West Virginia Assistive Technology Blog

September is National Preparedness Month – Are you Ready?

Emergencies can happen at a moment’s notice. Mobility, hearing, learning, or seeing disabilities can create specific needs that individuals must address to be able to respond to an emergency.

Ask yourself some basic questions:

  • Do you regularly need assistance with personal care, such as bathing and grooming?
  • What will you do if water service is cut off for several days or if you are unable to heat water?
  • How will you continue to use equipment that runs on electricity, such as dialysis, electrical lifts, etc.?
  • Do you need a specially equipped vehicle or accessible transportation?
  • What if your caregiver cannot reach you because roads are blocked or the disaster has affected him or her as well?\
  •  Can you reach and activate an alarm?
  • How will you call for the help you will need to leave the building?
  • Will you be able to care for your animal during and after a disaster?

The American Red Cross urges everyone, especially individuals with disabilities, to become “Red Cross Ready” for any urgent situation, which means:

In addition, people with disabilities, and their caregivers, need to learn more about managing communications, equipment, service animals, pets and home hazards. The Red Cross recommends four important steps:

  1. Create a personal support network to help you prepare for a disaster and identify and get the resources you need to cope effectively
  2. Complete a personal assessment to identify your  current capabilities and the assistance you may need before, during and after a disaster
  3. Gather information on where you local shelters are located and if you community have a local evacuation plan
  4. Make an emergency plan

For more information, contact your local emergency management office or visit the American Red Cross website by clicking HERE.

Co-authored by the American Red Cross and Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.


Para-Athletic Wellness Program – Fall Schedule of Activities

The YMCA of Kanawha Valley has announced it upcoming schedule of athletic activities for individuals with disabilities in the greater Charleston area, and they invite you to join in!

Golf. Archery. Swimming. Tennis. If you have thought about trying one of these sports or are just looking at ways to be more physically active, plan to participate in one of the activities listed in the ParaAthleticsFlyer from August through December.  Beginners are welcome!

Archery July 7th 2There are also activities for individuals with disabilities who live outside of Kanawha County but those who can travel might want to consider the Mock Golf Competition or qualifying Golf Championship at Coonskin Park in September.

The Para-Athletic program is a partnership between the YMCA and CAMC Foundation.  The partners sponsor statewide sporting competitions for athletes of all ages with physical disabilities and is the only organized, sanctioned sporting program for the physically challenged in West Virginia.  The program offers year round competitions in track and field, marksman, swimming, basketball, tennis, archery and golf.  Athletes who meet qualifying standards at these events have the opportunity to move on to national competitions.

Athletes can register for the fall programs by contacting Debra Bryant at the YMCA of Kanawha Valley at 304-340-3527 or

Posted in: Recreation

Therapeutic Horsemanship Center Open House and Jamboree

On Eagles’ Wings Therapeutic Horsemanship center in Fairmont invites everyone to attend its Open House & Jamboree on Sunday, September 24 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. at their facility at 371 Opekiska Ridge Road.

There will be plenty of activities for the whole family, including the chance to meet the horses!  Barn tours are at 1:30 and 2:30, and children (and adults) will have an opportunity to get their picture taken with Stormy, the center’s famous mini horse.

In addition, there will be musical entertainment, face painting, raffle baskets and horse plop bingo!

Admission is free.  On Eagles’ Wings Therapeutic Horsemanship is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that serves children and adults with disabilities in the Morgantown-Fairmont, WV area.

For more information, contact Bethany Smiley at (304) 910-9805 or

Posted in: Recreation

Learn to Ride the Bus!


Kevin is 34 years old and uses a wheelchair for mobility.  Before moving to Morgantown, he lived in Baltimore and was accustomed to using public transportation to get around the urban community.

As a local resident, Kevin used the transportation services at In Touch and Concerned to get to medical appointments but had trouble finding ways to get to and from places to shop or just enjoy an evening out.

Enter Kelli LaNeve, Mobility Coordinator for Mountain Line Transit.  As Mountain Line’s Travel Trainer, Kelli is on hand to help individuals learn to use the local fixed route system and, in Kevin’s case, how to use the deviated service.

For those who don’t know, public transportation systems in this country are required by the ADA to deviate from fixed routes by ¾ miles to accommodate riders who are unable to access the bus route.  This service is provided on all routes as long as the buses are able to safely access the location.  Deviations need prior approval.  The cost to deviate from the route is .50 cents in addition to the regular fare.

“I don’t use it all the time but I’m glad it’s there when I need it,” Kevin comments.

As a Travel Trainer, Kelli was able to explain to Kevin where buses go, how deviation works and how to change buses to get from one place to another.  And she didn’t just hand him some papers – she got on the bus with him and showed him first-hand how the system works.

Travel Training has helped Kevin get to know his way around town and do more than just get to doctor offices.  Although sometimes the local terrain is a challenge, Kevin is now comfortable going to the mall, bowling and the movies, among other activities.

“It takes a long time to get from one place to another,” explained Kevin.  “But the travel training was very helpful.  I would recommend it to others.”

Mountain Line Transit is the only public transit authority in West Virginia to offer Travel Training, a truly beneficial service for individuals with disabilities who may not have previously used public transit.

For Morgantown residents interested in Travel Training, contact Kelli LaNeve at 304.296.3680 or


Para-Athletic Survey

The CAMC Foundation is partnering with the YMCA of Kanawha Valley to sponsor statewide sporting competitions for athletes of all ages with physical disabilities through its Para-Athletic program.  The Para-Athletic program is the  only organized, sanctioned sporting program for the physically challenged in West Virginia.  The program offers year round competitions in track and field, marksman, swimming, basketball, tennis, archery and golf.

To help improve the program, the partners are asking interested individuals to complete and return a short Paraathletic Survey.  The purpose of this survey is to determine what the interest is in different sports/events, and does not guarantee that all sports/events will be available.  However, it will give the partners an idea who where interest is and maybe areas where existing opportunities can be expanded.

The Para-Athletic competitions are open to both competitive athletes as well as individuals who might like to see what it’s like to participate in this type of recreation program. No previous experience is required.  Those who participate in sanctioned events has the opportunity to move on to regional and national competitions. Children and adults from all counties are welcome.

Please send completed surveys to:


Debra Bryant

100 YMCA Drive

Charleston, WV 25311

Email to:

For any questions or comments please contact Debra Bryant at 304-340-3527 ext. 1116


Posted in: Recreation

Para-Athletic Program Mid Atlantic Games Track and Field Event

The Para-Athletic Program Mid Atlantic Games Track and Field event will be Friday June 23 from 8a-2p at the UC field in Charleston.  Any athlete wishing to participate can get a registration packet by clicking CAMC Registration Packet,  stop by the YMCA of Kanawha Valley and pick up a registration form at the front desk, print out a form via CAMC’s website or contact Debra Bryant, Healthy Living Director at the YMCA via email at  Registration is due June 20.

Events include 60M,100M, 100M Power chair, 200 M, 400M, 800M, 1,500M (HANDCYCLE Only), 10,000M HANDCYCLE Only), Discus, Shot Put, Club, Javelin, Turbo Javelin (YOUTH Only), and Long Jump.

The Para-Athletic Program is a partnership between the CAMC Foundation and the YMCA of Kanawha Valley to sponsor statewide sporting competitions for athletes of all ages with physical disabilities.  The Para-Athletic program is the only organized, sanctioned sporting program for the physically challenged in West Virginia.  The program offers year round competitions in track and field, marksman, swimming, basketball, tennis, archery and golf.  Athletes who meet qualifying standards at these events have the opportunity to move on to national competitions.

Everyone is invited to attend and show their support for the athletes!  Admission is free and all are welcome.

Posted in: Recreation


The West Virginia Chapter Paralyzed Veterans of America will be hosting an indoor adaptive archery clinic on July 7 beginning at 10 am at The Bow Shop located at 1 Northpointe Blvd., Clarksburg, WV.

“The Bow Shop was very happy to host an event for the PVA in May and we are excited to welcome them back in July,” stated a representative of The Bow Shop, a 23-year military veteran himself.

Archery July 7th 2Veterans are invited to come out for this event and learn how to shoot with James Cowie III, National Champion record holder for WASUSA and WV PVA.  The registration form can be found by clicking  archery registration.  Please complete the registration form by June 30  and mail to WV PVA 336 Campbells Creek Dr., Charleston, WV 25306 or email to Amanda at

Equipment will be available for new archers and lunch will be provided.

Contact the WVPVA office with any questions you may have or to register at 304-925-9352.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Request for Public Comment

Disability Rights of West Virginia is asking for comments from the public on its Fiscal Year 2018 (Oct 2017-Sept 2018) Priorities and Objectives. The Public Comment period is open from May 8 through June. 19.

You may submit comments by:

  • Phone: 800-950-5250
  • Fax: 304-346-0867
  • Email: with a subject line of “FY2018 P&O Comments”
  • Mail: DRWV, 1207 Quarrier St., Suite 400, Charleston, WV 25301
  • Message us on Facebook @drofwv

A copy of the Priorities & Objectives can be found on the DRWV website CLICK HERE

Posted in: Uncategorized

Fourth annual art contest and exhibition to showcase West Virginia artists with disabilities

The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) invites West Virginia artists with disabilities to enter the 2017 West Virginia Diversifying Perspectives Art Contest and Exhibition. This fourth annual event will feature original artwork created by people with disabilities.

To enter, you must be at least 18 years old, be a West Virginia resident and have a disability. There is no entry fee.

All entry materials and artwork may be submitted starting June 1 and must be received no later than June 30, 2017. Complete submission guidelines and an entry form are available at

A juried artist will select the winning entries based on criteria including originality, imagination, visual interest, presentation and skillful use of materials.

The awards include:
Grand Exhibitor – The winning artwork selected as the Grand Exhibitor will be incorporated into and prominently featured in a poster promoting National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is celebrated annually in October. The poster will be distributed to businesses throughout West Virginia and will include an image of the winning artwork, a biographical statement about the artist and his or her disability, a photograph of the artist and the annual National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme established by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

DRS will also purchase the artwork selected as the Grand Exhibitor (at a maximum cost of $1,000).

Awards of Excellence – Up to three $100 awards. These are not purchase awards.

The 2017 exhibition will open Wednesday Sept. 6, at the Culture Center in Charleston and will remain on display through Nov. 3, 2017.

DRS proudly presents this contest and exhibition in partnership with the West Virginia Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

For more information on the Diversifying Perspectives Art Contest and Exhibition, including rules and entry guidelines, visit or call 1-800-642-8207.

Posted in: Recreation

Color Teller

This is an image of the Color Teller.The Color Teller can help people with low vision or blindness identify colors. In addition to identifying colors, this device will announce tints and shades, such as light blue, pink, and dark brown. The Color Teller can also tell users whether lights are on or not.

The Color Teller has three language options, which are English, French, and Spanish. Users can also select between three volume levels and two levels of color announcement details.

Contributor: Brittany Valdez, WVATS

Posted in: Blindness, Low Vision
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