Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Technology Tuesday

Periodically we like to use our Technology Tuesday posts to remind people about the Coleman Institute’s Declaration of The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access.

People with cognitive disabilities have an equal right to technology and information access. A coalition of disability organizations and individuals asserted this right in a formal declaration, announced at the Thirteenth Annual Coleman Institute National Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology, held October 2, 2013, in Broomfield, Colorado.

The declaration remains as important today as it was four years ago, and we still have a way to go before the goals outlined in the document become a reality. We encourage our friends and supporters to read this declaration and to affirm their commitment to the equal rights of people with cognitive disabilities to technology and information access by endorsing it.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Want to learn more? Check out:

Implementation Tools page for tips on how-to successfully implement The Declaration

Frequently Asked Questions about The Declaration

Read the article published in Inclusion [pdf] to learn more about why and how this declaration came to be. The article was written by David Braddock, professor of psychiatry and director of the University of Colorado's Coleman Institute, with four co-authors associated with the Coleman Institute.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Raise Some Dough For Out & About On Wednesday

Mark your calendars for this Wednesday, March 29th, and head over to PizzaRev in Lafayette to create your own pizza and raise some dough for Imagine!’s Out & About department! Bring in the flyer (below) or simply mention Out & About, and 20% (perfect for celebrating Out & About’s 20th Anniversary!) of purchases from the day will go to our program!

I can't wait to see you there!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Good News Friday!

Spring may have just sprung, but Imagine!’s Out & About team is already preparing for Summer Camp. Take a sneak peek!
  Can’t see the video? Click here.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Early Intervention Evolution

Back in the early 2000s, what was once known as the Developmental Disabilities Center changed its name to Imagine!. This was an evolutionary move, intentionally undertaken to name our organization in a way that reflected the work we do to discover and develop the potential of all.

While a name change might not seem like much, I remember at the time one particular group of DDC/Imagine! employees who were especially pleased with our new moniker: our Early Intervention (EI) Service Coordinators.

Early Intervention Service Coordinators are often the first contact parents have with the I/DD system, and so the coordinators’ pleasure with the new name was understandable. Think about it: a set of new parents have a child facing challenges that may only be a short term delay, and the first contact they have in order to address those challenges is someone from an organization with “disability” in its name. It is understandable that those parents might react negatively to that unnecessary labeling of their child at such an early stage.

Therefore, a name like Imagine! serves as a much better introduction to parents than a name with “disabilities” in it. Early Intervention services aren’t about pinning a label on an infant or toddler that they will be forced to carry for the rest of their lives, they are about imagining the possibilities available with the right therapies and skill development. This is especially true when you consider that 2/3 of children who receive EI services don’t need additional support once they reach the age of three.

I will admit that my thinking on Early Intervention has also evolved, beginning with the time I learned from Service Coordinators about the positive effects of our name change back in the day. At that time I worried if we were perhaps being a tad overzealous in enrolling children in the EI program and therefore condemning them to be labeled for a lifetime. Since then, we’ve learned so more about how much a child’s brain is absorbing and learning even at the very earliest stage of infancy, and how much of a difference targeted therapies delivered as early as possible can make in enabling children to meet developmental milestones and be prepared for the future.

Now, rather than worry about if we are enrolling too many kids in the EI program, I wonder if we aren’t enrolling enough children, and that we’re not getting the referrals from medical professionals for enrollment early enough in the child’s life. I would like to see us have more infants and toddlers coming through our doors and getting the services they need to be sure they are set up in the best way possible for future success. In my 30 plus years at DDC/Imagine!, I have never once heard a parent say, “I wish I hadn’t done this” when talking about Early Intervention services.

Just like Imagine! has evolved, and my thinking about EI services has evolved, I hope that EI services will continue to evolve as well. We haven’t answered all of the questions yet, especially the key question of “are we properly organized and doing this in the best way we can?” It can be easy to settle in to what we know instead of continuing to strive to learn more and apply those learnings to our work. EI is in some ways the most impactful and long lasting of our services, and we should do everything we can to ensure that they are designed and delivered with the best possible outcomes in mind.

Then again, what do I know?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Out & About 20 - Story Updates 3/22/17

Imagine!’s Out & About department is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year! 

To honor this milestone, we are collecting and sharing stories and memories from our employees, from the families and individuals we serve, and from the many businesses that support our work. In fact, we’re collecting and sharing 20 stories from each of those three categories!

Here are a couple of examples of what we’ve collected recently. The stories are from two former employees of Out & About who still work at Imagine! and remember their Out & About experiences fondly:

Dale Ray talks about the growth she witnessed among participants during her time at Out & About.

Stephanie Tilley uses words such as fun, challenging, comradery, making a difference, breaking boundaries, thinking outside the box, and independence to describe her Out & About experience.

I’ll be sharing other stories and memories on this blog throughout the year. You can also click here to see all the stories we have so far.

I encourage you to visit the page often – there’s a lot more coming!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Technology Tuesday

This week's Tech Tuesday takes us to Imagine!’s Santa Fe Group Home, where we're getting ready to try out a new wireless nurse call system. Historically, wireless nurse call systems, while effective, can be a bit pricey. Enter to the stage the Amazon Web Services Internet of Things Button. It's a switch that works in your wireless network, and can be used for an extraordinary number of things, including, we hope, a very cost-effective wireless call system. We're still ironing out the finer points, but we will have this up and running for tests very soon, and we'll be eager to have more updates. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Good News Friday!

We have amazing employees at Imagine!. Let me share just one reason why.

On Wednesday, February 22, Imagine! Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) hosted its latest Social Skills Session. The February 22 session was for children ages 3-7, and all participants had the opportunity to enjoy play activities that enabled attending and orienting themselves toward a play partner, eye contact, waiting and sharing skills, and opportunities for natural interactions with other group participants and typical peers. The session was facilitated by Dr. Laurie Sperry, a BCBA-D with expertise in social skills curricula and intervention.

These sessions are vital to supporting the developmental needs of these children, but resources for this type of service aren’t available through traditional funding sources. So how were these sessions funded? Through regular payroll deductions as part of Imagine!’s employee giving campaign.

That’s right. Imagine! employees, who already do very difficult and challenging work for wages that are often well below what they really deserve, are still willing to dig into their own pockets to help support programs and projects that enable Imagine! to do so much more when it comes to creating a world of opportunity for all abilities. I thank them for their continued commitment to our mission.

Learn more about the Social Skills sessions by watching the video below.

Can’t see the video? Click here.