Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Technology Tuesday

Welcome to anther Tech Tuesday edition of Chris’s Corner, presented by Imagine! Assistive Technology Specialist Chris Baumgart. Today, Chris provides an update on residents of Imagine!’s Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome and their use of a new computer-based medication task minder developed by Imagine! staff members called MedMinder. 

 Chris’s Corner 

Welcome back, fellow corner-ians!

In this installment of The Corner takes us back to the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, where residents are taking control.

Back in December, we showed you a video of Lana using a prompting system to fill her own Medication Reminder Box. In addition, two other residents, John and Karen, had decided to follow in her example and become more independent with their medications as well.

But wait, the momentum keeps on building! Now, in addition to Lana, John, and Karen jumping on the medication self-reliance train, Rae, Rebecca, and Chris have hopped on board as well. Pictured below you see each of them taking practice tests to review everything they need to know about their medications, as well as practicing the act of filling a Medication Reminder Box.

Not only have the residents expressed how much they enjoy having more control over their medications, but the benefits for the residential staff have been observed as well. According to Shannon Bundy, the Site Supervisor at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome, the fact that three of the residents are now self-reliant with their medications has reduced staff workload by as much as an hour per day, which really adds up. Now they’re on track to see another three clients become medication self-reliant as well!

Exciting times over there, everyone! Keep up the great work! And check back with us soon, Corner-ians! We’ve got more updates coming!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Good News Friday!

Last week, a youth group from the Evangelical Free Church of Canon City volunteered their time at the Boulder location of Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) department, helping them to clean vehicles, pull weeds, as well as interacting with participants in an art class.

Jeff Rodarti, CORE/Labor Source Program Coordinator, told us, “This group of kids was one of the most enthusiastic groups to visit CLS. They were incredibly pumped to help with site and vehicle cleaning, and finished their time here by joining a giant dance party. The participants were stoked to have them.”

Enjoy some pictures of the volunteers below.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

There Is A Reason It Is Called Alliance

I recently completed my second year as President of the Board of Directors for Alliance. This role brings its own set of responsibilities and opportunities to learn, and I believe I took advantage of those opportunities. Looking back, I consider having played this role a privilege and I am pleased to have had the support from so many colleagues across the State of Colorado. I will continue on the Alliance Executive Committee for one more year as Past President. This is an extraordinary membership organization driven by a high performing and competent staff.

More importantly though, is the message that comes from the essence of Alliance; sort of their message in a bottle. The message in the bottle is united in excellence – united for people. The staff and membership together demand excellence in community centered service and person centered thinking. I suppose one could make these statements about any number of organizations. The fact is having been very close to Alliance for over two years I can verify the integrity of the effort and mission of the organization. Members will debate important issues – and debate we should. In the end the name will keep the membership focused and united. It has been a pleasure being a part of such and organization.

Then again, what do I know?

I was honored to receive this plaque from Alliance last week, thanking me for my time as President of their Board of Directors.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


A couple of weekends ago, I had the distinct privilege of attending several games at the Women’s Soccer World Cup Tournament in Canada. I spent an enjoyable long weekend with my family watching talented athletes at the summit of their sport compete for their countries and the right to be called world champions.

But of course, Imagine! and my work are never far from my mind, and as readers of this blog know, I frequently find connections between my job and my experiences outside of that work. My experience at the World Cup was no different, and naturally I feel compelled to share the connections I observed.

The players and coaches at the Women’s World Cup are ambassadors for women’s soccer. I think most people would agree with that. However, “ambassador” can mean many things, and ambassadors take on many roles. Consider other ambassadorship roles the World Cup players take on, intentionally or unintentionally, simply by playing for their country’s team:
  • They are ambassadors for the fans in the stands. 
  • They are ambassadors for the fans watching on TV. 
  • They are ambassadors for girls (and boys) across the globe who love soccer and view the players as heroes and role models. 
  • They are ambassadors for their countries. 
  • They are ambassadors for up and coming players. 
  • They are ambassadors for the media. 
  • They are ambassadors for FIFA.
That last role presents an interesting dilemma. Sometimes, for the greater good, we all find ourselves playing roles as ambassadors for people or entities we may not fully support. For those who aren’t aware, a coalition of female players filed a lawsuit against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association late last year, claiming that forcing the women to play the World Cup on artificial turf in Canadian stadiums amounted to gender discrimination because the men had always played on the real stuff and would do so for the foreseeable future. Although the lawsuit was eventually withdrawn (the games are being played on artificial turf), it can’t have endeared either the players or FIFA representatives to each other. But the show, and the games, must go on, and now the women find themselves in the awkward position of acting as ambassadors for an organization they may not feel has their best interests at heart.

This sort of “conflict of ambassadorship” occurs in all walks of life. It certainly occurs in the field of providing services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Think of the many ways we must be ambassadors – for those we serve, of course, but also for: Direct Support Providers (DSPs), the community, for the network of providers, and even for the regulating bodies that oversee our work. Acting as an ambassador for one of those people or organizations listed above frequently comes in conflict with acting as an ambassador for another. We can’t just focus on one. If our only focus was ambassadorship for people accepting our services, for example, we might lose our ability to attract and retain quality workers. Of course, the opposite is true as well – if all we did was support our DSPs, it is likely that the end users of our services would see a decline in the quality of their services.

The best a person or an organization can do is to find a balance between these competing ambassador roles. At Imagine!, we strive to find the path to supporting all of our various interested parties in ways that are mutually beneficial. It doesn’t always happen perfectly, and sometimes there are conflicts. But we work through them with the end goal of offering more self-reliance for the people we serve. Being an ambassador can mean you have many roles, and the roles aren’t always easy to navigate, but when you are successful, it can be very rewarding.

I’ll end this by wishing the US Women’s Soccer Team best of luck in the World Cup, and thank them for taking on the role of ambassador for so many of us. I’m honored to know they are representing our country. By the way, if you haven’t been watching the games, you really should start. There is some remarkable soccer being played, and it is not to be missed.

Then again, what do I know?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Technology Tuesday

For today’s Tech Tuesday, please enjoy this video, which demonstrates how Tommy, who accepts services from Imagine!, uses an iPad to overcome communication challenges. Good stuff!

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Good News Friday!

Today, I'd like to offer my thanks to UPS. Earlier this month, UPS sent a team of five volunteers to help with Imagine!’s Dayspring Department’s Messy Play Day. The team arrived early to help set up all of the stations and help Dayspring prepare for the arrival of families later in the morning. Many of the Dayspring staff commented on how helpful and efficient the team of volunteers was. The volunteers helped with the activity from start to finish, and I am grateful for their support!

Not sure what Messy Play Day is? Messy Play Day provides a fun and safe sensory experience for children receiving services from Imagine!’s Dayspring department. Messy Play Day is one of Dayspring’s many Community Calendar Activities, designed to introduce families with young children who have developmental delays or disabilities to places in our community that offer great activities and opportunities for children to meet their goals through fun and play.

All activities encourage motor, sensory, social-emotional, cognitive, and speech-language development. Each location has activities that are age and developmentally appropriate. Activities are centered around play, because play is the primary vehicle for a child’s mental and physical growth. Play has a vital role in cognitive, speech-language, physical, emotional and social development.

Much of young children’s learning takes place when they direct their own play. Learning occurs as children touch, manipulate, experiment and talk about things, while interacting with people who facilitate without directing. During play, children are provided with sensory experiences and opportunities to move. Young children need to climb, run, jump and challenge themselves motorically. Children are natural explorers and instinctively touch, taste, hear and observe the world around them.

But enough of the why. Take a look at some of the pictures below to see what an amazing event it truly was!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Technology Tuesday

Welcome to another installment of “AppAbility” – where Imagine!’s Technology Architect Alex Andrews provides short instructional videos and reviews of apps that may be beneficial for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities or related conditions. Today, Alex offers an in-depth look at the prompting app Aida Reminder.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Good News Friday!

Imagine!’s Out & About department began its Summer Camp program just a couple of weeks ago, but boy, have they been busy. Below, enjoy a few photos from the many activities they’ve already undertaken (plus a bonus video!)

  Can’t see the video? Click here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Conflict Free Case Management – Who Is In Conflict With Whom?

Throughout all these discussions about conflict free case management, is it possible we are missing where the real conflict exists? That is what my two favorite cartoon characters are chatting about today.
  Can’t see the video? Click here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Technology Tuesday

This week’s Technology Tuesday is another exciting edition of “Chris’s Corner,” featuring a musical update from Chris Baumgart, Imagine!’s Assistive Technology Specialist. 

Chris’s Corner
Down on the corner, out in the street

Welcome back, fellow Corner-ians!

When last we checked in over at Imagine!'s CORE/labor Source department, we were reviewing their MIDI over WiFi setups that allow class participants to use iPads as musical instruments. If you missed any of those previous posts, you can follow up by clicking any of the links below:

Using an iPad to DJ

MIDI over WiFi

MIDI Overview

The newest development in the MIDI over Wifi setup is this: In addition to using iPads as musical instruments, people can also use tablets or their SmartPhones as remotes to control the setup. Essentially, anyone on the Wireless Network has a portable mixer at their fingertips! This is exciting for many reasons, the ‘Wow this is super cool’ factor being just one of them. More than the ‘cool’ factor, this tool also allows instructors to work with participants directly to promote a cooperative experience.

For example, when one participant is really engaged in using an instrument, an instructor can solo that instrument immediately by increasing the volume for that channel, then blending the levels once more when the solo is finished. This also allows instructors to fine tune the mix on-the-fly.

Additionally, if there are multiple instructors using multiple remotes, any changes made by one remote are reflected onto all other remotes on the network simultaneously. The app that makes all of this possible is called TouchOSC, and is available for iOS or Android devices. If you’d like more information on the TouchOSC app, or how to use it, follow this link.

Pictured below are two instructors, each featuring a participant’s solo during an adaptive orchestra class.

Since these original photos were taken, I’ve made a few upgrades to the remote we’re using. Now each remote is equipped with volume faders for up to 7 channels, Equalizer knobs for each channel, master volume, and buttons to transpose all instruments into the same key. The new board looks like this:

Check out this video, which demonstrates all of these tools in action!

Can’t see the video? Click here
And, as always, stay tuned, Corner-ians!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Good News Friday!

Today I am sharing a couple of fun stories (and lots of cool pictures) about Imagine! volunteers.

Nicole and Piper (a therapy dog) are volunteers at Imagine!’s Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder. Nicole enjoys sharing her time catching up with residents about what new is happening in their lives. Piper believes in the golden rule of “barking less and wagging more.” Thank you Nicole and Piper for sharing your smiles, time, and wags with Imagine!.

I’d also like to send a big “thank you” to the Qualcomm Foundation for supporting Qualcomm employee volunteers who donated their time to Imagine! as part of the QCares Experience.

According to the Qualcomm website:

“Qualcomm's corporate volunteerism program encourages employee involvement in the community, and is our way of connecting our diverse employee base to local volunteer opportunities. QCares creates many opportunities for its employees, friends and families to participate in charitable events. Serving a wide range of needs, our employees are helping people with disabilities, improving the environment, feeding and clothing the homeless, and caring for animals. QCares organizes volunteer team building projects as special opportunities for internal departments to foster teamwork and celebrate accomplishments, while simultaneously contributing to the improvement of our communities.” 

Qualcomm sent 15 volunteers to help at Imagine!’s Garden Place residence on May 14 as part of the QCares Day of Service. The group has been supporting Imagine! for many years now and we are so thankful for their help each year! This year the group helped to completely change the exterior look at Garden Place, which was really in need of an update.

As you can see from the before (at the top of the page) and after (at the bottom of the page) pictures, the work significantly improved the home for the residents who live at Garden Place.



Thank you, Qualcomm, for your commitment to your community, and thanks especially to the volunteers who worked so hard to make such a difference!