Imagine! Blogs - Then Again What Do I Know
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Published: January 16, 2018
Imagine! recently debuted a new look and feel for our website.
Check it out!
Published: January 12, 2018
The 17th Annual Imagine! Celebration, scheduled for Saturday, January 27, will feature dinner, silent and live auctions, and stories that connect the audience to Imagine!’s mission of creating a world of opportunity for all abilities.
This amazing event can’t happen without the support of many generous business and individual sponsors, and today I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge their contributions. Check out the list below (click on the image to make it larger), and be sure to visit the businesses and/or thank the individuals if you get a chance!
Published: January 9, 2018
The Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM) and Health First Colorado (Medicaid) need your input on the use of telehealth and e-consults to improve patient access to care and identify barriers to the use of this technology. They are asking interested parties to please complete a short, telehealth/eConsult survey by Jan. 17, 2018.
Click here to take the survey.
Published: January 8, 2018
I’m sure every one of my readers has experienced that aggravating feeling of being stuck in a construction related traffic jam. Cones, barrels, and signs direct us this way and that, we stop and start and then stop and start again, and frequently we aren’t even sure what the result of the construction will be and will it be an improvement?
We can all relate to that feeling – and that’s the feeling that many of us serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Colorado have felt in the last two decades as we try to navigate the many changes our system has undergone.
To give you some idea of the kinds of barriers, stops, and starts our field has experienced, please take a look at the documents below, which was included as part of a Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) staff budget briefing for the Colorado State Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee. The document lists the significant policy changes which have taken place in Colorado’s I/DD system since 1999 (click on the images to make them larger).
Now, to be clear and fair, most of the changes were implemented for what on the surface appear to be good reasons and by people who I have no doubt want the best for our fellow citizens who happen to have developmental disabilities. But the sheer number of changes, many of which were enacted seemingly with little regard to other existing rules or policies, and many of which were unfunded mandates placing the financial burden of implementing them on community providers, can make even the most dedicated champions of people with I/DD wonder when and where the traffic jam of complex policies will end.
While this may just sound like complaining about making the lives of those that work at Imagine! and similar organizations across the state more difficult, the issue is much bigger than that. The policy traffic jam has created significant uncertainty in our field, and may have the potential to put access to services and people at risk. When organizations don’t know the best route to take to get clear of the blocked traffic, it is likely many will just pull over and park and wait and see what happens next.
Parking and waiting is not an option in this case. We have a responsibility, all of us in the system, to get ourselves out of this traffic jam so we can ensure that Coloradoans with I/DD can live fulfilling lives in their homes and communities.
Then again, what do I know?
Published: January 5, 2018
Over the past six months, Imagine! and the Association for Community Living (ACL) have been providing training for Imagine! Case Managers to help them build non-technical case management skills in order to enhance the overall quality of case management provided by Imagine!.
The training, made possible by funding from Boulder County, helps teach Case Managers skills such as meeting facilitation, problem solving, collaboration/relationship management, community resource development, and person-centered practices.
By focusing on developing skills that aren’t necessarily part of traditional Case Management job requirements or training, the hope for this project is to increase satisfaction with case management services for Boulder County citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families, and to decrease the number of ACL advocacy requests resulting from case management interaction.
During 2017, Imagine! Case Managers had five full-staff, one-half day trainings in addition to several smaller trainings. Overall, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the goal of better services seems as if it is being realized. More trainings are scheduled for the first six months of 2018.
At a recent training (pictured below), Eva Klemens, who works for Imagine! Behavioral Health Services and is a parent of an individual in services, presented to the group on case management services from the perspective of a parent. Attendees agreed the presentation was a moving reminder of how case management plays such a vital role in ensuring our fellow citizens with I/DD are contributing members of their communities.
We thank Boulder County and the ACL for their support of this meaningful effort to improve our community and the lives of individuals with I/DD.
Published: January 2, 2018
On the December 27th edition of AMPLIFY, host Jennifer Ciplet and her guests discuss an exciting collaboration between Imagine! and the University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science. The guests on the December 27th Edition of AMPLIFY include Professor Melinda Piket-May, CU Boulder engineering student Sarah DaFoe, and Director of Public Relations at Imagine!, Fred Hobbs.
AMPLIFY: Stories of University-Community Collaborations is a production of CU Engage, the Center for Community-Based Learning and Research at CU Boulder, in partnership with independent community radio KGNU. The show aims to amplify the voices of students and community partners who are working together to generate new knowledge and actions to address public challenges.
Published: December 29, 2017
As the year comes to a close, it seemed like the perfect time to thank the many, many generous donors who support Imagine!’s mission and join us in our quest to create a world of opportunity for all abilities.
Below is a list of our donors for fiscal year 2016-2017 (7/1/16 - 6/30/17). Click on the images for a larger view.
Published: December 26, 2017
One guest speaker at this year’s conference was Professor Mischa Dohler, Director at Centre for Telecommunications Research, Kings College London. Professor Dohler’s keynote presentation was on “The Internet of Skills- Democratizing Labor and Empowering Humans.” He talked about how the current internet available is able to transmit information through video and audio but unable to transmit information through touch.
Kings College in London is working with colleagues globally to pioneer the “tactile internet” which will allow users to transmit touch in real time. Professor Dohler wore a haptic glove during his presentation, capable of recording muscle movement and sensing touch through the internet. One vision for this technology is that end users will be able to shop on Amazon by 2020 using the glove to feel what they are purchasing online.
Using the glove and Internet of Skills, people could perform a variety of tasks remotely. So, how does it work? A person (teacher) would be able to put on the haptic glove (exoskeleton) and perform a task, then upload that information onto the internet of skills database, allowing someone else to learn a task from across the globe by putting on a glove and downloading the information. The sensing glove, capable of recording hand movements, would allow users to mimic the teacher’s movements in order to learn a skill. For example, a teacher on one end could wear the glove to record themselves playing the piano, allowing a user on the other end to pick up a glove and learn the piano using the recorded hand movements of the teacher.
The Internet of Skills’ application possibilities do not stop at learning to play an instrument. A surgeon could teach a group of students to perform robotic surgery. Doctors may be able to treat patients from thousands of miles away, potentially in remote areas where medical skills could be lacking. This sensory glove may provide someone with limited fine motor function the ability to perform a task they wouldn’t otherwise be able to. By expanding on haptic technology already available, Professor Dohler believes that the Internet of Skills will democratize labor in the same way that the internet has made knowledge available to everyone.
View a keynote presentation from Mischa Dohler here.
Brodie Schulze, an employee with Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source and member of this year’s Leadership Development Group, gave another noteworthy presentation during a morning breakout session alongside Professor Melinda Piket-May of the University of Colorado’s Engineering Department.
For several years, Imagine! has collaborated with the CU’s Engineering Department to create a variety of assistive technology projects that aid increased independence for the people we serve. Each semester, Imagine! presents Professor Piket-May’s freshman engineering class with a list of assistive technology projects to choose from. The students work in groups of four on a project of their choosing. Instead of purchasing text books, each student chips in $75, giving the groups $300 toward completing the project.
This collaboration not only allows Imagine! to overcome funding restraints and limited product availability, but also provides CU Engineering Students the unique opportunity to work closely with the individuals we serve. Throughout the semester, the students work face to face with the individual to develop a personalized product of adaptive technology, aimed at supporting increased independence for that individual. Past assistive technology projects have included a mechanical whiffle ball bat, a wheelchair Wii adapter, and a wheelchair laundry carrier.
See a project presentation from CU students here.
Published: December 22, 2017
A couple of Holiday stories for you today.
First, a wrap up (pun intended) of Imagine!’s Annual Gift Giving Drive.
Thanks to the generosity of many, we were able to provide gifts for 110 adults and 256 children!
Donations were provided by:
Nativity of our Lord Church in Broomfield
RE/MAX Alliance Longmont
Louisville Dental Associates
And many other generous individuals.
We also thank the volunteers from The University of Colorado Leeds School of Business Leeds Council.
And earlier this week, Imagine!’s Case Management team hosted a Holiday office/cubical decorating contest. The results: the spirit of the season was with us all!
Enjoy the pictures below, and I hope you have a wonderful and joyous Holiday!
Published: December 19, 2017
Touring Imagine!’s SmartHome last week: students from St. Vrain Valley School District’s Innovation Center and two IBM employees acting as mentors to the students. Tour guide and Imagine! Ambassador extraordinaire Leona Stoecker said about the ‘tourists’: “I was truly astounded at all they had done in preparation for their tour of the SmartHome. They wanted to know how to communicate with the residents and had a long list of prepared questions that might be appropriate.”
Published: December 15, 2017
Imagine! is a community organization, and we are so fortunate to live in a community that supports us in so many different and meaningful ways. Below are just a few recent examples.
First, a big shout out to Kylie Angulo, a local student who recently convinced her school, through her love of others, to have the school fundraiser give its proceeds to Imagine!. We are so honored and touched by her actions and by her commitment to creating a world of opportunity for all abilities! Thank you, Kylie!
Next, local Cross Fit gym MOOV hosted their “Kettlebells for Christmas” event last Saturday, which raised $3,407 for Imagine!. This is the third year in a row that MOOV has selected Imagine! as the recipient of donations from this fun (and healthy) event, and we are sincerely grateful.
Finally, a group of University of Colorado seniors working towards a Leadership Studies Minor selected Imagine!’s Out & About department for their leadership challenge assignment. The students looked at ways to improve recruitment of summer employees for Out & About’s Summer Camp as well as ways to increase retention of current employees. The students presented their findings and recommendations last week, and we were blown away by their thoughtful, wise, and creative counsel.
Published: December 12, 2017
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.
Published: December 8, 2017
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.
Published: December 5, 2017
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.
Published: December 4, 2017
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).
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.
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?
Published: December 1, 2017
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.
Published: November 28, 2017
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.
Published: November 21, 2017
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.
Published: November 17, 2017
Today, I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to Dave Query, who is once again treating individuals served by Imagine! and their families to a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day. This is the 14th year Dave has hosted this event, which will again be at Zolo Southwestern Grill, 2525 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder.
There are three seatings, and all three have filled up already! In all, more than 350 people will benefit from Dave's amazing generosity.
Dave Query is the owner of Big Red F Restaurant Group, including restaurants Centro Latin Kitchen, Jax Fish House – Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Glendale, and Kansas City, LoLa Coastal Mexican, Post Brewing Company, West End Tavern, and Zolo Grill.
Dave is donating the makings for a delicious dinner with all the trimmings, and the wait staff is volunteering its time. There is no charge for the meal, and no tips are necessary.
Thanks to Dave and the Zolo staff for making it a Thanksgiving to remember for individuals served by Imagine!.
Published: November 14, 2017
Today I’d like to share an update on Imagine!’s Tuneberg Project.
Thanks to the generosity of Aaron's Fund, Imagine! has created a technology demonstration project to improve and support the safety needs for adults with disabilities. The project is currently supporting eight individuals in Boulder County. The Tuneberg Project has developed a specific tool to assess individual support needs and identify the technologies that will best help meet those needs. The technology that has been purchased is individualized to the identified needs. It includes door and window sensors, heat and stove detectors, medication reminders, visual doorbells, and prompting systems for daily tasks. All of these are integrated into a notification system that provides alerts to caregivers or 911.
This technology allows people to be monitored remotely and notifies loved ones or caregivers when people are home and what area of the apartment or living space they are accessing. All systems allow the individuals to remain independent while still promoting their safety by remotely locking doors, monitoring when someone comes to their doors, and providing alerts when an alarm is triggered.
As one parent described: “I'm writing to tell you that the safety system Imagine! installed in my daughter's home worked very well today. First, I received a text telling me that the smoke alarm had gone off in my daughter's place at 4pm. I knew no one was there at that time besides my daughter, so I rushed over. The alarm was ringing loudly. My daughter was out of her home (with her hands over her ears). And a neighbor had called 911. It turned out that my daughter had experimented with making her first snack on the stove top and the oil in the pan had sent a lot of smoke into the air. No fire or any serious damage, but a good trial of the systems to make sure everyone knew what they should be doing.”
The Tuneberg Project is helping to fill a huge gap that currently exists in services for adults with intellectual disabilities who are mostly independent but need some assistance to remain safe and self-reliant. At the end of this three-year project, Imagine! will share the results with state and local leaders to encourage the adoption of technology into the service system.
Published: November 10, 2017
Imagine!’s Annual Gift Giving Drive starts soon, and I encourage you to take part!
Educational Toys (Spanish or English)
Dolls and Accessories
Board Games Books (Spanish or English)
Craft Sets Ball Set or Nerf Set
Car or Truck Sets
Remote Control Car
Legos Art Supplies
Hat, Scarves, Mittens, Gloves
Colorado sports team memorabilia
Hats, Scarves, Mittens, Gloves
Please deliver donations to Imagine!’s administrative office at 1400 Dixon Ave., Lafayette, CO. Pickups can be arranged for group donations.
Questions? Contact Elizabeth Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-926-6460
Published: November 9, 2017
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’s a story from Sasha, an Out & About participant, who promises to share this advice to others: “If someone is nervous to come to Out & About, I would say ‘there’s nothing to be nervous about, Out & About is fun!’”
You can also click here to see all the stories we have so far.
Published: November 7, 2017
Congratulations to Imagine!’s own Brodie Schulze, who presented last week at the 2017 Coleman Institute Conference on Cognitive Disability & Technology.
Brodie’s presentation was titled: “Collaborative Care: How a Partnership Between the University of Colorado and Imagine! has Created New Opportunities for Independence for People with Disabilities.”
Imagine! and CU have collaborated to design adaptive technologies to aid increased independence for individuals served by Imagine!. Students work with Imagine! to design assistive technologies that open doors to client’s increased self-reliance. The potential exists for projects to scale and be made available to more individuals in living more independent lives.
For the presentation, Brodie partnered with CU Professor Dr. Melinda Piket-May and a couple of CU students who have participated in the projects, and the group shared their experiences, what they’ve learned during the collaboration, highlighted some specific projects, and discussed what the future might hold.
To learn more about this collaboration, check out the video below, which highlights some of the projects that have resulted from this amazing partnership.
Published: November 3, 2017
Imagine! Out & About participants will have their own exhibit tonight at Alive Studios, 4593 Broadway, from 6-8:30 PM, as part of the North Boulder Art District First Friday Art Walk.
You are encouraged to stop by and say “hi.”
Published: October 31, 2017
On November 1st, The Coleman Institute of Technology, in collaboration with Microsoft, will be hosting a day long technology event. At the event, people with cognitive disabilities and Microsoft product developers will test out new products and engage in rich discussions around accessibility of products and services. They are looking for a limited number of technology users with diagnosed cognitive disabilities (Alzheimier’s, stroke, dementia, intellectual and developmental disabilities, severe and persistent mental health concerns and traumatic brain injury) to participate.
They are still looking for participants, so if interested, email Shea Tanis at Shea.Tanis@cu.edu or call 303-860-6141.