What is the Assistive Technology State Plan?
- Federal funding to each state supports an assistive technology state plan to increase access to and acquisition of assistive technology for individuals with disabilities.
- State Plan goals are to develop and implement:
- - Assistive technology recycling and exchange programs
- - Assistive technology loan programs
- - Assistive technology demonstration program
- The WVATS Advisory Council monitors, advises and assists in implementing State Plan goals.
Fifty-one percent of its members are individuals with disabilities or their family members who use assistive technology. Other members include representatives from state agencies and disability organizations.
Assistive Technology State Plan[1. Basic Information] [2. Lead Agency] [3. State Advisory Council] [4. Measurable Goals] [5. State-level Activities] [6. Comparable Support] [7. State Flexibility] [8. State Leadership Activities] [9. Public and Private Entities] [10. State Support]
Part I: Attachments OMB Control Number: 1820-0664 Expiration Date: 12/31/2006
Attachment 1: Basic Information
Name of Lead Agency: Center for Excellence in Disabilities
Address of Lead Agency: 959 Hartman Run Rd. Morgantown, WV 26505
Name and Title of Certifying Representative for Lead Agency: Ashok S. Dey, Director
Address for Certifying Representative: 959 Hartman Run Rd. Morgantown, WV 26505
Telephone for Certifying Representative: (304) 293-4692
E-mail for Certifying Representative: firstname.lastname@example.org
Name and Title of Program Director: Jamie Hayurst Marshall, Program Manager
Address for Program Director: 959 Hartman Run Rd. Morgantown, WV 26505
Telephone for Program Director: (304) 293-4692
E-mail for Program Director: email@example.com
Name of Implementing Entity: N/A
Name of Applicable Division and/or Subdivision of Implementing Entity: N/A
Address of Implementing Entity: N/A
Name and Title of Program Director: N/A
Address for Program Director: N/A
Telephone for Program Director: N/A
E-mail for Program Director: N/A
Name and Title of Program Contact (if different from Program Director): N/A
Address for Program Contact: N/A
Telephone for Program Contact: N/A
E-mail for Program Contact: N/A
Attachment 2: Lead Agency and Implementing Entity
2.1 Identification and Description of the Lead Agency - Identify and describe the Lead Agency referred to in section 4(c) (1) (A) of the AT Act.
2.1A Identification and Description of Lead Agency if an Implementing Entity is not Designated- The Governor of West Virginia redesignated Lead Agencies from the WV Division of Rehabilitation Services to the Center for Excellence in Disabilities at WVU. The Center for Excellence in Disabilities was the former Implementing Agency and due to the nature of the work of WV Division of Rehabilitation Services (working with employment projects) the Governor felt the Center for Excellence in Disabilities at WVU would be a better fit as Lead Agency.
2.1B Identification and Description of Lead Agency if an Implementing Entity is Designated- N/A
Attachment 3: State Advisory Council
3.1 Membership of the Advisory Council - Identify the members of the Advisory Council and each member's designation as an individual with disabilities who uses AT, a family member or guardian of such individual, or a representative of a State agency or other entity.
The WVATS Advisory Council (formerly Advisory Board) currently has 18 members, ten of whom are consumers or parents or guardians of individuals who use AT. The Council is currently seeking additional consumer representation and Workforce WV, the state Workforce Investment Act entity, will appoint a representative which the Council will need to approve at its next meeting.
The geographic location of an individual and the individual's type of disability are considered by the Council when appointing consumer representatives in order to ensure diversity and statewideness.
Due to confidentiality reasons, the names of Council members are not listed.The State AT Program (WVATS) Advisory Council is composed of the following members:
- Individuals with disabilities who use AT: 8 members
- Parents or guardians of individuals who use AT: 2 members
- Representatives of state agencies or other entities: 8 members
West Virginia Department of Rehabilitation Services
WV Department of Education - AT Coordinator
WV Department of Education Deaf/Blind Project
WV Developmental Disabilities Council
Center for Aging and Healthcare
Workforce WV Office
WV Insurance Commission Office.
3.2 Structure and Operation of the Advisory Council - Describe the structure and operations of the Advisory Council.The WVATS Advisory Council has been in existence since 1994 (as the WVATS Advisory Board). The purpose of the Council, as stated in its by-laws, is to function in an advisory capacity to:
- Monitor, provide feedback, advise and assist with the implementation of the WVATS program.
- Identify and raise program and service issues based on personal experience and/or expertise.
- Advocate for the WVATS program.
- Assist in developing board policy, program goals and plans.
- Assist in developing reports and recommendations
The Council by-laws define the purpose, membership, officers, meetings and committee structure of the group. Membership is limited to thirty members and consumers or consumer representatives must be a majority. Regular meetings of the Council are held three times per year; however, special meetings may be called by the Chair Person, the Program Director, or at the request of a majority of the Council members following a ten day written notice. The Council meetings follow Robert's Rules of Order, Revised Edition. Travel, childcare, attendant aides, overnight accommodations and other appropriate travel expenses are reimbursed to consumers and consumer representatives. Council officers, chair person, vicechair person and corresponding secretary are elected by a majority of Council members present and serve a one year term. Elections are held the first meeting of the calendar year.
Agency members are designated by the Chief Executive Officer of each identified agency and consumer members are appointed by the Council based on recommendations by a Nomination Committee. Consumer members are solicited through newsletters, listservs and written requests to consumer and advocacy organizations. The Council considers and appoints all new members by a vote of two- thirds of those members present.
Attachment 4: Measurable Goals
WVATS indicated in year one it would establish a baseline for each of the goals 4.1 through 4.7 and would submit after year one an amendment identifying the long-term and short-term goals to improve upon this baseline during years two and three of the State Plan. This baseline was to be established using a data collection instrument and procedures to be determined by RSA after the State Plan was completed. However, because the data collection instrument to establish this baseline has been delayed, WVATS has not been able to collect this data. Therefore, WVATS will establish a baseline during year two of the State Plan.
4.1 Goal for Improving Access to AT in EducationLong-term goal:
- Short-term goal for Year 3:
- Short-term goal for Year 2: Establish baseline of the percent of appropriate targeted individuals and entities who accessed device demonstration programs and/or device loan programs and made a decision about an AT device or service for educational purposes as a result of the assistance they received.
4.2 Goal for Improving Access to AT in EmploymentLong-term goal:
- Short-term goal for Year 3:
- Short-term goal for Year 2: Establish baseline of the percent of appropriate targeted individuals and entities who accessed device demonstration programs and/or device loan programs and made a decision about an AT device or service for employment purposes as a result of the assistance they received.
4.3 Goal for Improving Access to AT in Community LivingLong-term goal:
- Short-term goal for Year 3:
- Short-term goal for Year 2: Establish baseline of the percent of appropriate targeted individuals and entities who accessed device demonstration programs and/or device loan programs and made a decision about an AT device or service for community living purposes as a result of the assistance they received.
4.4 Goal for Improving Access to IT and TelecommunicationsLong-term goal:
- Short-term goal for Year 3:
- Short-term goal for Year 2: Establish baseline of the percent of appropriate targeted individuals and entities who accessed device demonstration programs and/or device loan programs and made a decision about an AT device or service that meets an IT/telecommunications need as a result of the assistance they received.
4.5 Goal for Improving Acquisition of AT in EducationLong-term goal:
- Short-term goal for Year 3:
- Short-term goal for Year 2: Establish baseline of the percentage of appropriate targeted individuals and entities who obtained devices or services from State financing activities or reutilization programs for educational purposes who would not have otherwise obtained the AT device or service.
4.6 Goal for Improving Acquisition of AT in EmploymentLong-term goal:
- Short-term goal for Year 3:
- Short-term goal for Year 2: Establish baseline of the percentage of appropriate targeted individuals and entities who obtained devices or services from State financing activities or reutilization programs for employment purposes who would not have obtained the AT device or service.
4.7 Goal for Improving Acquisition of AT in Community LivingLong-term goal:
- Short-term goal for Year 3:
- Short-term goal for Year 2: Establish baseline of the percentage of appropriate targeted individuals and entities who obtained devices or services from State financing activities or reutilization programs for community living purposes who would not have obtained the AT device or service.
4.8 Additional Measurable Goals -- If applicable, describe any measurable goals that the State has set in addition to the goals established in items 4.1 through 4.7 for addressing the assistive technology needs of individuals with disabilities in the State related to education, employment, community living, and telecommunications and information technology. Not applicable
Attachment 5: State-level Activities
5.1 State Financing Activities - Describe how the State will implement State financing activities as described in section 4(e)(2)(A) of the AT Act.
WVATS is reviewing, studying and will make recommendations about the existing State financing system, "West Virginia's Technology Related Assistance Revolving Loan Fund for Individuals with Disabilities."The purpose of the study was to answer the following:
- Why is the loan program underutilized?
- What is the default rate?
- How many applications are sent out and of those applications, how many people actually apply for a loan?
- For what kind of assistive technologies are the loans being requested?
- How much money are applicants asking for?
- Does the $20 application fee (to cover the credit check) deter some individuals from applying for a loan?
- What states have successful loan programs and how do these programs work?
WVATS worked with the Fairshake Network, a group of approximately 35 consumers and agencies, of which WVATS is a member, to develop and write legislation for the Revolving Loan Fund program in 1998. The West Virginia Legislature passed the plan for the Revolving Loan Fund and designated the WV Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) as the agency responsible for the program. Currently, the Revolving Loan Fund is a low interest loan program made possible by money in the amount of $100,000 set aside by the WV Legislature in the WV Department of Treasury for individuals with disabilities to purchase assistive technology. A seven member board appointed by the Governor administers the fund. The board consists of a banker, accountant, DRS representatives, and consumers who review and approve/reject applications. Loans may range from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $5000. Persons may borrow up to 90% of the value of the technology-related device or service. The current interest rate is 4%.
A successful Revolving Loan Program would increase acquisition of AT for individuals with limited funding sources who are eligible for a loan. Such loan programs enable individuals to acquire AT they otherwise could not afford. WVATS proposed to determine through data collection, analysis and review, if the West Virginia Revolving Loan Fund meets the standards for a successful program.Breakdown by year
- In year one, WVATS conducted a feasibility study.
- In year two, based on results of that study, WVATS will hold public forums disclosing the results of that study and inviting suggestions for improvement.
- In year three, WVATS may collaborate to amend the funds enabling legislation.
WVATS studied the West Virginia Revolving Loan Fund by examining its guidelines, number of applicants, number of accepted/rejected targeted individuals, default numbers, the length of the loan, and the range/average income of loan holders. WVATS is working to establish a baseline for the number of individuals served from various populations. WVATS does not collect information regarding the Revolving Loan Fund. Representatives for the Department of Rehabilitation Services were invited to WVATS Advisory Board meetings to present information about the loan and worked to determine what data was being collected.
A survey was compiled by WVATS and given to a West Virginia Technology Related Assistance Revolving Loan Fund representative to research and complete. These questions were used to determine past and present loan activity and provide insight into structures and guidelines currently being used to operate the loan. Through this questionnaire, WVATS has collected basic information on various areas of the loan process, such as number of applicants, default numbers, etc.Data showed the following since the Fund's establishment in 1996:
- One hundred and eighty two (182) requests for applications, brochures, etc. Of that a total of 53 applications were received. 1998 - (9), 1999 - (9), 2000 - (18), 2001 - (4), 2002 - (2); 2003 - (2), 2004 - (2), 2005 - (5), 2006 - (2)
- Thirty-six applicants received loans, 17 were denied loans.
- Loans were approved for $107,781.48 with the following yearly breakdown. 1998 - ($10,557.00) 1999 - ($14,785.00) 2000 - ($34,303.20) 2001 - ($15,954.93) 2002 - ($ 2,245.55) 2003 - ($ 8,770.00) 2004 - ($ 6,210.80) 2005 - ($ 8,979.00) 2006 - ($ 5,976.00)
- Computers, wheelchairs, scooters, equipment to transport scooters, home modifications and software were purchased.
- Seventeen applicants were denied for the following reasons:
1998 - (5) - Unfavorable Credit Report
1999 - (1) - Approved applicant declined loan
2000 - (4) - Unfavorable Credit Report
(2) - Rescinded application
(1) - Requested equipment not assistive technology related
2001 - (2) - Unfavorable Credit Report
2002 - (0)
2003 - (1) - Unfavorable Credit Report
(1) - Requested equipment not assistive technology related
2004 - (0)
2005 - (0)
- Requests for devices not considered assistive technology, such as a treadmill, were rejected.
- Eight loans have been paid back in full and 20 have defaulted.
- The timeframe for repayment of the loan in full is three years.
- The maximum period for repayment is five years. The monthly payment is dependent on the amount borrowed, the interest rate and the length of the loan.
During this study, WVATS worked to promote awareness about the existing Revolving Loan Fund to determine if underutilization resulted from lack of awareness. In addition, WVATS promoted the Revolving Loan Fund in its quarterly newsletter disseminated to 9,500 individuals and organizations, by creating new brochures, by distributing brochures to individuals through public awareness services and by speaking of the program on the "Access for All" television series used by the Center for Excellence in Disabilities to promote its programs.Year 2
WVATS plans to hold public forums throughout the state inviting stakeholders such as loan staff, individuals with disabilities, families, and professionals to discuss solutions and enhancement methods for the Revolving Loan Fund.
Once collected, WVATS staff will take all suggestions and recommendations to the WVATS Advisory Council for discussion and direction on how to proceed.
Also in year 2, WVATS will partner with DRS to create and implement a marketing strategy for the Fund by publishing ads in the WVATS newsletter, creating a web page for the loan project on its web site and providing the Revolving Loan as a suggestion to appropriate information and referral inquiries WVATS staff receives. In addition, WVATS staff will increase dissemination of loan project brochures at exhibits, demonstrations and conferences.Year 3
Based on study results from year one and forums in year two, WVATS may collaborate with consumer groups to amend current legislation or to create new legislation. Due to the demographics in West Virginia, which includes a population with the oldest median age of all states and one of the nation's highest poverty levels, the capacity to operate a successful loan program may be limited. If study results reveal West Virginia does not have the capacity to implement a successful loan program, WVATS will concentrate its efforts in reutilization programs.
5.2 Device Reutilization Program - Describe how the State will implement a device reutilization program as described in section 4(e) (2) (B) of the Act.
BackgroundWVATS does not operate a device reutilization program. However, two reutilization programs are in operation in two former WVATS community-based Tech Teams: the Arc of Wood County and the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living branch office in Elkins, West Virginia. The program operated from the Arc of Wood County relies on device donations and redistributes those devices to individuals with severe financial needs. This program depends on computer list servs and word of mouth to advertise devices available. The program operating from the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living (NWVCIL) depends on donations of devices and also redistributes these devices to individuals. This group also works to help individuals acquire devices they need and informs individuals that when a device is no longer needed it can be donated to the Center. The NWVCIL is also working to build portable ramps and donates these ramps to individuals on an as needed basis. When the ramp is no longer needed, the ramp is sent back to the NWVCIL to redistribute.
Year 1 - Update
WVATS studied reutilization rates, the amount and quality of devices and equipment donated, and the need for repair of devices.
WVATS conducted a mail survey to locate other reutilization programs within the state to determine which regions and populations within the state are underserved. Approximately 250 surveys were mailed to organizations with only 9 surveys returned.
Due to this poor return it is difficult for WVATS to determine what exists in the state. WVATS is speculating that a limited number of such reutilization places exist and will continue with year two of our plan. WVATS also plans to be vigilant in seeking out reutilization centers as staff become aware of such sites.
WVATS worked with the Arc of Wood County and the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living to determine the rates and quality of donations to these centers. WVATS will have this information by the end of Year One and will use this information to create models of reutilization centers and promote these models to increase awareness about reutilization centers.
WVATS has provided monetary support in Year One through an RFP to the Arc of Wood county to maintain and expand its exchange center. Data collected in a final report determined that 26 devices were exchanged and eight were refurbished. The devices came to the center in good condition and follow up phone satisfaction surveys revealed a high satisfaction with this program.
WVATS sought out interested organizations to be collaborators in creating new reutilization centers. WVATS will work with any interested group to create reutilization centers around the state. Requests for proposals (RFPs) were sent to organizations offering monetary assistance for implementation of new reutilization centers. RFPs sent in Year One were not implemented until February 2006 and the Arc of Wood County was the only reutilization center funded.
WVATS mailed RFPs in Year One for implementation in Year Two so interested organizations can begin RFP programs in October 2006, giving them a full year to implement programs.
WVATS is creating a virtual database of reutilization and exchange programs to be hosted on the WVATS web page. WVATS will act as a conduit for information about devices available for reutilization to consumers and will include, in the virtual system, information about existing repositories of devices for loan or possible reutilization. WVATS will seek out vendors who may have devices for loan or reutilization to include in the virtual system.
WVATS initiated its virtual exchange system, the Assistive Technology Bulletin Board. This bulletin board is a part of the Virtual Library of Assistive Technology Devices and is available online for individuals to post devices and look for used devices.
Work will be done in year two to market the Assistive Technology Bulletin Board to increase participation.
WVATS will also work to implement and create awareness about the virtual database of reutilization and exchange programs hosted on the WVATS page.
WVATS will use information collected about the reutilizations programs of the Arc of Wood County and the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living to develop models for new programs. WVATS will provide monetary support to organizations through RFPs for those interested in implementing or continuing reutilization centers.
WVATS will continually update its Assistive Technology Bulletin Board and its virtual database of reutilization and exchange programs.
WVATS will provide the model reutilization center for public use. WVATS will seek out groups to implement the reutilization model, particularly to those organizations within underserved regions or that serve underserved populations.
WVATS will provide RFP opportunities for creation and enhancement of reutilization centers.
5.3 Device Loan Program - Describe how the State will implement a device loan program as described in section 4(e) (2) (C) of the Act.
WVATS operates an assistive technology loan program in which individuals can request a device by calling a toll-free number, through e-mail or in person. WVATS mails the device to the person for a short- term loan (30 days). The individual is then responsible for mailing the device back. WVATS operates loan libraries from its core location (Morgantown), its Southern Resource Center and six former Tech Team sites. WVATS Tech Teams were community-based groups under the previous grant program that disseminated information about AT and supported the activities of people with disabilities through public awareness activities, training and demonstrations in multi-county regions.
WVATS will enhance the quality of its existing device loan program by creating a virtual library of equipment for individuals to see what assistive devices WVATS has available and determine if the device is available. The virtual library will be available on the WVATS web page for individuals to access the WVATS loan library inventory and will also include information about and links to other existing loan libraries and vendors around the state and border states. The site will provide individuals with information about these programs, i.e., who is eligible, what equipment exists in these libraries and how to access this equipment. The virtual library will serve as a one-stop source of information on Assistive Technology Device Loan Libraries in the state.
Year 1 - Update
WVATS has initiated its virtual loan library. This system is hosted on the WVATS web site and allows users to search WVATS inventory to determine what devices are available for loan. WVATS has also initiated working with other loan libraries around the state to add inventories of assistive technologies into the WVATS Virtual Loan Library to create an inclusive web site of assistive devices available for loan in West Virginia.
WVATS continued to expand and update the devices it has in its short term loan library by purchasing assistive technology devices for loan purposes and continue to operate its loan program.
WVATS sought out new organizations to collaborate with to create or enhance existing loan libraries by providing monetary support through a request for proposals (RFPs).WVATS provided monetary support to:
- The Mountain State Centers for Independent Living in Huntington and Beckley to create and maintain an Assistive Technology Resource Library for residents in southern West Virginia. This Center used WVATS funds to provide devices for individuals and agencies to try before they buy.
- TeckLink in Parkersburg to expand its Assistive Technology Loan Library to underserved areas. WVATS funds help TechLink to maintain sufficient equipment to give individuals a variety of devices to try.
- The Easter Seals REACH (Real Experience with Augmentative Communication Hardware) program. Easter Seals is located in Wheeling and money from WVATS helped Easter Seals to maintain and increase availability of augmentative communication loan equipment in its lending library.
- The Project Assist Resource Center in Elkins and the Technology Access Center in Romney to maintain their lending libraries, both operated by the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living.
WVATS RFP funding has successfully maintained loan libraries in a variety of locations around the state and allowed many West Virginians the opportunity to try a variety of devices. WVATS RFPs in Year One were awarded for February 2006 - October 2006. WVATS mailed RFP opportunities in Year One to be awarded in Year Two to allow recipients a full year to develop and maintain loan libraries.
WVATS has continued to collect information on who is borrowing devices, for what use, and if the loan helped the individual determine what kind of device to purchase through the use of follow up surveys to be mailed with the equipment. Surveys were also used to determine the borrowers level of satisfaction with loan services. Through WVATS data collection it was determined that the majority of loans resulted in an increased interest in assistive technology. The majority of devices were those for hearing concerns (amplified phones, assistive listening devices, etc.), toys for children, augmentative communication devices and computer hardware (keyboards). Devices seemed to be divided relatively equally between consumers or family members requesting devices and professionals requesting devices.
Year 2 and 3
WVATS will work to collaborate with other loan libraries around the state to add devices to the Virtual Loan Library system to create the inclusive assistive technology loan library web site. WVATS will create awareness about the virtual library's existence through publications in the WVATS newsletter and fact sheets and the news media.
WVATS will continue to operate and enhance its own loan library through procuring equipment and increasing awareness about how to borrow assistive devices.
WVATS will continue to survey borrowers to determine who is borrowing devices, for what use and if the loan helped the individual determine what kind of device to purchase.
WVATS will award RFP monies to satisfactory applicants for creating new and enhancing existing loan libraries.
The current loan program provides individuals around the state with low-cost access to AT to try out in their daily living, school, and/or work environment. WVATS provides access to devices, to the greatest extent possible, to any individual regardless of age, disability, income, or location within the state to help individuals and their families make informed choices about AT. WVATS staff is available via the toll free hotline or e-mail to provide technical assistance on what devices to try, what devices are available, and how to use the devices. By implementing a virtual library, expanding its own loan library, and encouraging creation of new or expanding existing libraries, WVATS has helped increase access to assistive devices and enabled informed choice to be made by individuals with disabilities, families, and service providers. Device loans benefit consumers in making informed decisions by allowing a variety of devices to be used within the home, school, work, and/or community before an individual purchases a device.
5.4 Device Demonstration Program - Describe how the State will implement a device demonstration program as described in section 4(e) (2) (D) of the Act.
WVATS has a demonstration center of approximately 500 pieces of equipment located in Morgantown, West Virginia; a demonstration center located in Institute, West Virginia on the campus of the Rehabilitation Center; and smaller demonstration centers around the state in the six former Tech Teams, which were monetarily supported, in part, by WVATS. WVATS will provide these organizations with the opportunity to continue to build and operate these demonstration centers through request for proposals (RFPs). RFPs will be sent to the organizations currently serving as Tech Teams, but also to other organizations that may want to become demonstration centers. The centers will showcase equipment allowing consumers to make an informed choice about equipment.
WVATS staff and Tech Teams demonstrate AT devices at exhibits around the state by selecting devices that pertain to audience members at various conferences and bringing appropriate equipment to those conferences. For instance, at the National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia or the Speech Pathologists annual conference, devices appropriate to those audiences are demonstrated to interested individuals giving them the time and opportunity to use equipment, or see it being demonstrated to allow consumers to make an informed choice about assistive technology devices. WVATS also invites vendors to demonstrate equipment to individuals at the Resource Centers and at the Tech Team locations. WVATS operates a vendor hall at the annual Celebrating Partnerships in Assistive Technologies (PATHS) to Real Choice statewide conference which is attended by approximately 150 adults. WVATS collaborates with the Celebrating Connections Conference which targets audience members for young children. Celebrating Connections is attended by approximately 1,600 parents, teachers, nurses; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; early intervention and Head Start specialists; and child care owners and staff. WVATS supports the PATHS Conference as a two-day conference and overlaps with the Celebrating Connections Conference. Day one of the PATHS conference is targeted at adults. Day two is a day focused on transition issues. Vendors are invited to be part of the exhibit hall for both the PATHS Conference and the Celebrating Connections Conference so both audiences are reached. Vendors showcase their equipment as public awareness for individuals, but are also given the opportunity to work one on one with interested individuals to help them make an informed choice about devices.
Year 1 - Update
WVATS demonstration centers provide individuals, parents, and professionals with a means of accessing a variety of assistive technology devices to meet a variety of needs. WVATS staff has worked to ensure individuals, parents, and professionals are exposed to a variety of devices. The WVATS demonstration centers are open to the public to come and receive demonstrations as needed.
WVATS sought out new organizations to collaborate with to create or enhance existing demonstration centers by providing monetary support through requests for proposals (RFPs).WVATS provided monetary support to:
- TeckLink in Parkersburg to maintain its Assistive Technology Demonstration Center. TechLink purchased a variety of items including expanding its Center to include health, fitness and recreation devices, devices it did not previously own.
- The Project Assist Resource Center in Elkins and the Technology Access Center in Romney to maintain their demonstration centers, both operated by the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living. The NWVCIL used WVATS funds to purchase new devices and create and maintain resource materials and provide a computer with alternative access for community use. The NWVCIL used funding to give demonstrations in schools, day care centers, rural health clinics, doctor offices, discharge planners, churches, farm service agencies and civic organizations.
WVATS RFP recipient, the NWVCIL used WVATS money in Year One to offer two full-day demonstrations in Elkins and Romney, WV. The first half of this demonstration was a vendor showcasing equipment; the second half was the NWVCIL demonstrating equipment from its demonstration center.
WVATS has worked closely with vendors and provided six vendor demonstrations to showcase technology to individuals throughout the state. These demonstrations have included computer software, augmentative communication devices, low vision products and accessible vehicles and driving equipment. Attendees included educators, nonprofit organizations, consumers and family members.
WVATS will work to increase its device demonstration program through the Assistive Technology Assessment Clinic, where individuals can have access to demonstrations on a variety of devices. The Assistive Technology Clinic provides assessments unrelated to the AT Act. WVATS will add the activity of doing demonstrations at this clinic that are unrelated to assessments. Individuals participating in the clinic are evaluated by a diverse team of professionals including a RESNA certified Assistive Technology Practitioner (ATP) on the WVATS staff. Individuals who attend the clinic are introduced to what AT devices and services may meet their needs. Demonstrations will be provided on a variety of assistive devices and individuals will have the opportunity to try out these devices as a service unrelated to the evaluation process.
WVATS will market its demonstrations available through the Assistive Technology Assessment Clinic. AT Act funds will not be used to implement or maintain this clinic. An AT-TV service is available in which individuals can get assessments via video conferencing technology for those who have access to such technology but the inability to transport to Morgantown. Via videoconferencing technology, WVATS will provide demonstrations of equipment unrelated to the evaluation process to supplement the assessment to assist individuals in making informed assistive technology choices.
WVATS will continue to provide demonstrations to individuals and groups in the WVATS Demonstration Center, which is open to the public for individuals to come and receive demonstrations as requested.
WVATS will work to create and enhance other existing demonstration centers through monetary support to organizations to encourage and fund device demonstrations, in the form of requests for proposals (RFPs). Preference will be given to organizations that wish to target demonstrations to particular groups, i.e., seniors, educational entities, early intervention, etc. WVATS will work to select RFPs in a balanced and planned fashion to ensure underserved populations and low-incidence populations are being served as a part of a comprehensive plan to reach all audiences.
WVATS will continue to work closely with vendors by seeking out vendor relationships and updating the existing vendor mailing database. WVATS will encourage RFP participants to work with vendors to set up demonstrations. Vendors will also be invited to attend WVATS Advisory Council meetings. WVATS will work to create vendor fairs around the state to promote assistive technology and will continue to offer the vendor/exhibit hall at the annual Celebrating PATHS to Real Choices conference.
Through RFPs, the Assistive Technology Assessment Clinic, and increased involvement with vendors, WVATS will increase access to individuals with disabilities, their families, and service providers. Exposure to a variety of devices and demonstrations of how devices work will improve informed decision making for individuals.
Attachment 6: Comparable Support
6.1 Source and Amount of Support - Identify the State-level activity for which there is comparable support, the source of this support, the amount of the support, and the project year for which this support is being provided. Not Applicable
6.2 Comparability -- Demonstrate that this support is comparable in terms of funding and that the activities are comparable in terms of scope. Not Applicable
6.3 Coordination and Collaboration - Describe how the State will coordinate activities and collaborate with the appropriate entity, if the comparable funds are provided to, or the activities are conducted by, an entity other than the Lead Agency or Implementing Entity. Not Applicable
Attachment 7: State Flexibility
7.1 Activity - Identify each State-level activity the State is choosing not to carry out. Not applicable
7.2 Maintenance of Statewideness and Comprehensiveness - Demonstrate that the Statewide AT Program will continue to be comprehensive without conducting this activity. Not applicable
7.3 Achievement of Measurable Goals - Demonstrate that the State can reach its measurable education goals, employment goals, telecommunications and information technology goals, and community living goals without conducting such activities. Not applicable
7.4 Coordination and Collaboration - Describe how the Lead Agency or Implementing Entity will coordinate activities and collaborate with entities in the State that do conduct this activity, if the State chooses not to conduct this activity because another entity already conducts it. Not applicable
Attachment 8: State Leadership Activities
8.1 Training and Technical Assistance Activities - Describe how the State will provide training and technical assistance to enhance the knowledge, skills, and competencies of individuals from local settings statewide, including representatives of State and local educational agencies, other State and local agencies, early intervention programs, adult service programs, hospitals and other health care facilities, institutions of higher education and businesses as described in section 4(e)(3)(B)(i) of the AT Act.
Over the next three years, WVATS will:
- Provide technical assistance to state agencies regarding to information technology accessibility, providing reviews of web sites and reports of suggestions of how to make sites more accessible within state agencies. WVATS will continue to be a member of the Statewide Internet Group to offer assistance to members in regards to accessibility and to continually be a presence to maintain knowledge and skills of web developers around the state.
- Provide presentations and trainings to educational entities, including Adult Education groups, early intervention, K-12 schools, higher education, and proprietary schools in WV in regards to assistive technology and accessible information technology. WVATS will continue to be a presence within educational settings in West Virginia, providing assistance on procurement decisions and training for assistive technologies available in various school settings around the state.
- Provide technical assistance to the WV WorkForce Career Centers through the hotline and use of the "Assistive Technology Training" DVD created to train new employees at the WorkForce Centers regarding assistive technology devices available within each of the Centers. The WVATS hotline is available to each of the Centers through brochures and within the interactive training DVD.
- Survey existing training programs and conduct needs assessments of current service provider trainings to 'fill in the gaps' in regards to assistive technology training and awareness. Service providers will include health care workers, personal care attendants, family care attendants, comprehensive behavioral and mental health centers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, recreational therapists and vendors.
- Create specialized curriculum and offer annual training on AT to case managers, discharge planners, social workers, doctors' offices, hospital staff and parents to ensure people exiting hospital settings, or having health care crisis, have community living options. Trainings will be implemented on the local level by seeking out community groups to provide assistive technology trainings within various communities.
- Create a specialized curriculum and provide regional workshops for school staff and parents in regards to transition issues for students. WVATS will also include a full day workshop at its annual conference "Celebrating PATHS to Real Choice" that revolves around transition. WVATS has, in the past, offered a one-day workshop at the PATHS conference concerning transitioning youth into the workforce, higher education, etc. WVATS will rotate the youth transition workshop with a workshop on transition for young children into and during school with a focus on assistive technology devices and services. This combination will ensure maximum exposure about all transition issues for children, throughout school and after school.
- Provide trainings and presentations on a variety of AT topics focused on housing, employment, transportation, education and accessible information technology through an annual two day conference "Celebrating PATHS to Real Choice."
8.2 Public Awareness Activities - Describe how the State will provide information to targeted individuals and entities relating to the availability, benefits, appropriateness, and costs of assistive technology devices and assistive technology services as described in section 4(e)(3)(B)(ii) of the AT Act.Over the next three years, WVATS will:
- Provide exhibits of information and assistive technology devices at various conferences including the WV Adult Education Association statewide conference, the WV Speech, Language, and Hearing statewide conference, etc.
- Continue to print and mail a quarterly newsletter and increase its audience size (currently 9,000). This newsletter provides consumers, family members, and professionals with information on the state and national level regarding assistive technology devices and services.
- Create targeted audiences and specific content materials on the web site for consumers, family members and professionals. Fact sheets will include information on AT for education, employment, early intervention, and seniors. The benefits of AT devices and services will be presented through personal stories and the WVATS newsletter and on the web page.
- Maintain "Pathways to Funding Guides," resource booklets available to consumers, caregivers, and professionals. This resource booklet is designed as a compilation of services available for funding of assistive technology in the state. This booklet will be available in print, in accessible formats and on the WVATS web site.
- Coordinate the annual "Celebrating PATHS to Real Choice" conference, a two day conference targeted toward the adult population offering all-day tracks in various aspects of disability awareness and services available in West Virginia. Information booths, an exhibit hall, and an Artists showcase are also available for conference attendees. WVATS will work to promote the conference and continue its attendance of approximately 250 attendees each year. This conference is in conjunction with the Celebrating Connections Conference which brings in approximately 1,600 attendees each year.
- Maintain its toll-free hotline available to all individuals in West Virginia. WVATS staff will continue to provide information and referral services to individuals who contact WVATS. WVATS has an e-mail account available for individuals who are seeking information and referral services. Staff sends out satisfaction surveys to those seeking information and referral services.
- Provide an online information and referral request/feedback form for interested individuals to fill out and submit. This form will come directly to WVATS staff so they can respond to inquiries.
- Become the AT 211 affiliate in West Virginia. 211 is a national endeavor implementing comprehensive call centers within states. These centers are designed to provide individuals with any information they need regarding social services. It is similar to the "911" emergency line. Individuals can dial "211" and be connected with a service organization within the state meeting their needs. Any call coming into the 211 resource center regarding AT will be automatically referred to WVATS for further consultation.
8.3 Coordination and Collaboration - Describe how the State will coordinate activities among public and private entities that are responsible for policies, procedures, or funding for the provision of assistive technology devices and assistive technology services to individuals with disabilities, service providers, and others to improve access to assistive technology devices and assistive technology services as described in section 4(e) (3) (B) (iii) of the AT Act.Over the next three years, WVATS will:
- Collaborate with the West Virginia Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center, also headquartered at the Center for Excellence in Disabilities, to create a link between information technology and assistive technology within school systems. These groups will work together to coordinate and implement regional web site accessibility and accessible information technology trainings and conferences.
- Collaborate with the West Virginia AgrAbility project which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help people with disabilities remain active in farming. WVATS will help ensure AgrAbility staff members are trained in basic AT information.
- Serve as an active member of the Fairshake Network, a non-profit network including memberships from organizations and individuals who work to educate policymakers and the public about disability issues, by providing a voice in the development of public policy.
- Work together with WV Real Choice to coordinate and implement transition endeavors, including regional workshops involving transition for children throughout life for parents and school staff.
- Maintain existing organizational partners including the Division of Rehabilitation Services, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Resources, Centers for Independent Living, Statewide Council for Independent Living, WV Developmental Disabilities Council, WV Paralyzed Veterans of American, ADAPTWV, West Virginia Advocates, Easter Seals, Arc, West Virginia Federation for the Blind and others to seek out new partners such as the WorkForce Investment Act Board, etc.
- Seek out and collaborate with various statewide groups by serving on Advisory Boards. These include boards of groups designed to enhance knowledge of disability awareness, responsible for technology integration, and groups of various service providers around the state. WVATS will serve as a representative for assistive technology services and devices for the state.
- Establish new and enhance existing relationships with vendors of assistive devices and providers of services involving assistive technology through joint demonstration opportunities, including the AT clinic, and through highlighting devices and services in the newsletter and in the web site.
Attachment 9: Involvement of Public and Private Entities
9.1 Nature and Extent of Resources - Describe the nature and extent of resources that will be committed by public and private collaborators to assist in accomplishing identified goals.
WVATS will utilize the resources of the Arc of Wood County and the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living AT recycling projects to develop a statewide initiative in this area as described in Attachment 5. WVATS will also seek new partners, including AT vendors, to participate in device demonstration activities as described in Attachment 5.
9.2 Mechanisms to Ensure Coordination - Describe the mechanisms established to ensure coordination of activities and collaboration between the implementing entity, if any, and the State.
The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), the lead agency, has a service agreement with the Center for Excellence Disabilities at West Virginia University, the implementing agency. CED provides day-to-day management and operation of the Assistive Technology State Plan. DRS provides fiscal management and oversight of state plan activities and designates a staff person to be a liaison with the CED. The fiscal departments of DRS and CED communicate at least quarterly while DRS staff serve on the WVATS Advisory Council and annual assistive technology conference planning committee, and receive monthly updates on State Plan activities. The WVATS Southern Assistive Technology Center is housed at the main DRS site in Institute, West Virginia, and is staffed by a person whose salary is shared between DRS and CED. This site provides assistive technology loans, demonstrations and information and referral to DRS staff and clients as well as to the general public in southern West Virginia.
9.3 Involvement of State Advisory Council - Describe the nature and extent of the involvement of the State Advisory Council in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the activities carried out through the grant, including setting the measurable goals required in section 4(d) (3).
The Advisory Council has met twice regarding the state plan for assistive technology. One meeting was conducted on the new mandates of the AT Act of 1998, as amended. The second meeting was to provide direct input into the planning and implementation for the proposed program. The second meeting was held in conjunction with one of WVATS five public forums on the proposed state plan.
The Council will meet three times in year one to evaluate the progress of the program and provide guidance to program staff.
Attachment 10: State Support
10.1 State Support for State-level Activities - If applicable, describe how the State will support with State funds any State-level activities described in section 4(e) (2). Not applicable
10.2 State Support for State Leadership Activities - If applicable, describe how the State will support with State funds any State Leadership activities described in section 4(e)(3), if applicable. Not applicable