Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Technology Tuesday

This week’s Technology Tuesday is a regular one I get to share, and it is always one of my favorites. 

Once again, students in a University of Colorado Engineering class taught by Professor Melinda Picket-May have collaborated with Imagine! to provide assistive technology for individuals we serve. We’ve been doing this for more than eight years.

Each semester, students form small groups and select projects that have been identified by Imagine! staff members as something that will meet the needs of a specific individual served by Imagine!. The collaboration has truly been “win-win.” The students get real, hands-on experience on a unique and challenging engineering task, and people served by Imagine! get a piece of adaptive equipment designed specifically for their needs.

Below are some projects from Fall Semester 2017 students (a couple were not designed specifically for people served by Imagine! but certainly could be useful in serving the population of individuals with intellectual, developmental, or physical disabilities):

Wireless Door Switch: for use by someone who uses a wheelchair but can’t access traditional door switches due to limited mobility.

One-Handed Water Bottle: for use by individuals with limited mobility in one of their arms.

Wireless Panic Button: for use by non-verbal, but relatively independent individuals to alert others in emergency situations.

Alexa Aid: to assist non-verbal individuals in accessing verbal command devices such as Alexa. 

Vocalization Counter: designed to record and track vocalizations of non-verbal individual in order to facilitate improved communication and informed development of a care plan.

Removable Arm Project: an adjustable iPad wheelchair mount controlled by joystick for individual with limited mobility.

Bowling Guide: for individual who is visually impaired so he can enjoy bowling with his friends.

Got Google?: device designed so individual with limited mobility can access basic Google searches, such as weather, music, or jokes. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Good News Friday!

Imagine!’s 2016-2017 Annual Report is hot off the presses! With a very appropriate theme of community, the report highlights the many achievements and successes from the last year at Imagine!, and makes clear that those successes are because of the incredible support that we receive from all over our community (you can click on the images to make them larger).

Check out the report here, and enjoy some informational graphics below demonstrating the breadth and scope of our impact.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Today Is Colorado Gives Day!

Today is Colorado Gives Day! 

Below are four simple steps on how to support Imagine! on this day of giving (click on the image to make it larger), and make that support count extra! Thank you in advance for your help in creating a world of opportunity for all abilities. 

Click here to donate

Monday, December 4, 2017

Question Mark?

I’m going to talk punctuation today.

Specifically, I want to discuss how something remarkable can happen when we take declarative statements (those that end with a period) and change them to open ended questions (changing the period to a question mark).

For example:

I am a person with a disability.


I am a person with a disability? 

For the phrase above, the question mark changes everything. I think the resulting change is very important and meaningful. The period leaves no doubt. But the question mark opens the door for further exploration.

According to the Disability Status: 2000 - Census 2000 Brief, approximately 20% of Americans have one or more diagnosed psychological or physical disability. That’s 1 in 5. Going even further, some studies show that 55% of adults in the workforce in the United States qualify for some form of workplace accommodation.

If such large numbers of people identify as having a disability or needing an accommodation, then perhaps those labels don’t really mean anything except that the majority of us need some sort of assistance if we want to become active, participating members of our communities. If more of us need some form of assistance then those who don’t, then a designation of disability seems kind of pointless.

That’s a world I wish for. A world where it is understood that all of us, at one time or another, need some assistance to get by or to get ahead. The level of assistance may vary on the person and the situation, but we all need someone to stand by us once in a while.

Can’t see the video? Click here

If that fundamental fact is understood, then disabilities (and the accompanying necessary accommodations) wouldn’t be considered out of the ordinary. They would just be considered a natural part of the fabric of our communities and lives.

And instead of being forced to declaring some disabled and others not, all people will have the right to ask the reasonable question “I have a disability?”

Then again, what do I know?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Good News Friday!

Today, I have the privilege of introducing the 2017 Imagine! Employees of Distinction. 

Each year we ask all employees to share with the Secret Employee of Distinction Selection Committee nominations for Imagine! employees who exemplify the mission, values, and principles of Imagine!, who inspire the individuals we serve to be their best, and who perform over and above every expectation anyone could have of them.

This year, we received 54 Employee of Distinction nominations for a total of 31 people. So it is fair to say that even among the talented and dedicated crowd of Imagine! employees, the 2017 honorees truly stood out.

Jonny Brennan, Kristin Cowin, Bridget Heddens, Jenny Kozlowski, Lucy Mwangi, Carla Rapp, Linda Saenz, and Emily Walsh were all identified by their coworkers as employees who go above and beyond even the above and beyond we see every day at Imagine!. Their recognition is well deserved, and I am honored to call them my colleagues.

Check out the video below to learn a little more about these exceptional Imagine! employees.
 Can’t see the video? Click here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Technology Tuesday

Thanks to the eight people who toured Imagine!’s Charles Family SmartHome last week, including Mark Mills, Assistant Superintendent of the St. Vrain Valley School District.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Technology Tuesday

Imagine! has been talking about getting technology in the hands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than a decade.

Why have we done this? 

The short video below, created by the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities and YAI, offers some answers to that question and may give you some things to ponder as you reflect on what you are thankful for this week.
 Can’t see the video? Click here