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First WATR Vendor Venue an All-Around Success


June 28, 2010 — For the first time, Wyoming Institute for Disabilities Assistive Technology Resources (WATR) hosted the Vendor Venue at Casper College in early May. The successful event, which was advertised for months in advance, drew participants from around the state. The theme, though unspoken, was clear: people were looking for solutions. From reading to communication devices, participants explored assistive technology (AT) devices for daily life and the classroom. Vendors spoke about and demonstrated AT in eighteen sessions over the two day span. Each presentation was filled with educators, parents, and community members searching for the right device for their particular need. Some participants looked for devices to promote universal design for learning while some had a special person in mind while attending the event. Both were the case for Cheryl Trimble. Cheryl Trimble is a special education teacher in Goshen County who came to the Vendor Venue looking for more resources for her classroom and for her daughter Meagan, to help with Megans reading disability. I came looking for readers like speech to text, text to speech, and the Classmate Reader. I went to the WEN conference presentation and I use that with my students, Trimble expressed. She further added, AT like the Classmate Reader, which could allow kids to stay in the regular education classroom and would be a tool to help them in the classroom. The Classmate Reader is a device which helps a student navigate through a book and has other learning tools like highlighting, bookmarking, text notes, dictionary, and voice notes. The device also allows a student to control the speed of reading and highlights words as read aloud. For those like Trimble who are looking for device solutions to aid in classroom success, WATR offers many of the devices which were featured at the Vendor Venue for loan, including the Classmate Reader. The Vendor Venue featured more than tangible devices to assist individuals, but conversations about progressive policy and changes in the workforce and education system with assistive technology. Buck Gwynn, a representative of the Wyoming Protection and Advocacy System, Inc., spoke about the laws, standards, and benefits of using assistive technology in all domains of living. Gwynn encouraged individuals in school and the workplace to seek out all the available resources, including assistive technology, to ensure their success. I want to encourage consideration [of AT] in the workforce, he stated. The sentiment is similar for education. In order to see more students with disabilities graduate, Gwynn believes AT is a key toward success. I really want to encourage people to think about the gap. We can close it with assistive technology. Assistive Technology can greatly improve achievements for individuals in Wyoming on vocational, educational, and personal levels. If you or someone you know can benefit from assistive technology services or information, contact WATR today. University of Wyoming WIND Assistive Technology Resources (WATR) 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 4298 Laramie, WY 82071 (307) 766-6187 (888) 989-9463 watr@uwyo.edu http://uwyo.edu/wind/watr 

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