What is UCP Michigan?
About the Assistive Technology Center
UCP Michigan is a non-profit advocacy organization that works for the productivity, independence and full citizenship of people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.
In April of 2000, the concept of an AT Center in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula began when Linda Potter, executive director of UCP Michigan, met with individuals with disabilities and representatives from local hospitals, universities, agencies and schools in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) to determine the need for such a Center. Members from these organizations became the Center's advisory committee and were involved in planning the Center’s initial proposal for funding. The need for the Center was obvious because of the geographic isolation of the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) and the great distances one had to travel to receive an assessment or trial use of an appropriate device. UCP Michigan received funding to start the Center through an Innovation Expansion grant from Michigan Rehabilitation Services and a second grant from the Elsie S. Bellows Foundation [affiliated with UCP National] for the purchase of assessment equipment.
The overall goal of the Center is to provide skilled assessments, trials on devices/software, and training on chosen equipment to anyone with a disability who could benefit from assistive technology.
Assistive Technology devices help a person with a disability do typical activities. AT can be computer software that helps a dyslexic student to read and write independently or a communication device that becomes the voice for a person with autism or someone who has had a stroke and is non-verbal. Other examples include switch-activated devices that are activated by a part of the body that an individual can control. A hands-free telephone and a page-turning device are examples of switch-activated devices that can provide independence to someone with upper body mobility difficulties.
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Assistive Technology services begin with an assessment that matches an individual’s abilities, strengths and challenges with a device or software that will give them increased functioning and independence. A speech pathologist or occupational therapist specializing in AT provide recommendations for equipment and are available to help with implementation of the device once it is received. Implementation is crucial and can be an on-going process usually involving a support team (family members, school personnel, etc.).
Since its first assessment in June 2001, the Center has provided services to individuals ranging from 4 to 70 years old. In addition to assessments, the Center is available to the community as a resource and often hosts informational workshops for area schools, community mental health agencies, rehabilitation professionals and hospitals.
AT Center Director
Linda Potter, the Executive Director of UCP Michigan is the Center Director. Linda is an attorney who has been a disability advocate for more than 25 years. She was a manager at Protection and Advocacy in both Maryland and Michigan and was also a staff attorney in the enforcement division of the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. This experience with diverse disability issues gives Potter a broad sense of strategy. She has built a strong record as a successful collaborator, working closely with other disability organizations to achieve access and participation for individuals with disabilities.
AT Center Manager
Sara Menzel is the Center manager. She has a background in developing concepts into working models. She possesses leadership skills and an ability to develop long-term business and community relationships . Her previous positions in the medical field provide her with a working knowledge of customer service, terminology and medical billing. She is also a strong advocate for her son who has a disability.
Sara Oster is contracted through her employer, Superior Therapy Services to provide computer access, low vision and daily living assessments. Sara recently graduated and is very enthusiastic and creative.
Gena Turner is employed by Marquette Alger Regional Educational Service Agency as an occupational therapist. She is on the assessment team for students in Marquette and Alger Counties and is responsible for implementation and training of software and devices at the local district level.
Vivian Graham is employed by Marquette General Hospital and works on our Assistive Technology and Aging in Place program. This program identifies unmet needs of seniors and develops new devices in partnership with students majoring in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University.
Speech Language Pathologist
Kate Kenney is contracted through her employer, Pathways, to provide communication assessments. Kate has a Master of Arts in Speech Therapy and a Bachelor of Science in Special Education – Speech and Language Impaired. She has over 18 years of experience successfully treating adults and children with varying degrees of acquired brain injury and developmental disabilities. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
UCP Michigan, Assistive Technology Center 321 E. Ohio St. Marquette, MI 49855 1-906-226-9903 [email protected]
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