
L to R: Mike Gates, Andrew, Jessilyn Matthias, and Ernesto Montes reading poems at the showcase.
LGBTQA Student of the Year
On April 30th at the Lavender Graduation and End of the Year Celebration Mia Giglio received the LGBTQA Student of the Year.
Mia was awarded this title because of her contributions to the LGBTQA community. Her activism encourages other in the community to have a voice of their own and her willingness and enthusiasm during panel events is inspiring.
We are proud to have such an influential and kind trainee here at the Center on Disabilities and Human Development. Congratulations Mia!
23 - 28 - Vandal Summer Academy
25 - " Blessing of Liberty screening" (Twin Falls)

4 - Independence Day (CDHD closed)

5 - 6 - Summer Institute "Creating Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes" - Therese Willkomm, Ph.D. - Boise, ID
8 - "Blessings of Liberty" screening (Idaho Falls)
26 - UI Fall 2019 Classes Begin