Last updated: August 16, 2022

What is access technology and why is it important at the UW?

Access technology, also known as adaptive or assistive technology, provides an accommodation to a person with a disability that makes it possible for them to succeed in a certain task. While it can encompass many areas such as architecture and daily living, in this context it’s technology that provides access to a computer and relevant productivity software. All students and faculty , regardless of disability, should have free and equal access to the resources at UW. Through access technology, the Access Technology Center hopes to make this ideal a reality.

What does the Access Technology Center do?

We provide a 10-computer accessible technology center within Mary Gates Hall in addition to other satellite workstations throughout the UW campus. Stations are outfitted with a wide variety of hardware and software designed to meet individual needs. In addition, we are equipped with a full service braille production facility. The ATC also advocates IT accessibility across campus through educational outreach and accessibility testing.

Who uses the ATC?

Along with students and faculty requiring adaptive technology, the ATC serves UW departments, consulting with them on ways to make their web sites, electronic resources, and computer facilities more accessible.

What is the difference between Disability Resources for Students (DRS) and the ATC?

DRS is a campus office that provides various academic accommodations for students with disabilities that include non-computer based needs such as note-taking, alternative text, exam proctoring, etc. DRS may refer students to the ATC for specific technology needs. The ATC does not provide academic accommodations.

Are the ATC’s services free?

We provide no-cost service to the University of Washington community for anyone requiring the use of access technology. Initial web accessibility consultation is also free for those departments interested in making their computing resources more accessible to others.

I want to get involved with the ATC. Where do I start?

Start by making an appointment with us. We will discuss your individual needs and help you find the right tools to meet them. Call us at 206-685-4144 or send an email to atcenter@uw.edu. The center’s manager is Dan Comden and we are staffed by knowledgeable student employees who are here to help you.

When can I use the ATC’s resources?

We are staffed Monday to Friday 9-5 pm at MGH ATC, however the computers in our main lab are open according to the hours of the ATC, and our work stations are open during the hours of their respective facilities.

How should I communicate with people with disabilities?

Read the ATC Communication Guidelines for an introduction to etiquette when discussing disability issues.