West Virginia Assistive Technology Blog

My Feelings Game: Exploring Emotions

What scares your child?  What makes him or her happy, frustrated, or angry?  This inspirational game encourages you and your child to explore these emotions in fun, active, (and sometimes very silly) ways.  The game features seven basic feeling that players will first identify, then explore by drawing cards.

As they play, children discover how to recognize feelings in themselves and in others, and to cope with them in socially appropriate ways.

This item can be loaned from our online loan library and is item #180891.

My Feelings Game: Exploring Emotions photo

Posted in: Uncategorized

April is Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness month. Assistive devices can help an individual with autism. Whether it is communication, daily routines, recreation or socialization, assistive technology may help individuals in many areas of life.

Autism Speaks has a list of assistive devices that may be of interest for families looking into options:

WVATS is able to assist in allowing individuals to borrow devices before buying them. If you are working with someone who has autism or someone in your family has autism, call WVATS to find out what is available.

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The TimerCap is a great way to help you manage your medications. The purpose of this device is to keep track of the time you last took your medication. The TimerCap can do this due to a built-in stopwatch with an automatic sensor that starts counting up the seconds, minutes, and hours since last opened. This gadget can help you gain peace of mind as the stopwatch automatically starts when the cap is closed. The TimerCap is also easy to use, as there are no buttons to manage or alarms to set.

This item can be loaned from our online loan library and is item #182233.

picture of the timer cap with countdown and medicine bottle

Posted in: Daily Living

Photo Phone P 300 with amplification, light, and touch dialing, Ameriphone

The Photo Phone P-300 allows you to dial a number simply by pressing a picture. With its powerful, built-in amplifier and large, easy-to-see keypad, using the phone has never been easier. The P-300 has nine photo memory buttons and the adjustable amplifier makes calls up to 20 dB. The adjustable tone control makes similar sounding words crystal clear and easy to understand. The Photo Phone also has a hearing aid T-coil compatible handset, adjustable loud ringer, bright flashers to announce incoming calls, and large, easy-to-see buttons that make dialing easy.

This item can be loaned from our online loan library and is item #181709.

Photo Phone P 300 with amplification, light, and touch dialing, Ameriphone photo

Posted in: Daily Living

Microsoft Accessibility

Microsoft has a website devoted to accessibility features available to individuals who use Windows or Microsoft products. This site has guides specific for users who have vision, hearing, speech, mobility and learning needs. Additionally there are resources and an accessibility blog. This site could be useful for those who use a computer with Microsoft applications and are experiencing some difficulty using it. Visit for more information.

WVATS is also able to assist individuals who need computer access but find using a computer difficult. Call WVATS for assistance on where to find built in features on your computer and how they might work for you.

Social Stories

Social stories are a great way to help individuals on the Autism Spectrum develop a better understanding of various social interactions, situations, behaviors, skills, or concepts that they may encounter. This better understanding may help these individuals to know what to expect when those situations occur. Social Stories are usually short, simple, and individualized for each person using pictures, written words, and spoken words to tell the story.

Story Creator is a mobile app that allows the user to create individualized social stories using familiar pictures and videos of people, places, and items in an individual’s environment while the text is being narrated by a familiar voice. Story Creator is a free program and available through iTunes for the iPad or iPhone.

Picture of the Story Creater app logo which is a picture of a closed photo album with a yellow canister laying across the album.

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PBS and Disability Resources

The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) is known for shows like Sesame Street. Did you know it also has a section of its website devoted to assistive technology and children with disabilities? On this site you can find information on child development, parenting, teaching strategies, tips for supporting your child and much, much more. Visit for more information.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Audio Description Training Retreats

Audio description trainings, created by Jan Vulgaropulos and Colleen Connor, are offered as a 4-night all-inclusive small group retreat in which students and teachers share meals and living space together. Each retreat includes 20 hours of formal teaching, training and practice.

Colleen is a motivational speaker, an audio description editor, and the podcast host of, where she illuminates issues impacting people who are blind, or have low vision. Jan Vulgaropulos, our lead trainer, is a professional audio describer who has been describing live theatre in the Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill and Greensboro, North Carolina area for the past 13 years. She also edits and writes audio descriptive scripts for films. Together they are committed to raising awareness of audio description, as well as to increasing access to this valuable service.

There are three different levels of curriculum offered:

Level One

  • Introduction to audio description
  • History of audio description and future trends
  • Disability awareness and understanding our audience
  • Thorough review of complex rules of audio description
  • Top ten tips highlighting how to organize and approach description
  • Organization, timing and editing of primary audio description; in real time
  • Emphasis on practice time—this is an art learned by doing!
  • “Do-over” opportunities allow fine-tuning and improvement of description
  • Introduction to equipment

Level Two

  • Review, practice, and consolidation of primary skills learned in Level One
  • Introduction to pre-show audio description
  • Scripting pre-show description of stage, setting, characters, costumes and props
  • Theatrical, dance and cinematic vocabulary
  • Purchasing and using audio description equipment
  • Tactile tours of theatre, museums, etc.
  • Audio description of art, dance and museums/exhibitions
  • Prerequisite: Level One

Level Three

  • Audio description of film and TV
  • Script writing and timing
  • Audio editing and syncing
  • Purchase of and use of recording equipment for home or studio
  • Voice coaching
  • Career opportunities and resources
  • Prerequisite: Levels One and Two

The next upcoming retreat is a Level One, and will be held on March 15-19, 2018 in Nebo, NC.

For more information, go to

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My Bike, My Stroller, and My Voice programs in WV

A red Rifton adaptive tricycle Blue Kid Kart Mighty Lite Adaptive Stroller

Variety, the Children’s Charity of Pittsburgh, provides children with disabilities programs, experiences, and equipment. The program provides services to Pennsylvania and 12 West Virginia counties at this time. Variety focuses on mobility, communication, and social inclusion. Their goal is to give children opportunities to discover possibilities for their own lives and, above all, be a kid.

Three of Variety’s programs include “My Bike”, “My Stroller”, and “My Voice”.
• “My Bike” gives adapted bicycles to children with disabilities.
• “My Stroller” provides an adaptive stroller to kids with disabilities.
• “My Voice” provides an iPad with a communication app to children with a communication disorder.

The “My Bike”, “My Voice”, and “My Stroller” programs are available to eligible children 4 to 21 years of age. Variety serves the following West Virginia counties: Barbour, Brooke, Doddridge, Hancock, Harrison, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Ohio, Preston, Taylor, and Wetzel.

For additional information on each program, the requirements, or to complete an application for the different programs, visit Variety Children’s Charity Pittsburgh or call Variety’s office at 724-933-0460.

Variety is also looking for people to help sponsor the programs. Visit Variety Children’s Charity Pittsburgh or call Variety’s office at 724-933-0460 for more information on how you can help.


AbleNet is an educational website that provides various information and opportunities for people with disabilities. Whether that’s a child in the classroom, an adult recovering from an injury, a veteran with a permanent disability, or a senior who wants to remain at home, AbleNet is there helping to improve their lives.

AbleNet sells multiple assistive technologies: switches, speech generating devices, accessible toys, activity supports, apps and software, assistive technology kits, computer and tablet access, connected home, mounting, sensory, and product accessories. AbleNet also sells curriculum packages that were created by professional educators with years of experience in the classroom helping students of all ages with mild, moderate, and severe disabilities achieve their fullest educational potential.

The website also works with private insurance, TRICARE, Medicare, and Medicaid in some areas to help individuals of all ages quickly fund an ipad-based communication solution. Users can also request a free loan device for the QuickTalker Freestyle from AbleNet. The Quicktalker Freestyle is a flexible, dynamic display communication device with the critical options speech-language pathologists need to meet the unique needs of their clients.

Posted in: AT for Students
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