Washington Assistive Technology Act Program
Core Function: Technical Assistance and Outreach Training
The mission of Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP) is to increase the provision of, access to, and funding for assistive technology (AT) for Washingtonians of all ages and all disabilities through a variety of comprehensive activities and services available statewide. WATAP provides Washingtonians with access to expertise that addresses AT needs in all areas of life, with particular emphasis on education, employment, and community living. We offer information to family members, employers, employment service providers, educators, health care providers, social service providers and others seeking assistive technology services and knowledge.
WATAP is part of the Center for Technology and Disability Studies (CTDS) and is guided by a consumer-majority advisory council. By partnering with CTDS staff and faculty, WATAP is able to provide hands-on demonstrations and short-term loans of assistive technology devices to help potential users make informed decisions about using such devices and related services. Additional services offered include information and referral, training, and technical assistance. WATAP partners with the Washington Access Fund to provide low-interest financial loans for the purchase of assistive technology devices and services through the Assistive Technology Loan and the Business Equipment (Telework) Loan programs. The Washington Access Fund also provides a low-cost rental program for closed circuit magnification systems and matched savings program (Individualized development Accounts or IDAs) for the purchase of AT. WATAP provides support to local community reuse providers, Bridge Disabilities Ministries- Meyer Mobility Center and the Seattle Hearing, Speech, and Deafness Center (HSDC), for the purposes of expanding capacity for their device reuse programs. The Meyer Mobility Center provides reused nobility and durable medical equipment at no cost and HSDC offers a unique hearing aid reuse program. WATAP coordinates the Evergreen Reuse Coalition, a Washington State reuse network, which seeks to make a positive impact to the environment, quality of life of consumers, and cost savings to consumers through effective reuse of assistive devices. The Microsoft Accessibility Resource Center is hosted by WATAP and provides access to a series of video demonstrations and text guides/tutorials that explore accessibility solutions in Microsoft Windows, Office and Internet Explorer.
WATAP and Timberland Regional Library Systems have partnered to offer to library members the opportunity to see and try a small selection of assistive devices to help with a variety of daily tasks. Members of the Library Systems may borrow any of the devices through the Library System catalog. Several State Agencies, including the Special Education Technology Center, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), and Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), coordinate with WATAP's Device Borrowing program to provide short-term loans of assistive technology to special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, rehabilitation counselors, occupational/ physical therapists, and other technology specialists throughout Washington State. Additionally, Washington Education Association (WEA), CTDS, and WATAP have teamed up to offer special topics courses in special education law available for WEA members, including AT for Educators, and Transition to Postsecondary Life.
WATAP administers the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) in Washington State through an agreement with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH). The NDBEDP provides technology to low-income individuals who have combined hearing and vision loss for the purposes of accessing telecommunication and internet services. WATAP provides individualized assessments to determine appropriate equipment to meet a consumer’s needs, purchases the equipment for the consumer, and then arranges for appropriate set-up and training through agreements with community partners. Additionally, WATAP conducts follow-up assessment/evaluation and client satisfaction surveys to ensure equipment is effectively being used by the client and to improve program procedures and service delivery.
email for more information: Online AT Discussion Forum