If you live in Washington State, you can contact at:
Washington Assistive Technology Act Program
University of Washington
UW Box 354237
Seattle, WA 98195-4237
(800) 214-8731 Toll-Free Hotline
(866) 866-0162 Toll-Free TTY
(206) 543-4779 Local Fax
Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP)
Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP) provides a comprehensive continuum of services and resources to help Washingtonians with disabilities of all ages to make informed decisions about assistive technology (AT), and to provide alternative means of acquiring the AT they need. WATAP serves not only individuals with disabilities, but also their circle of support including family members, employers, employment service providers, educators, health care providers, social service providers, and others seeking AT expertise in all areas of life, but especially in education, employment, and community living.
To assist our users the WATAP web content has been condensed below, for more detailed information please go to the program website below linked below or click on the headings to go to the linked page.
Limited strength in the upper extremities as well as limited hand control can affect a person's ability to lift and manipulate objects. A person's ability to bend and reach can also affect how they are able complete activities of daily living. Assistive technology for daily tasks are often adapted or borrowed from other uses. One advantage of assistive technology for daily living is that suitable devices can often be found not only in catalogs specifically selling aids to daily living devices but in drug stores, kitchen shops, hardware stores and many other places. This means not only that they are readily available, but that they also tend to be cheaper than other types of assistive technology. Occupational and physical therapists are great resources for helping to determine what types of devices for daily living might work for you, and they can often loan you equipment to try out. (Link to: Borrow devices for self care, Borrow devices for homemaking, Borrow devices for positioning & Borrow writing aids)
Motor dexterity challenges of the upper extremities including arm, wrist, hand, and finger movement can have an impact on an individual's use of a keyboard and mouse to access a computer. For example, motor dexterity challenges can effect fine motor control and an individual's ability to hit small targets such as mouse buttons and keyboards keys. Hand tremors can effect an individual's ability to stabilize mouse control and accurately hit a target or can cause repeated and unintentional keystrokes and mouse clicks. The task of adapting a computer can be challenging. Before purchasing a computer or assistive devices it's important to identify how you are going to use the computer. One particularly good strategy is to try to find out about the experiences of other people with similar needs when researching potential solutions. (Link to: Borrow pointing devices, Borrow keyboards, Borrow software for computer access, Borrow switches & Borrow typing & positioning aids)
Environmental and structural adaptations are made to the built environment to remove or reduce barriers and promote access for individuals with mobility disabilities. In additional to structural changes, electronic devices can control a large portion of or an entire living environment for someone who cannot otherwise physically access it.
There are conditions that affect an individual's ability to learn, remember, plan, navigate, and interact socially with others. These conditions include learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, degenerative conditions, and conditions that result from external or internal trauma to the brain. People with these conditions will have different levels of disability, different patterns of cognitive challenges, and different trajectories of cognition over time. Activities of daily living can be affected by these challenges and technology is used to supplement their abilities. (Link to: Borrow devices for memory & organization, Borrow software for reading and writing support & Borrow technology that scans and reads)
Some areas that need to be addressed for persons with low vision and blindness are daily living activities such as reading, food preparation, grooming, and coordinating colors. Additional daily living activities outside the home include orientation and mobility including navigating safely by detecting obstacles, crossing the street, locating destinations, and using public transportation. (Link to: Borrow devices for orientation & way finding, Borrow Braille devices, Borrow technology that scans and reads.
There are several options to supplement the reading process for people with vision impairments who are accessing websites or documents on computers. Solutions for persons who are blind replace rather than enlarge. Replacements include tactile and auditory inputs and outputs. Individuals who are blind use this software to navigate through menus and programs on the computer as well as read and edit documents and use a web browser to read content on the internet. Instead of using a mouse, the individual uses keyboard shortcuts and gets auditory feedback about what is on the computer screen. Screen readers are built into computer operating systems and are also dedicated software.
Being able to take part in recreational activities has a positive effect on people's sense of well being. For persons with low vision and blindness, adapted games allow them to participate in social activities with family and friends. (Link to: Borrow games)
Individuals who have disabilities affecting written and verbal communication use forms of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) to interact socially, transfer information, or communicate wants and needs. AAC must be able to augment or replace these different types of interaction and does so either through unaided communication or through aided low-tech and aided high-tech approaches. Unaided communication is making use of a person's own body. This could be pointing, gesturing or pantomime, speech or vocalizations, sign language, and finger spelling. Aided communication includes the use of pens, computers, pointing devices (i.e. head pointer), letter or picture boards, dedicated electronic devices, or apps on mobile devices. Low-tech or manual devices are typically items that don't need a power supply, such as communication books or boards. High-tech or electronic devices are also in the aided communication category and are made up of computers and dedicated voice output devices.
Individuals who have disabilities affecting hearing use technology to interact socially and to communicate. People who are deaf typically use unaided communication such as sign language, but technology can make communication over distances or with people who don't know sign language possible. For people who are hard of hearing many technologies amplify sound to aid communication. (Link to: Borrow devices for two-way communication, Borrow devices for amplification & Borrow telephones for hearing assistance)
All of the information provided on this page & the banner image comes from the Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP) website (Updated May 19, 2019)