New center offers new technology for those with disabilities

1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago Wednesday, June 27 2018 Jun 27, 2018 Wednesday, June 27, 2018 6:49:00 PM CDT June 27, 2018 in News
By: Joe Ward, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY- A center for adults with disabilities had its new location's grand opening Wednesday.

The UCP Heartland Gibbs Center for Independence opened its new state-of-the-art location in Jefferson City. The center offers adult day programs, residential programs and employment services for adults living with disabilities.

The center will double the programs capacity to 100 clients and offers three training kitchens, designed to help program members develop employment skills, as well as a high tech sensory room and eye tracking technology.

The eye tracking technology is made to help people who have trouble communicating, like those with cerebral palsy, navigate a computer and communicate using only their eyes.

Hallie Gibbs, who the facility is named after, said things like the eye tracking technology or the wheelchair accessible oven, microwave and shelves gives a very important thing to those in the programs. 

"It allows them to be independent." Gibbs said. 

Gibbs said besides independence, employment is a main goal of the center.

"Our real objective here is to get them where they can go to the workforce." Gibbs said. 

CEO of UCP Heartland Brenda Wrench said enhancing this site was costly. 

"We spent about a million dollars getting it to the state of the art for people living out of wheelchairs or experiencing other medical complications." Wrench said.  

Wrench said the facility is about giving those living with disabilities a purpose.

"Finding jobs for people, getting them set up in apartments with staff that can help them manage their life and then day services is really important," Wench said. "As well as pursuing independence and employment and offering them as much enrichment in their life that they can have." 

Gibbs also said in a press release this center will be the flagship for future centers like this.

"It will be the model for all other disability centers in Missouri," Gibbs said.  

The press release also said the center will expand to working with children living with disabilities as well as adults. 

"In the coming year, the center will be offering weekend services for children, offering a full range of services tailored to people of every age," Program Vice President Judy Grainger said. 

  

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