Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Technology Tuesday

Today’s Technology Tuesday comes from Chris Baumgart, Imagine!’s Assistive Technology Specialist. Chris provides us the latest edition of a little segment he likes to call “Chris’s Corner.” Thanks, Chris! 

Chris’s Corner 

In this photo, Rae, one of the residents at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, is testing out a new prototype for an interactive journal that is modeled after the communication software Rae uses with her communication device. This interactive journal offers auditory prompts asking Rae a number of questions, including, “How are you feeling today?”, “What did you do today?”, “Who did you see today?,” and a number of other questions that give Rae an opportunity to practice some of her core communication skills. In addition, the journal gives Rae the opportunity to review her responses with others once she’s completed an entry, helping her to organize her thoughts at her own pace before communicating with others. It looks like there are still a couple ways we can optimize this journal before it’s ready to be released, so stay tuned for updates!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

SmartHome Artwork On Display

Breadworks Bakery and Cafe in Boulder, located at 2644 Broadway, between North Street and Alpine Avenue, is currently displaying artwork created by members of Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source art classes, including SmartHome residents Lana and Rebecca. The art will be up all weekend, and through Tuesday, September 30. Breadworks is open Monday - Friday 7 am - 7 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 7 am - 6 pm. Then, throughout the month of October, Ozo Coffee Arapahoe, located at 5340 Arapahoe in Boulder, will be displaying CORE/Labor Source artists’ work. Ozo is open Monday – Saturday from 6 am – 6 pm, and on Sunday from 7 am – 4 pm. Please try to find the time to stop in and check out the artwork at Breadworks or Ozo (or both) and thank the store employees for displaying the art.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


On Friday, October 10, Imagine!’s SmartHomes guru Greg Wellems will be presenting at the 2014 ANCOR Technology Summit & Showcase. Greg will be part of a panel discussing Assistive Technologies in the Workplace.

Get the details here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Grandma’s Chili Is A Hit!

Yesterday evening, Charles Family SmartHome in Longmont resident Anthony shared his grandmother's famous chili recipe for dinner. Staff member John Boggs worked with him on putting together all the ingredients for a spicy chili delight! Great work Anthony and John. By all reports the dinner was delish!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Technology Tuesday

Today’s Technology Tuesday comes from Suzanne Phillips, communication Teacher at Imagine!’s Longmont CORE/Labor Source hub.

How is Longmont CORE/Labor Source taking technology OUT of the computer lab and into the classroom?

Today I want to tell you about the technology utilized in our cooking classes. We have several students with mobility issues. Some of these students cannot move their hands and arms more than a few inches. How can we make a valuable life skill such as cooking accessible for these individuals?

We bring in the Able Net Power Link 4. This device makes any (plug-in) electrical device switch accessible. Here’s how it works:
  • Plug the Able Net Power Link 4 into an outlet. 
  • Plug an electrical device into the Power Link. (In cooking class this could be a blender, food processor, electric egg beater, etc.) 
  • Plug a switch into the Power Link. This switch now controls the “on/off” function for the electrical device. 
  • Turn the electrical device “on.” The device will now turn on only when the switch is pressed, and will turn off when the switch is released. 
This technology makes participation in cooking classes possible for students with an extremely limited range of motion. These students can choose how long they would like to activate a device, blending/processing ingredients to various consistencies. This technology gives teachers the opportunity to create a hands-on cooking experience for all students, regardless of mobility. Check out the short video if you would like to see the Power Link in action, and stay tuned for more technology in the classroom updates!

Can’t see the video? Click here

Monday, September 22, 2014

Shelley's New Art Studio

Shelly, who lives in the Charles Family SmartHome in Longmont, is excited to announce that her home art studio is officially up and running! Shelly now has the opportunity to paint to her heart’s content and add a new flare of color to her home. Shelly worked diligently the past few months to purchase and stock her supplies and personally selected a number of adaptive art tools online to accomplish this goal. Shelly is absolutely thrilled by this new creative addition and is choosing to paint as often as she can! We will keep you up-to-date as new and exciting pieces of art reach completion!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

SmartHomes Update

Imagine! project manager Sterling Wind recently provided an update report on the SmartHomes to the Imagine! Foundation Board of Directors. We thought we’d share it with you, as well. Check it out below.

Update to the Imagine! Foundation Board of Directors – September 4, 2014 

Here are a few project highlights since my last report.
  • Interest surrounding the Imagine! SmartHomes project continues to be strong, as members of the Imagine! SmartSupports team continues to be invited to speak at conferences, meetings and to consult with providers from around the United States. Since my last update, our team has spoken extensively with leadership from Human Technologies in Utica NY, Orana in Netley South Australia and East Carolina Behavioral Health. Leadership with each of these organizations have spent considerable time touring a SmartHome and discussing Imagine!’s approach to applying technological solutions to create operational efficiencies and to improve services outcomes for consumers and their families. While, Imagine! benefits from the curiosity, input and questions from visiting skilled professionals from outside our organization. You can learn more about each of these organizations by visiting them on the web at http://htcorp.net/, http://www.oranaonline.com.au/ and http://www.ecbhlme.org/. In addition to our out-of-town guests, a SmartHome has been touring by the Mayor of Longmont and a Longmont City Council member, community members living in Boulder, Ward, Longmont, Frederick, Colorado as well as a colleague from Mountain States Children Home. 
  • You can learn about presentations associated with the Imagine!’s SmartHomes SmartSupports projects by visiting - http://imaginessmarthomesblog.blogspot.com/ and entering either presentable and/or presentations into the search bar, found in the upper left-hand corner of the SmartHomes Blog. 
  • Now that the construction of our SmartHomes in Boulder and Longmont is complete, our team is focusing its attention on Phase II of the project, demonstrating how technology and SmartSupports can be more thoroughly implemented into typical residential settings, throughout the community, and at work to support consumer choice, independence, and to create a more sustainable long-term care and service delivery system.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


We told you awhile back that Imagine!’s SmartHomes guru Greg Wellems is providing the keynote address at the 2014 New York AT Expo. Well, since he always wants to do more, he’s also hosting a Q & A session at the conference. Good work Greg, but make sure you get some rest!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Technology Tuesday

Today’s Technology Tuesday comes from Erika Schroeder, a Communications Teacher for Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source department. As Erika notes, when we talk about using technology to increase self-reliance among the individuals we serve at Imagine!, we don’t always mean the absolute newest, latest, and most complex gadget or systems. Sometimes, it just means knowing what adjustments can be made to current and easily accessible technologies to meet the needs of individuals with a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Read more below. 

When thinking of modern technology the first things that come to mind are the newest phones, the smallest computers, and the quickest processing speeds. These advancements are impressive but sometimes we forget about the already available and adaptable technology that surrounds us.

Many of the individuals we serve have challenges with their vision. Whether it’s being farsighted or nearsighted, adjustments must be made. In Microsoft Word, there is a drop down box in the “Font” toolbar with numbers in it. This allows the font to be adjusted to any size suitable for the user. One of our clients writes with a large font and then shrinks it down to a smaller font for printing in the Imagine!ws newsletter. At CORE/Labor Source’s technology lab, we also have access to keyboards with enlarged font and buttons. One keyboard has enlarged letters in the QWERTY format; another has enlarged letters in ABC order.

Some individuals experience challenges with their motor skills. Adapting the mouse is the simplest solution. In our technology lab we have a mouse with a rollerball that works similar to a laptop mouse pad. Using one finger or the palm of your hand, you can roll the bright yellow ball in any direction to move the mouse on the screen.

More than one client we work with is left handed. This poses a problem when attempting to click and make choices using the mouse, which is formatted to a right handed person. Windows makes it possible to reverse the primary and secondary buttons:
  • Click the start button on the left of the taskbar. 
    • On the right panel click “Control Panel” 
      • Under Control Panel options click on “Hardware and Sound” 
        • Under Hardware and Sound find the section “Devices and Printers” 
        • Click on “Mouse” 
          • A separate box will open up. The box will be labeled “Mouse Properties” 
          • Click on the tab “Buttons” 
            • The first box will be labeled “Button configuration” 
            • Click on the box labeled “Switch primary and secondary buttons” 
Now the mouse will have reversed right and left click buttons.

In our Creative Writing class, we use these simpler technologies on a regular basis. Adaptations such for challenges in vision and motor skills create opportunity for those who may have felt that using a computer was impossible before.

Pictured below is Gabe in the CORE/Labor Source Writing Class, demonstrating simple technology adaptations including an enlarged font, a roller mouse, and an enlarged keyboard.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tour Imagine!'s SmartHome During ANCOR Technology Summit!

Are you planning on attending the 2014 ANCOR Technology Summit and Showcase? If so, consider adding a tour of one of Imagine!’s SmartHomes to your agenda. Details from ANCOR are below.

Technology in Action: Tour a SmartHome 

Wednesday, October 8 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. 

We've just added a new item to the program for the 2014 ANCOR Technology Summit and Showcase: a tour of one of the SmartHomes operated by ANCOR member Imagine!.

This is an opportunity to witness first-hand how technology is helping people with disabilities increase their independence and self-sufficiency. It also complements the Summit session Smart Homes and Mainstreaming Technology to Increase Independence, where you'll learn even more about the advantages of using this model.

Come see how Imagine! is using technology to enrich the lives of people with disabilities, and how new and evolving technologies are being incorporated at the residence all the time. There is no cost, but space is limited. Please let us know you want to join the tour here.

Then don't forget to register for the 2014 ANCOR Technology Summit and Showcase itself, where you'll find the latest in assistive, administrative and service delivery technology, and advice from innovators about how you can make this technology work for your organization.

 We know that technology offers the possibility of improved outcomes for the people you serve and greater effectiveness and efficiency for your organization. Whether you're just getting started or an experience innovator, the 2014 ANCOR Technology Summit and Showcase is the place you want to be.

Don't delay. Register today.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy Anniversary Donna & Gerald!

Today is the fifth anniversary of SmartHome lovebirds Donna and Gerald. Donna had a dozen roses delivered to her this morning (from a florist owned by SmartHome resident Mandy’s mother). They will be celebrating their five years of bliss together at dinner tonight.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rae's Vacation Pics

Rae, a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, recently took a vacation to Las Vegas with Max, one of the Counselors at the SmartHome. Rae's vacation was well earned. She took time off from her job at King Soopers to enjoy a few days of relaxing. We hope you enjoy seeing these pictures of her trip, and from the look on her face, she certainly enjoyed herself. Rae told us that she had fun. When asked about the photo of her and the parrot, she said it was a real, live parrot, and it was OK but it kept smelling her hair. She said that she gambled a little bit, and while she didn’t win any money, she didn’t lose much either. Rae shared that hopefully her next vacation will be to California, where she was born.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mandy Is A Published Author!

Imagine! SmartHome resident Mandy is a published author! Her first book, “Cupcakes in New York,” is being sold on Blurb.com.

Go check it out here and please consider supporting this talented SmartHome artist. 


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Technology Tuesday

This week’s Technology Tuesday features another edition of “Stephanie’s High Five” – where Imagine!’s Assistive Technology Lab facilitator Stephanie Tilley shares five apps for tablets and mobile devices that may benefit individuals with a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Stephanie is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist who has worked for Imagine! for more than 10 years, and is the author of “101 Adapted Games for Kids,” which provides adaptations for children’s activities to create inclusive activities and environments. 

Stephanie’s High Five – September 9, 2014 

Tally Tots is a collection of number activities that teach the basics of numbers and counting. There are interactive games including activities such as matching, sequencing, sorting, building, and puzzles for each number up to twenty. Examples of activities include placing marbles on a maze or feeding acorns to a squirrel. There is also a page of numbers from 1-100 that users can tap on and count the numbers as they are tapped in order up to 100. After each number has been tapped, the numbers can then be randomly tapped to be reviewed.

Alpha Tots is a touch interactive game that features puzzles and activities that help build the foundations needed to learn how to read. Every letter of the alphabet is featured with a different task that has to be completed for each letter. For example, for the letter B users build a Robot, and for the letter D users dig in the sand. The tasks need to be completed in order for each letter before users move on to the next letter.

This app features a friendly bird named Homer. Each user (up to 4 users with paid membership, 1 user with the free version) is set up by adding his/her name and picture. The user then goes to the hat shop and picks a thinking cap before starting the activity. There are 50+ skills offered in this activity including: letter sound recognition, proper pronunciation or letter sounds, upper and lower case letters, middle and ending sounds in words, blending, spelling, site words, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Activities include Story Time, Discover the World, Learn to Read, and Homer’s Clubhouse.

Users have the option of creating their own story or having a story created for them. When creating a story, users choose a hero, a place, what happens first, next, and how the story ends. There are six options from which to choose for each section. Once the story has been created the user can read the story independently or have the story read to them. Once the story is complete, users can rewrite stories over and over again mixing and matching characters, locations, and what happens during the story.

This app features a dancing Grandma as she has fun adventures in her garden. There are eight mini games: 1 – Match the Vegetables, 2 – Color the Vegetable, 3 – Count the Vegetables, 4 – First letter, 5 – Shapes, 6 – Touch the colors, 7 – Spot the Difference, & 8 – Number Groups. Each game features a different skill and the games rotate from one to another to keep users engaged.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Thank You, SmartHome DSPs

This week, Sept. 7-13, has been designated Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week as part of the American Network of Community Options and Resources’ (ANCOR) National Advocacy Campaign. Spearheaded by ANCOR members, with partners including the National Association of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) and the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS), National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week is celebrated annually across the country to honor the tens of thousands of workers who enable people with intellectual, developmental and other significant disabilities and their families to live healthy, community-oriented lives.

Locally, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper issued a proclamation recognizing DSP Week and honoring these vital workers (click on the image to get a bigger view).

At Imagine!, DSPs are the heart and soul of our organization. Please take every opportunity you get this week (and the rest of the year, too) to say “thank you” and “job well done” to our superb collection of SmartHome DSPs.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Lana Visits Zoo To See Her Favorite Animals

Lana, a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, sent us an audio email about her recent trip to the Denver Zoo and how much she liked the hippopotamuses. Pictured is Lana with a photo of a hippo that a friend gave her this week, along with some printed information about hippos, such as they can gallop at 19 miles per hour, weigh approximately 3,000 pounds, and have a typical lifespan of 40-50 years.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Volunteers Take The Train To The SmartHome

On Tuesdays, volunteers Jason, Kristin, and their daughters Isabelle and Serena come to the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome to spend time with the residents of the home. This week the family brought, and donated to the home, a train set that provided quite a bit of entertainment.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


This fall, Imagine!’s SmartHomes guru Greg Wellems will be providing the keynote address for New York’s third annual Assistive Technology Conference. Details are below. Congrats, Greg!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Technology Tuesday

Back in July, we posted an update on the collaboration project between Imagine! and the University of California Santa Cruz.

In this update, we were excited to let you know that we would begin testing at the end of summer. As it turns out (and no, we can’t believe it either), the end of summer seems to be already approaching quickly. Students are back in session, the leaves will be turning soon, and it’s time to start up some iPad testing. We have now begun testing apps that review skills of number recognition, money recognition, color recognition, and the newest additions, shape recognition and the skill of money addition.

Check out these pictures below of John and Donna helping us to take the new apps for a test drive.

And as always, stay tuned for more updates!