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Author Archive

DDTP First In Nation To Provide Visually Assisted Speech-To-Speech Service – 5/1/12

On May 1, 2012, the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program, part of the California Public Utilities Commission, will launch Visually Assisted Speech-to-Speech (VA STS), a new technology that can enhance the relay experience of individuals with a speech disability.

How does Visually Assisted Speech-To-Speech work?
In addition to a phone call to the relay service, the Speech-to-Speech (STS) caller will also use a webcam or videophone with Skype to connect with the communications assistant at the relay call center. This will allow the communications assistant to see the Speech-to-Speech user as they are speaking. Seeing the caller’s mouth movements, facial expressions, and gestures will enable the communications assistant to better understand and re-voice for the caller. Users of augmentative and alternative communication devices can also share the information they are typing via Skype using computer emulation. Special equipment and an Internet service to access the video service are required to make a call, but are not provided by the CRS.

How do I get started?
If you are curious about this new service, contact one of the California Relay Service providers’ Speech-to-Speech training lines.
Hamilton Relay: 1-877-632-9095, ask for the Speech-to-Speech (STS) training line (available 24/7);
AT&T Relay: 1-866-288-1909 CA STS customer service (available 24/7), or 1-866-844-2626 CA STS user training line (available M-F, 9am-5pm, or by appointment);
Or visit the website at: www.ddtp.org, and look for “VA STS” in the news section.

Posted on May 7th, 2012

KTLP Survey Confirms Budget Cuts Catastrophic – 1/2012

A KTLP online survey launched in November, and completed by over 250 organizations representing over 1,000 vendored providers, shows that services for individuals with developmental disabilities have reached a “tipping point” in their efforts to provide quality services and supports in the wake of continuing cuts and freezes. Even if no further cuts are forthcoming, many programs may not make it through the next year.

The most shocking findings of the survey are that 10% of the responding organizations say they are within a year of going out of business if present trends continue, and over 33% report they are on the verge of having to close or consolidate programs/services in order to survive.

Read the full KTLP survey – In Danger of Collapse: A Survey of the Community Services System for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Posted on February 8th, 2012

Los Angeles Children’s Hospital Recruiting for LEND Training Program – 1/2012

The USC University for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is currently recruiting participants for the Family Support discipline in its 2012/2013 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (LEND) training program.

We are seeking parents of children with special needs who have a minimum of two years of experience working with other parents or as an advocate for systems change and are interested in receiving advanced training in our multi-disciplinary program.

If you have any questions, please contact Fran Goldfarb, Director of Family Support, at: fgoldfarb@chla.usc.edu or 323 361-3831.

LEND flyer
LEND brochure

Posted on February 7th, 2012

UCPGG’s 2011 Holiday Party Photos – 1/31/12

UCPGG's Ultimate Holiday Party 2011

Please click on the image above to view a slideshow of photos from this year’s Ultimate Holiday Party. It was a lot of fun and a fabulous success!

Posted on February 1st, 2012

Planning for Tiny Tim: A Modern Christmas Carol – 12/2011

This article emphasizes the importance of setting up a special needs trust and planning for the future when there will be harsh cuts to government programs.

Read more: Special Needs Alliance Newsletter.

Posted on December 12th, 2011

New art classes in Berkeley offer hands-on fun for kids with disabilities – 8/7/2011

UCP Foundations is offering a new art program for children with physical and cognitive disabilities. Held at the Live Oak Community Center in Berkeley, classes meet every other Thursday through December 15. A range of art projects (including eggshell picture frames and build-your-own-oceans) encourage kids to experiment with different textures and media.

Read full article on the Examiner: New art classes in Berkeley offer hands-on fun for kids with disabilities.

Posted on August 23rd, 2011

Beating Brain Cancer with a Baseball Bat – 7/27/11

With a smooth left-handed swing, Alessandra Glickman drops a single down the third-base line and arrives at first base with a smile. Just like countless other kids, she is thrilled to be out playing baseball on a warm Sunday afternoon.

But Alessandra Glickman isn’t like most kids.

Alessandra was born with Down syndrome. After beginning to grow into a life that would always include certain challenges, she started losing weight and energy. A few months before her sixth birthday, doctors finally determined why when they found three tumors in her brain.

Read full article on Menlo Park Patch: Beating Brain Cancer with a Baseball Bat.

Posted on August 1st, 2011

Celebrating 21 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – 7/26/2011

Twenty-one years ago, the United States became the first country to adopt national civil rights legislation, unequivocally banning discrimination against people with disabilities in the public and private sectors. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was remarkable, not only because of its groundbreaking provisions, but also because it was developed with the extensive participation of disability organizations, bi-partisan champions from the House and Senate, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the business community.

Learn more.

Posted on July 26th, 2011

UCPGG Presents Gifts to Special Education Grant Winners – 7/1/2011


In June 2011, UCPGG awarded eight special education teachers in our four county service area (Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and Alameda) with Special Education Grants. These grants consisted of items the teachers had requested for their special education classes. The winners were picked based on the level of creativity and imaginativeness of their requests. Everyone was delighted to receive their awards. The winners are as follows.

Alameda County
Steven Edwards – Vannoy Elementary School – Castro Valley Unified School District
Johnetta Maduakglam – Eldridge Elementary School – Hayward Unified School District
Shannon Johns – James L. Bunker Elementary School – Newark Unified School District

Contra Costa County
Holly DeShazo – Buena Vista Elementary School – West Contra Costa Unified School District
Maria Graham-Tyler – Lucille Glass Mauzy School – Contra Costa Office of Education
Nicole Davis – Transition Program – West Contra Costa Unified School District
Shelly Wallent – John Swett High School – John Swett Unified School District (Crockett)

Marin County
Glenn R. Dal Poggetto – San Jose Middle School – Novato Unified School District
Merchelle Cettall – Bolinas Campus – Bolinas-Stinson Union School District

Posted on July 26th, 2011

The Rights of Californians with Disabilities: New Video and Publications by Disability Rights California – 7/1/11

Disability Rights California has produced a new YouTube video, weekly electronic newsletter, and CD to inform people with disabilities about their rights and the services available to them. As the state’s social safety net frays, Disability Rights California (DRC) is making a concerted effort to reach out to the hundreds of thousands of children, youths, and adults who need disability advocacy and legal services to become or remain independent, and to help them access education, health, or other critical services. Designated the state’s protection and advocacy system for Californians with disabilities, DRC offers free legal and advocacy services to those who need them to resolve disability-related issues. In 2010, the most frequently requested services concerned: obtaining Regional Center services for people with developmental disabilities; access to education, healthcare, and information about benefits; how to preserve autonomy and privacy; and how to fight against abuse.

YouTube Video: a short, six minute overview of what they offer and how to contact them.
E News: a weekly electronic newsletter.
CD: 10 of their most popular publications including special education rights and responsibilities, an effective tool for parents of children with disabilities. Call 800-776-5746 to order.
Annual Report: details how they serve more than 26,000 individuals, while impacting an additional 393,000 Californians with disabilities and their families through class action lawsuits. Available in English and Spanish.

Posted on July 7th, 2011