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  • W.A.T.R.  - West Contra Costa Assistive Technology Resources




    WATR office is Pupil Services Center (PSC)

    2465 Dolan Way

    Richmond, CA 94806



    office phone - 510.307.4524

    office fax - 510.758.4210

    office email - watr@wccusd.net



    WATR provides assistive technology (AT), including Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) services in the West Contra Costa School District.


    Steps to starting the decision-making process about potential AT or ACC services for a student


    1. call (speak slowly), fax or email a message about your student

    a. include your name, title, contact information (phone, email, and or fax)

    b.  also include the student’s name, age, school, and why student may need AT and or AAC*

    2. a WATR staff member will contact you for more information.


    *Assistive Technology is strategies and materials for access to curriculum. Augmentative/Alternative Communication is strategies and materials to enhance communication.


    For all other requests, questions, or messages for staff  - please contact us by phone (speak slowly), fax or email and include the following information:

    1. your name, title, contact information (phone, email, and/or fax)

    2. student name, school and (if you know) the staff member you wish to speak to



    What can AT or AAC services look like?

    Any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.


    These services may include:

    • the evaluation of the needs of the child, purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology for a child,
    • selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing of assistive technology devices,
    • coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, services with assistive technology devices,
    • training or technical assistance for the student or, when appropriate, the student’s family, and
    • consultation, staff training or technical assistance


    Who needs Assistive Technology and/or Augmentative/Alternative Communication?

    Any student with a disability from mild to severe may require assistive technology in order to make progress on goals. Assistive technology may help a student with reading, writing, remembering, walking, sitting, seeing, hearing, and communicating. A student with deficits in any of these life functions may benefit from the use of assistive technology.


    What is Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)?

    Alternative and Augmentative communication is the use of different modalities of communication to support speech that is unintelligible or non-existent. Many students benefit from the addition of augmentative communication modes, which include picture communication symbols, photographs and other visuals, as well as speech generating devices.


    What is Assistive Technology?

    IDEA (20 U.S.C. Section 1401) includes the following definitions:


    Assistive Technology Device: any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability.


    Types of Assistive Technology & Alternative and Augmentative Communication

    There are three main categories of AT/AAC: no tech, lite tech and high tech:


    No tech - Items that are assistive to the student, but were not created by technology. Examples would be a highlighter, Velcro for page-turners, raised lines on paper, pencil grips, slant board, and white board.


    Lite tech - Items that are “light” on the wallet, easily used, programmed, and implemented. These devices usually are less expensive and may include pictures, objects, static display boards, choice boards, eye gaze boards, software, online resources and some voice output devices (BIGMacks, Go-Talks, Step by Steps). Lite tech curriculum access devices may include portable word processors such as the Neo and Fusion, calculators, and portable spell checkers.


    High Tech - Devices that have dynamic displays, multiple levels, and are more difficult to implement and program. These devices may include dynamic voice output systems (Dynavox, Vantage Lite, etc.) High-tech curriculum access devices may include computers and specialized software for writing, reading, and math.