Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Technology Tuesday

This week’s Technology Tuesday takes us back to “Chris’s Corner,” a unique corner that is home to Chris Baumgart, Imagine!’s Assistive Technology Specialist. Today, Chris discusses how various iPad apps are being used in Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source Boulder hub. 

Chris’s Corner 
This is my corner. There are many corners like it, but this one is mine… 

Greetings again, friends and viewing public. This week’s corner takes us to the Boulder site of Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source department. In this edition we’re highlighting the use of Apple iPads in a number of classroom environments. Using the results of Stephanie Tilley’s iPad app research (many of those apps have appeared in previousStephanie’s High Fivesegments on Imagine!’s SmartHomes blog), as well as input from the instructors who want to get more interactive content into their classrooms, I was able to set up several iPads (see below) to serve as robust and dynamic instructional tools that encourage new and exciting ways for each participant to be a more active part of his or her own learning.

In addition, instructors are now equipped to use the iPad in our AT Lab to demonstrate lessons to the entire classroom instantly on TV. In the photo below, our own Bridget Carroll is using the app called “Sign 4 Me” to demonstrate various American Sign Language (ASL) in such a way that the entire classroom can follow along. And of course, this is just one of many, many possibilities for our classrooms. Teachers are now using iPads to teach math skills, literacy skills, communication skills at many different levels, as well as music skills. I’d love to go on about that last one, as it may be one of my personal favorites, but that’s going to have to wait for another edition. Be sure to tune in for future editions! Don’t touch that dial!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Karen In The Kitchen

Karen, who lives in the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, continues to work on her cooking skills at home. Here she is cutting up some ingredients for a turkey wrap.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Lana Visits The Humane Society

Lana, who lives in the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, visited the Humane Society last week and played with all the cats and dogs there. Lana says she loves animals and wanted to share her experience with everyone! Thanks to Site Supervisor Shannon Bundy for sharing the pics.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Guess Who's Touring The SmartHomes?

Touring Imagine!’s Charles Family SmartHome in Longmont yesterday: supporters of Friends First, including founder Lisa Rue and Executive Director Elycia Cook. Friends First is a Longmont-based organization that empowers teens to make positive life choices and develop healthy relationships through education and mentoring. The tour was arranged and conducted by SmartHome ambassador extraordinaire Leona Stoecker.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

HCPF Seeks Focus Group/Advisory Council Participants

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) and the Department of Human Services are working to redesign and improve methods for people to learn about their options for long-term services and supports and to enroll in programs. The first step in this process is to facilitate focus groups through a series of conference calls. The Departments are seeking input from people who currently access long-term services and supports, and those who work with them. As a consumer, caregiver, or frontline staff member, your ideas and experiences are particularly important.

The purpose of this call is to gather information about your personal experiences as a consumer, caregiver, or frontline staff member. State employees will not be on any of the calls. All comments will be shared in summary (i.e. you will not be quoted directly in any way, unless you request it). Each call will be limited to 8-10 participants and will be professionally facilitated by a consultant (not a state employee) to assure that your time is respected. Your input about what works – and particularly, what doesn’t work – about the current system will be invaluable as the state plans for a more coordinated, consumer-friendly system.

Call in times for consumers and caregivers:
  • Monday, February 2nd from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. 
  • Thursday, February 5th from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. 
  • Thursday, February 5th from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, February 10th from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 
Call in times for frontline staff members:
  • Tuesday, February 3rd from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. 
  • Monday, February 9th from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. 
  • Thursday, February 12th from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 

Participation is based on a first-come, first-served basis. To RSVP or if you have any questions, please contact Aron Snyder at aron.snyder@state.co.us or 303-866-3312. Call-in information will be provided to you after you RSVP. To compensate you for your time, all participants will be given $15 gift cards following the call.

Additionally, HCPF is creating a Member and Family Advisory Council.

The goal of this advisory council is to gather feedback and ideas on how to integrate more person- and family-centered practices into policies, partnerships and programs. The advisory council plans to meet six to eight times in 2015. Mileage reimbursement and incentives for participation are available. To apply, print out the application below and fax to 303-866-2505.

For more information, or to have an application emailed to you, contact Olivia Covey at 303-866-2324 or Olivia.Covey@state.co.us.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Technology Tuesday

Imagine!’s Dayspring department provides educational and therapeutic services that promote and support children ages birth to three who have developmental delays or disabilities, their families, and the community.

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

Duck Duck Moose has a variety of apps for both Android and Apple devices that interactively delight children while encouraging cognitive, language, and motor development. Here are just a few Duck Duck Moose app recommendations from Dayspring therapists:

Duck Duck Moose apps are available on Google Play and iTunes.

Imagine!’s Dayspring therapists also suggest BabyU and BabyFirst Video at BabyFirst as a place for young children to explore. Below are a few recommended activities. Each activity even tracks data so you can see how the child is progressing!

BabyFirst Videos and Apps are available on Google Play and on iTunes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Rebecca's Ledger Progress

We’ve shared before how residents at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder are working on an interactive ledger designed by Imagine! to increase independence around money management. Here’s an update on Rebecca’s progress from Site Supervisor Shannon Bundy:

“I worked with Rebecca today on her money ledger and I was blown away and had to share. We added all her receipts for January (five receipts) into her ledgers. Rebecca was able to learn how to scroll back and forth on her excel ledger by herself and she has mastered how to add the date, store, and withdrawal/deposit correctly. I am impressed with the skills she has mastered and excited to continue to see her improvement!” 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Technology Tuesday

A few weeks ago, I shared some videos from University of Colorado students in Professor Melinda Piket-May's Fall 2014 Engineering class, who worked on adaptive equipment projects for individuals served by Imagine!. In the video below, Chris DiRosa, the Site Supervisor for Imagine!’s Charles Family SmartHome in Longmont shares some of the projects and discusses how they will be used in the home.
  Can’t see the video? Click here.

Friday, January 9, 2015

SmartHomes Update

Below is a brief update on what has been happening in and around Imagine!’s SmartHomes lately. The report was produced by Imagine! Foundation Executive Director Patti Micklin for the Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Interest surrounding the Imagine! SmartHomes project continues to be strong. Last month, SmartHomes ambassador extraordinaire Leona Stoecker provided a tour of the Charles Family SmartHome in Longmont to a woman visiting from Ukraine who has a child with developmental disabilities. She is part of a group of professional women from Ukraine who were with Leona’s Rotary Club as part of the US State Department Russian Leadership Training Program. Since the tour, the women’s group is committed to creating an NGO to support people with disabilities in Ukraine. SmartHomes guru Greg Wellems provided her with background information and links to the SmartHomes planning so they may replicate some of it. 
  • 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. 
  • College students continue to be engaged. Last semester, a group of University of Colorado Engineering students in Associate Professor Melinda Piket-May’s class worked on projects to design simple adaptive technologies that aid increased independence for some of the individuals Imagine! serves. This week, Alex Andrews and Fred Hobbs gave a presentation to students of Sri Kurniawan, Associate Professor at the Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California Santa Cruz. Professor Kurniawan is collaborating with Imagine! by having some of her students help to create apps for Imagine! clients as part of a student project.
  • Starting in this month, tours of the Charles Family SmartHome in Longmont will be held on the 3rd Monday of each month at 10:00 a.m. We made this change to accommodate the residents’ schedule changes.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

UCSC Students To Create Apps For Imagine!

Earlier today, Imagine!’s tech guru Alex Andrews and Imagine!’s PR Director Fred Hobbs gave a presentation to students of Sri Kurniawan, Associate Professor at the Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California Santa Cruz. Professor Kurniawan is collaborating with Imagine! by having some of her students help to create apps for Imagine! clients as part of a student project.

The presentation was delivered to introduce the students to Imagine!, the population of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and discuss why technology is so important for the future of services for this population.

This is not the first time students in Professor Kurniawan’s class have undertaken these projects. To learn about some previous projects, click here, here, and here

Many thanks to Professor Kurniawan and her students. We can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

SmartHome Staffers At CES

For the past two days, Imagine! SmartHomes guru Greg Wellems and IT Director Kevin Harding were at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, checking out the latest technologies to see what can be translated for use in serving individuals with intellectual disabilities. For Imagine!, what happens in Vegas comes back to Colorado to improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Technology Tuesday

This week’s Technology Tuesday takes us back to “Chris’s Corner,” a bustling corner inhabited by Chris Baumgart, Imagine!’s Assistive Technology Specialist. This edition of the “Corner” provides some in-depth information about how Imagine! is using technology to allow individuals (regardless of ability or disability) to create beautiful music. 

Chris’s Corner 
“Yep. Painted myself straight into it.” --Chris 

This week’s “Corner” takes us to Imagine!’s Longmont CORE/Labor Source (CLS) hub and into the Music Composition Class as taught by Kelly Faus. Everyone in class has the opportunity to build into the song; the most popular means is by using CLS’s digital drum kit’s MIDI capabilities. If you’re not familiar with MIDI technologies or what you can do with them, Kelly offers a quick overview in the video below.
  Can’t see the video? Click here.

The great advantage to using the drum kit specifically is that it allows individuals with largely varying fine and gross motor skill levels to be able to play drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, any wind instrument, and many more, simply activating each pressure pad in the kit as he or she sees fit.

Now, on to the musical composition. For each project, the class first reviewed four primary sections to a musical composition: rhythm, a bass line, harmony, and a melody. The class would then layer in each of these components to produce the final composition.

For the rhythm section, the class decided together on a drum loop they’d like to put together. There were a lot of considerations the class discussed, including musical style, theme, and tempo. For this project, the general consensus was a “Happy Funky Psychedelic” beat (a pretty tall order). After trying out a couple of loops, the gang settled on one that they felt best fits the bill.

Next on deck was the bass line. Scott decided to step in and lay down the bass track. After deciding on which bass sound he felt would fit the composition, he was able to lay the track down in real time, as you can see in this video.
  Can’t see the video? Click here.

Once the bass line was set and everyone was satisfied, other participants tried their hand at a melody. Once a melody was established, other harmonies were introduced. In this way, everyone had the chance to lay down one or more tracks until they all agreed the composition was complete. Have a listen below to see what they came up with!

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Thank You Imagine! Celebration Sponsors

The Imagine! Celebration, the annual fundraising event of the Imagine! Foundation, raises funds to support Imagine!’s programs, services, housing, and its two SmartHomes. It is scheduled for Friday, January 23, 2015 at the Plaza Convention Center in Longmont. The event includes a silent auction featuring more than 200 items, dinner, a live auction, and a special appeal (paddle raiser). More than 400 people attend the event each year.

This link will take you to an impressive list of the many generous businesses and individuals who are sponsoring the event. The list is a great demonstration of the incredible support Imagine! has in our community. Thank you!