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Health Insurance Enrollment Resources for People with Disabilities

Enroll in or change 2017 Marketplace health insurance right now until January 31, 2017! The American Association on Health and Disabilities has made enrollment easier with disability-related resources for Marketplace Navigators to provide health insurance information and support that is relevant to consumers with disabilities.

The Montana Disability & Health Program has organized these resources for use during Open Enrollment at: [] to get started!

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Also, to begin health insurance enrollment, Cover MT can help you find a Navigator near you!

The Safety Project poster for AUCD

AUCD 2016 Hughes poster ID1796

Greetings All,
For those of you who won't be at AUCD this year, this is the poster that we will present on The Safety Project. It's been one of the most enjoyable and important projects we've done!

Thanks for all of your support. Enjoy!

Rosemary and Trinity

Movin' On in Montana


Movin' On in Montana is a transition seminar for high school students with disabilities who are considering college. It is hosted at the University of Montana by the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities. Forty-eight Montana high school students have participated since 2015.

MonTECH Program Director, Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities

The University of Montana invites applications to fill the position of Program Director for MonTECH at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana. MonTECH provides assistive technology tools and services to people throughout the state of Montana and oversees various assistive technology (AT) programs.

The successful candidate will solicit input from various stakeholders to effectively promote and direct the program. The program director will demonstrate discretion and independent judgment in regard to program efforts and will be responsible for remaining current with developments in the field of assistive technology. This position will directly supervise staff, manage multiple grants and contract budgets and coordinate assistive technology services throughout the state. Consultation and collaboration will be key functions of this position, both internally and externally.

Continue reading MonTECH Program Director position

Social Media as a Tool for Employment

These days, the use of social media as a tool for employment plays a significant role in today’s job market.  Whether someone is looking for a job, interested in keeping a job, or wanting to network within a profession, various social media platforms can be utilized to advance employment goals.

Uses for Social Media and Employment:

Prospective employees use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to network, research potential employers, mitigate “digital dirt,” and promote themselves.

Employers use social media and other search tools to investigate potential employees, fact-check resumes, and research common connections.

Continue reading how LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram can assist Vocational Rehabilitation consumers with job search and employment on the RTC: Rural website.

Self-Advocates and Researchers Sharing Leadership on the Development of a Violence Prevention Program

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People with intellectual disabilities (ID) are at high risk for abuse. Unique risks include:

  • Perception of being easy targets for victimization
  • Communication barriers
  • Difficulty identifying treatment as abusive, reporting abuse, and recognizing abuse as a crime
  • Lack of education about safety from abuse

There is a need for the development and systematic evaluation of a safety program for people with ID.

View The Safety Project poster.

Report to the President 2015

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Leveling the Playing Field: Improving Technology Access and Design for People with Intellectual Disabilities

This is an important report regarding use of AT for people with IDD to attain independence. The first page describes the history. 

RTC: Rural - Using Social Media for Employment

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Using social media for employment is an important strategy for anyone on the job market.  When searching for a job, consumers must often look well beyond the “help wanted” section of the newspaper.   As a result, job search strategies have changed dramatically and social media increasingly plays a part in searching for and maintaining a job.  With that in mind, the Use for Social Media for Employment study was created to evaluate Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselors’ knowledge of and approach to social media.

Continue reading about social media on the RTC: Rural website.

Montana Rehabilitation Award goes to UM Advocate

“A leader for change” is how one colleague put it. Another said, “Without Theresa there would be many young people who would not be getting the education…to prepare them for the future.” They are talking about Theresa Baldry, a long-time disability advocate and part-time UM staff based in Miles City, Montana. Theresa was recently recognized by the Montana Rehabilitation Association with the 2014 President’s Award. This honor is given annually to an individual who has made a major contribution to the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities on a state-wide basis.

Theresa’s UM colleagues said it this way, “Her personal journey raising a son with disabilities has given Theresa amazing insight into the process that is needed to assure that individuals with disabilities have appropriate choices.” They add, that she is a “strong advocate” and that her “experience enables her to provide practical guidance and information.”
Among many other things, Theresa coordinates MonTECH activities in eastern Montana working primarily with schools and local communities to improve educational and life outcomes for young people with disabilities. MonTECH is a major community support of UM’s Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities.

Continue Reading

Winterize to Prevent Falls

Below are five simple steps that YOU can take today to make a big impact on falls for older adults and adults with disabilities in your community:

  1. Raise awareness by posting and disseminating this simple and colorful infographic -- 6 Steps to Prevent a Fall -- from the National Council on Aging.
  2. Check shoes, boots, and assistive devices and be sure that they are “winterized.”  
    1. Ingrid – Ice Gripper Cane Tip is available at Fashionable Canes and Cozy Winters  
    2. Yaktrax Spikeless Ice & Snow Shoe Gripper Sole Covers are at Fashionable Canes
    3. Keen shoes can be found at OnlineShoes
    4. Try this inexpensive way to make wheelchair snow tires
  3. Encourage older adults to carry a Ziploc bag filled with a lightweight kitty litter in their pocket and cast it out ahead of themselves on very slick surfaces. More information about using kitty litter for traction can be found here.
  4. ‘Tis the season for gift giving! Encourage adult children to give fall-proofing holiday gifts to their parents:
    1. Fall alarm systems that are motion triggered without hitting a button
    2. Higher toilets in the home
    3. Replace multifocal glasses with single vision eyeglass lenses
    4. Grab bars in bathroom and next to outside steps or inside thresholds

Continue reading fall prevention

"Get up and seize the day."

By Maclaen Burningham, Rural Institute Consumer Advisory Council Member

Emerging Leader Nate, from PolsonIn August 2014, I interviewed Nate of Polson, Montana, as an Emerging Leader. I have included the questions I asked Nate and his responses below. Because Nate doesn't speak, I sent him the questions ahead of time and his family communicated with him to develop his answers. His dad spoke for him in the interview, with occasional nods of the head in agreement by Nate to what his dad said.  

Maclaen:  Thank you for agreeing to this interview.  I am going to ask you some questions.  Please answer them as thoroughly as you can.  You don't have to answer any questions you don't want to answer.  We want to help other young adults and their families understand how you are able to live, work, play and learn in your community.  Where do you live?  

Nate:  I live in an apartment that used to be part of a duplex. My parents live upstairs. This gives me the potential in the future to gain more independence by learning to take care of myself.

Maclaen: Where do you work or volunteer?

Nate:  Although currently I do not have paid employment, I volunteer at the local food bank with my dad. We re-package potatoes, recycle cardboard and pick up donations from a local grocery store. I enjoy the work as well as time with the staff.

Continue reading the interview with Nate...


Donate Used Medical Equipment


Please share this during our season of giving and remembering others.

Mon-Fri 9 AM—4 PM
MonTECH/ UM’s Rural Institute
700 SW Higgins, Suite 200, Missoula, MT 59803

Call 406- 243-2841 or 243-5511

Please don't throw away good and lightly used medical equipment. Pass it on to another Montana resident in need.

All kinds of medical equipment accepted.
Adaptive equipment for children with disabilities is always in need. Plus, sometime or other, we all need crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs,  commodes, tub benches etc. When you no longer need the equipment or device, consider donating it for another Montanan to use.

Benefiting all Montanans experiencing temporary or permanent disability.


Adaptive Equipment for Outdoor Recreation Helps Make the Environment Accessible

Chris Clasby, a former employee of UM’s MonTECH (Montana's Assistive Technology Program), is featured in a recent Montana PBS episode of "Backroads of Montana.” You will see how Chris uses adaptive equipment to continue experiencing the outdoors after his accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Chris floats down the Missouri River on a modified raft using an adapted fishing rod that works off compressed air. He operates the casting and reeling with his chin. He moves the controller left and right to cast and presses down to reel in the line. “It's the same feeling I had when I fished before I had a disability. Disability does not define you. I’m still the same person I was. It's the same exact thing.”

Continue reading about outdoor recreation

Leadership Training in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Julia Hammond, a University of Montana doctoral student in Clinical Psychology with a neuropsychology and child & family emphasis, received a scholarship to attend the mid-November conference of the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD). Julia is preparing to work with children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as traumatic brain injury and autism.

Continue reading about leadership training

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ScholarWorks Readership Map

Browse the Rural Institute Collections at ScholarWorks University of Montana


Happenings at Rural Institute

Major Programs within the Rural Institute