Friday, May 29, 2015

Good News Friday!

Donna and Gerald, former Imagine! SmartHome residents who currently reside at Imagine!’s Santa Fe Group Home in Broomfield, recently made a presentation to an undergraduate class at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Each shared their perspectives and stories of how their lives have changed over the years, and how they each contribute and participate in community life. As you can see in the pictures below, Donna, Gerald, and the students enjoyed learning and sharing time together.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Technology Tuesday

Imagine! Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) provides evidence-based behavioral services in a variety of settings through education and collaboration.

IBHS team members have long used the latest in technology to help in delivering meaningful and impactful services. Today, they share some online apps that they have found useful in their work.

Little Writer - The Tracing App for Kids 

Little Writer is a tracing app. Some helpful aspects of the app include:
  • You can turn individual items on or off and introduce one letter at a time based on the player skills 
  • You can customize everything - record your own language or add your own words 
  • You can add pictures and names of family and friends to write 
  • The app also includes a collection of basic shapes to draw since handwriting require the same core skills 
  • The app comes preloaded with dozens of three and four letter words to write 
  • The app is easy to use for kids of all ages and abilities. 
The app includes
  • ABC uppercase letters 
  • abc lowercase letters 
  • Numbers 1 to 10 
  • 20 basic shapes including lines, circles, rectangles and more 
  • Dozens of 3 and 4 letter words to make practice more enjoyable and interesting 
  • Ability to add an unlimited number of your own words and pictures for maximum enjoyment and variety 
  • Additional letters for foreign language characters. 
  • Customization - turn additional characters on and record their sound 

Sounding Board 

SoundingBoard transforms your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad into the latest in communication technology. In just minutes, you can create custom boards using AbleNet symbols or your own words. This App is perfect for children in special education, persons on the autism spectrum, and adults with disabilities. SoundingBoard includes switch access and is compatible with the AbleNet Blue2 Switch.
Important note - SoundingBoard is compatible with the following Apple devices: 
  • iPad Air 2 
  • iPad Air 
  • iPad 4th Generation 
  • iPad 3rd Generation 
  • iPad 2 
  • iPad mini 3rd Generation 
  • iPad mini 2nd Generation 
  • iPad mini 
  • iPhone 6 Plus 
  • iPhone 6 
  • iPhone 5s 
  • iPhone 5c 
  • iPhone 5 
  • iPhone 4s 
  • iPod touch 5th Generation

Friday, May 22, 2015

Good News Friday

May is National Foster Care Month, a month set aside to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. So today I’d like to celebrate these caring individuals by talking a little bit about the amazing foster care providers who work with Imagine!’s Innovations for Children department.

What do Imagine!’s Innovations for Children foster care providers bring to the children they serve? Here’s the story of just one of those incredible providers, Pema Chosang, shared with us by her Foster Care Placement Worker, which answers that question:

Pema has been a foster parent for several years. Pema is an exemplary foster parent in every sense of the word. Pema makes a concerted effort to understand the needs of the children in her care in order to create a home environment that allows them to thrive. Last month, for example, she took both children in placement on a month-long trip to India with her family. When the foster family returned home from the trip, one of the foster children commented that he felt like he truly is a part of the family. Pema’s ability to integrate her foster children into her extended family is admirable. She feels strongly that her foster children are her sons, and treats them as such. 

Thank you, Pema, and thank you to all of Imagine!’s Innovations for Children foster care providers.

Pictured above: 

Back row from left to right: Pema Chosang, Tenzin Chosang, Pema Dolma, Tashi Carlek, Tenzing Sopa, Jigme Tanzin, Roberto Abarca, Andrea Legleiter, Mike Miller.

Front row from left to right: Kalden Dingtsa, Jampa Dolma, Teresa Woodworth, Phurbu Lhandon, Lhamo Tsesum.

Not pictured: Christopher Davis, Shawnna Davis, Jampa Dothar, Denise Belk, Julie Miller, Dechen Wangmo, Tenzin Rabgye, Tsering Bhuti, Passang Mayang, Ana Henriquez, Bruce LaMonica, Angela Suppes, Darren Suppes, Dawa Dolma.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Conflict Free Case Management – Who Do You Trust?

Who do you trust? That is what my two favorite cartoon characters are chatting about today, and how that trust matters in the discussion about conflict free case management.

Can’t see the video? Click here

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Technology Tuesday

A group of University of Colorado students in Professor Melinda Piket-May's Spring 2015 Engineering class worked on adaptive equipment projects for individuals served by Imagine!. We have already shared some of those projects (here and here).

Today, we are going to share two more projects. In the videos below, you will hear the students explain the projects, talk about some of the challenges they faced in designing and building the projects, and discuss what they learned through the process. If you want to skip ahead, and the end of each video you will be able to see the students demonstrate the project.

Voice Activated Lamp

  Can’t see the video? Click here.

Safe House System

  Can’t see the video? Click here

Friday, May 15, 2015

Good News Friday!

The creativity of Imagine! artists continues to amaze and astound me. Today, I’d like to share a variety of artwork from individuals in Imagine!’s services. Below are some paintings by artists in Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source (CLS) art classes.

Speaking of CLS artists, some of them also painted tiles for the backsplash areas in our newly renovated kitchens at our Dixon Street office. Aren’t they cool?

By the way, you can purchase art by Imagine! CLS artists by clicking here

Here’s the story of “The Six Lovely Lanes,” written by a young lady receiving services through our Innovations for Children department, which provides out-of-home community services for children ages 5 through 21 with developmental, emotional, and behavioral challenges. The story seems perfect for this time of year!

And just for fun, here are two more pieces of artwork by children served by Innovations for Children.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Conflict Free Case Management - Unanswered Questions

My two favorite cartoon characters continue to discuss conflict free case management, its implications, and its unintended consequences. Today, they discuss what systems change may look like, and ask why some key questions have yet to be answered.

Can’t see the video? Click here. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Technology Tuesday

For today's Technology Tuesday, we'd like to share an exciting announcement from the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), the National Trade Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disability (I/DD) Providers.

ANCOR Names Alex Andrews 2015 Direct Support Professional of The Year

Honored for work in support of community living for people with disabilities

Arlington, VA. - The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) announced today that Alex Andrews of Imagine! in Lafayette, CO, is the recipient of the 2015 National Direct Support Professional Recognition Award.

Greg Wellems, Imagine!'s Director of Operations with Alex,
and Kevin Harding, Imagine! Director of Information Technology

ANCOR presented the award to Andrews at a ceremony honoring Direct Support Professionals (DSP) at ANCOR's 2015 Conference: Ignite! in Arlington, VA in front of an audience of over 300 attendees.

Leah, Alex, and Diana

Since 2007, ANCOR has honored exceptional Direct Support Professionals with the Direct Support Professional Recognition Award for exemplary work in furthering community inclusion and full participation for the many Americans living with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities. Andrews was the standout of this year's field of more than 250 nominees. ANCOR also named state recipients of the DSP Recognition Award in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

Andrews, a DSP for over 17 years, is especially recognized for his work as a "Technology Architect" at his organization - modifying, implementing and maintaining assistive technology devices and systems used throughout Imagine!

Alex Andrews finds the right technology, pairs it with a person who needs it and has the skills to use it, and loving relationships develop as they learn to use it. Andrews walked down the aisle with a gentlemen who met his wife using the communication device that Andrews found and taught him to use. He stood by the side of a young man who spent many years in a state institution as he finally graduated from high school, supported by Andrews. He is currently assisting a young woman who lives with him and his family as she creates "webisodes" of her new independent life, facilitated by low and high-tech solutions shaped by Andrews.

Webisode #1

Can't see the video? Click here.

Webisode #2

  Can’t see the video? Click here.

"For him it's not just technology per se, "says Kevin Harding, Director of Information Technology at Imagine! "It's about a person who has had an issue and no one has even tried to solve the person's problem. Alex will."

"I am infatuated with technology and how it levels the playing field, "Andrews explained. "People who could not communicate start communicating and that leads to them making choices - their choices, not someone else's..."

"It is such a pleasure to read so many stories of exceptional DSPs and the work they are doing to support people with disabilities," said Barbara Merrill, ANCOR CEO. "Our national and state award recipients truly are the cream of the crop, but we know that there are many like them across the country, working largely without recognition, who deserve our gratitude and appreciation for their hard work, dedication and compassion."

"It is the mission of ANCOR's National Advocacy Campaign to obtain the resources necessary to attract and retain professionals like Mr. Andrews and this year's state award recipients," continued Merrill. "As we prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we must continue to remind our policy makers that quality services to support people with disabilities require a stable and qualified workforce who are valued for the work they do."

ANCOR's Direct Support Professional Recognition Award is given to those who personify the values of ANCOR's National Advocacy Campaign. Nominees are judged on their success in helping people with disabilities build social networks and engage in substantive community participation and for advocating for the people they serve.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Good News Friday

Did you miss Imagine!’s Out & About department’s Centre Stage for Kids performance last month? Or you saw it and wish you could see it again? Either way, no need to worry, you can just check out the video below.
  Can’t see the video? Click here

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Conflict Free Case Management Unintended Consequences – Loss Of Local Control

They just can’t stop talking about it!

Today, my two favorite cartoon characters discuss the unique nature of Colorado’s system of serving people with intellectual disabilities, the important communication role that organizations that fulfill Community Centered Board functions play in that system, and the risk that communities will lose local control over services for their friends, family, and neighbors if there is an overhaul of the system.
  Can’t see the video? Click here

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Technology Tuesday

A group of University of Colorado students in Professor Melinda Piket-May's Spring 2015 Engineering class worked on adaptive equipment projects for individuals served by Imagine!. Last week we gave you a sneak peek at one of the projects. Today, we are going to share several more projects.

In the videos below, you will hear the students explain the projects, talk about some of the challenges, and discuss what they learned through the process. If you want to skip ahead, and the end of each video you will be able to see the students demonstrate the project.

Thanks as always to Professor Piket-May and her students. These projects continue to amaze and delight, and even more important, they offer the people we serve unique opportunities to become more self-reliant.

Assistive Can Hole-Punch
This assistive can hole punch was designed for some individuals served by Imagine! who also work for our good friends at Oskar Blues Brewery so they can be more efficient at their jobs.

Can’t see the video? Click here

Assistive Fishing Rod
This project is an assistive fishing rod, allowing an individual with limited mobility in his arms to cast his fishing rod independently.
  Can’t see the video? Click here.

Game Show
This “game show” helps stimulate and improve motor functions and assists in improving focus and attentiveness.
  Can’t see the video? Click here.

The next two projects offer opportunities for individuals who are Deaf to experience music and rhythms through vibrations – one through a headset, and one through a hand plate.

 “Innovative Vibrations”
  Can’t see the video? Click here

Vibrating Headband
  Can’t see the video? Click here.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Good News Friday

Imagine! is an integral part of our community, and the people we serve contribute to their communities in many ways. Today I’d like to share just one example of how the individuals who receive services from Imagine! are paying it forward.

Two different times in April, a handful of participants from Imagine!’s Out & About department spent their morning at the Louisville Community Food Share, volunteering time and efforts in the warehouse.

“The participants really get into it and get a lot done in two hours,” said Scott Wendelberger, Out & About Instructor. Efforts included wrapping and labeling over 800 frozen pizzas, sorting 120 crates of bread, and dumping/rinsing out a couple dozen crates of gallons of milk. The volunteer supervisor, Sue Ericson, was impressed with the amount of work Out & About participants completed, and asked if they were coming back! “It’s great for the participants to learn how to give back to the community,” said Laura Schirmer, Out & About Instructor.

The participants are a part of an Out & About program called “Community Access.” This program focuses on participants (adult with developmental disabilities) expanding their knowledge of community resources and contributing to the community they live in.

Thanks to Scott Wendelberger for sharing this information, and congratulations to all involved!