West Virginia Assistive Technology Blog

Go Talk 20+

The Go Talk 20+ is a communication device that has 5 recording levels and a 100 message capacity. The device has large message squares for easy access and a built in keyboard to help users select the right message. Users can change levels with a press of a button.

The Go Talk 20+ is available for loan at the West Virginia’s Assistive Technology Loan Library and Exchange System, at

The item’s Website ID is #173101



Posted in: Communication

“Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites for Autism Programs”

Jon Stewart will host a live show on November 18th at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on HBO. This benefit will include performances by comedians, in an effort to raise awareness and money for programs used by individuals with autism. The show will have appearances from individuals such as Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Louis C.K., Stephen Colbert, Abbi Jacobson, Jordan Klepper, Hasan Minhaj, John Mulaney, Olivia Munn, and John Oliver.

“Night of Too Many Stars” was developed by Robert Smigel in 2005 with the hope to support schools, services, and programs that are used by students with autism all around the country. Over the years, this benefit has raised over $24 million. Tune in to help support individuals with autism, while being entertained by some great comedians. You can find more information about this benefit at!get-to-know-us.


night of too many stars

Posted in: Uncategorized

Happy Holidays!

It’s that time of the year again! Everyone is  shopping for holiday greeting cards to send to  friends and family. There are thousands and thousands of holiday cards available in stores, but typically none of these cards are written in braille.

Fortunately, greeting cards that are written in braille can be found and purchased online. For example, is one of the several websites that carry these cards. In addition, Amazon also has a large selection of greetings cards that are decently priced.

Sending a holiday greeting card, that is written in braille, to a friend or relative who is blind is a great way to show that you are thinking of them during this holiday season.

The pictures below are a few cards written in braille that can be purchased on Amazon.






Posted in: Blindness, Braille

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
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