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Working at CSU

Occupational Therapy centers receive recognition by CSU Activities Board

April 7, 2009

It all started with a grant

In 1985, a federal grant received by the Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) allowed them to address the employment, independent living and community access needs of adults with disabilities in Northern Colorado. “At the time this grant was funded, pretty much the only options for individuals with significant disabilities in Colorado and nation-wide were in segregated, isolated settings,” explains Catherine Schelly, the Center’s director.

The CCP is a direct service and outreach arm of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Colorado State University. This award winning community-based service and outreach center has since received numerous federal grants and established many contracts to provide services, do outreach, and conduct research – mirroring the mission of a land-grant university. “In this capacity, our focus is to provide services and outreach to individuals with disabilities, while guiding, mentoring and supporting them as they pursue their educational, employment, independent living and recreational goals,” continues Schelly.

With several partners and teams like the University community, the City of Fort Collins and the Poudre School District, the CCP continues their dedicated work. One of their newest initiatives includes a service and outreach program with veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, who are returning with disabilities after serving our country. The Center will work with these men and women in their educational, employment and community re-entry goals. “We at CCP are excited about the direction we are going,” says Schelly. “During tough economic times, there have been many bumps in the road for our community, our state, our nation and our world. We hope that we can have a positive impact here at CSU and within our community.”

Providing ACCESS

The CCP takes on yet another role – education – with their collaborative efforts on the ACCESS Project. The Department of Occupational Therapy and CSU’s Institute for Learning and Teaching join the CCP along with the Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) to enhance instruction, improve student performance, and enrich the college learning experience for students with diverse learning needs.

The ATRC ensures equal access to technology and electronic information for Colorado State University students and employees with disabilities. “We serve individuals will all sorts of disabilities: vision, physical, learning…and the list goes on,” says Marla Roll, the ATRC director.

Like the CCP, the ATRC began in the early 1990s with a grant and was focused primarily on training and educating occupational therapy students in the area of assistive technology. A few years later, the ATRC was charged with providing services to the campus community, which includes both students and employees with disabilities.

“Our center is pretty cutting edge,” comments Roll as she relates it to other assistive technology programs in higher education. “We have successfully implemented assistive technologies on a server, creating access for any student, in any place, at any time.”

This program is uniquely designed to allow occupational therapy graduate students the ability to delivery some of these services, while earning their training requirements in the process.

“We want the CSU Community to know that we are here to assist with access to technology. We can provide equipment loans to students and recommendations to employees,” explains Roll on what services and guidance they can to provide to the campus community. “We can assist faculty in ensuring that their course content is accessible to all types of learners including those with disabilities.”

CCP and ATRC earn recognition

“The Center for Community Partnership and the Assistive Technology Resource Center uphold the mission of a land-grant University in one of the purest forms,” comments CSU Activities Board President JoAnn Cornell. “Not only are they providing research, outreach and service, but they are giving students access to education. We are proud of what they have accomplished, what they continue to accomplish, and we are proud to honor them for their incredible impact to our University and the community.” The CSU Activities Board presented them with a luncheon in support and congratulations of their efforts.

Contact: Katie Boeder
Phone: (970) 491-0993