Congratulations to local business – Big Deal Tire and Wheel – recipient of the Clarence Miller Excellence in Inclusion in Employment Award at the 21st Annual Dan B. Davidson Colorado Developmental Disabilities Celebration of Inclusion!

Nominated by Marilee Boylan of the Arc of Larimer County, business owner Brandon Haines has made a priority of working with and hiring people with disabilities. At his Big Deal Tire and Wheel business at 1295 N. College Ave. in Fort Collins, Colorado, Mr. Haines offers internship opportunities to all students.  One of his first interns was a Poudre School District Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE) student, and sixteen years later, that employee continues to work for the automotive company.  Mr. Haines extends his dedication to the special needs community by working as a job coach for Poudre School District, and has done so for many years.  We applaud Big Deal Tire and Wheel for their commitment to the inclusion and success of people of all abilities.


Congratulations to SWAAAC Coordinators Ann Scott and Trish Atherly!

Two of our PSD Integrated Services staff received a SWAAAC award “for their exemplary performance, leadership, service to students, and outstanding contributions to Assistive Technology service delivery in Colorado public schools”.  These awards were presented at the 2018 SWAAAC Summer Symposium on June 12.  We’re happy to see Ann and Trish recognized for their dedication to our PSD students! (StateWide Assistive Technology, Augmentative and Alternative Communication)

Celebrating Collaborative Efforts – Spring into AACtion: Literacy Inspiration Quick Kits

This past April, several PSD IS teachers of Elementary ILS and Autism programs, along with our SWAAAC (Statewide Assistive Technology, Augmentative, and Alternative Communication) Team participated in the CDE SWAAAC Distance Spring Training – Spring into AACtion: Literacy Inspiration Quick Kits. This training was designed to target teaching literacy to students with complex communication needs. During this training we developed literacy lesson plans and curricula for these students using storybook themes. We adapted story books, identified accessible activities and manipulatives, and identified learning outcomes across the 5 areas defined by the National Reading Panel.

Trish Atherly, M.S., OTR/L
PSD Assistive Technology Services –SWAAAC
PSD Occupational Therapy Services
Multi-Cultural Consultation and Assessment Team
V.M. (970) 490-3066

SB18-145 Implement Employment First Recommendations

On Friday, May 18, 2018, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper visited Fort Collins to sign SB 18-145 which is to “Implement Employment First Recommendations – Concerning the implementation of employment first advisory partnership recommendations to advance competitive integrated employment for persons with disabilities, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation” (SB 18-145).  The signing was well-attended by community members, including several student groups from Poudre School District Integrated Services.



“Fill the Heart” R-Word Event – borne out of a Mom’s passion for acceptance and inclusion.

“Fill the Heart” is an awareness presentation about the r-word and why it is harmful.  Self-proclaimed “Proud Mom”, Tena Green, expanding on an idea created by her friend more than 10 years ago, presented to the students at Blevins Middle school for the second year in a row, as well as at Webber Middle School.  Tena’s oldest son, Brady, was born with an attribute of Down Syndrome, which is just one reason for this passion project, and for Tena’s drive to make a difference.  Beginning in Minnesota (which continues to this day), and then moving to Colorado, the “Fill the Heart” event has been presented for several years out in the community.  ALL are invited to attend, and to take the pledge to end the r-word.  It was a natural progression to bring this event into schools, and to reinforce the already expanding awareness about the r-word and the damage it causes.  Another positive side-effect is that it brings each school community, as a whole, closer together.  Special Olympics of Colorado lends its support through the donation of materials for this event.  Blevins Principal, David Linehan, wrote in a letter of support, “The Fill the Heart Campaign brought a higher level of consciousness and understanding to our school community for the support of students with special needs.  The program helped reinforce the message to students and staff of acceptance and support for all.”  Mr. Linehan went on to say, “Please consider supporting the Fill the Heart campaign. It made a difference for the children and adults in the Blevins community! It is incredibly satisfying to watch a community of kids cheer, encourage and rally around the students that have additional physical, mental or developmental challenges. The campaign will fill your heart with joy, pride and bring tears of joy to all. We can and do make a difference for kids. All kids!!”