Assistive Technology Lab

AccessAbility Services (AAS) offers a collection of hardware and software that students can use at specific campus computers or loan out for a semester. This technology can aid in accessing computers via magnification and text to speech, help with note-taking, improve writing and study skills, etc. Adam Kosakowski, AccessAbility’s Assistive Technology Specialist, can demo and train any student registered in AAS in the use of this technology! Just give the office a call at (203) 837-8225 to schedule your appointment.



Hardware

Through AAS, there is some hardware that can be loaned out or used in location. The AAS office offers Smartpens to be loaned out for a semester, the only charge that will incur is if a device is lost, damaged or otherwise not returned.


Smartpens

These Livescribe Echo Smartpens can record a lecture’s audio while you use the pen to write notes in a special yet normal-looking notebook. The audio recorded will have automatic time stamps synched up with your writing allowing you to easily revisit that point in the audio file simply by tapping on the words you were writing at the time! Smartpens can help all students including those looking to with ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, and visual impairments.

iPads

In addition to all the well-known benefits of iPad use, iPads host a wealth of built in accessibility like screen reading, assisted touch, and other customizable interface options! Such use of iPads can help students with visual impairments and mobility challenges.

CCTV

The Closed Captioned TV (CCTV) in the Library’s Assistive Technology Lab serves as a huge video magnifier. Using the CCTV, one can see printed materials zoomed in really clearly on a TV screen. This can be helpful for those with visual impairments.



Software

In AccessAbility’s Assistive Technology Lab and within a multitude of computers in several locations across campus are pieces of software that anyone can use free of charge. All computers that have this software are labeled by an 8 by 11 inch sign nearby. Below is a list of locations and what software is available on those computers. Click on the links to see the categories of software and descriptions of how the technology can be used.


All in One: Text to Speech, Writing Skills, Study Skills, Overlays, etc.

These “all-in-one” pieces of software boast several technologies in one interface! These technologies can be helpful for students looking to improve their organization and study skills, as well as those with learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and visual impairments.

Kurzweil icon featuring some curved stairs on a blue backdrop.Kurzweil 3000

Reading Comprehension Support: Access to all major digital file formats, online text and printed materials. Spelling support: spell checker and integrated dictionary.

Writing Support: Talking word processor, auditory spell checker, and word prediction with grammar controlled vocabulary lists.

Study Skills: Multiple highlighter options, sticky notes, read-the-web.

Reading support: special font to assist with visual tracking and test-taking accommodations. A single user interface with all the tools necessary for academic success.

Note: Kurzweil is available on USB drives, available to loan out free of charge from AccessAbility. Like with any hardware, the only charge what will incur is if a device is lost or otherwise not returned.

Read and Write icon featuring the letters r and w inside a purple puzzle piece.Read&Write Gold

Offers a suite of supports including reading, writing, and overlay support! Read&Write Gold uses a hover toolbar that sits on top of all your normal windows making it super accessible and easy to use! This program is available on all computer lab computers and is available to download for all WCSU students at: https://webapp.wcsu.edu/sddp

Livescribe icon featuring a orange folower  on a sky blue backdrop created by color dots.Livescribe and Smartpens

Livescribe software and Smartpens work as a pair! After a Smartpen records audio and the written notes, this digital data can be uploaded and synched on the Livescribe software. Once uploaded and synched, it is also possible to play specific portions of recorded audio by clicking on the uploaded digital notes from a computer! The software also organizes all notes by date helping and has a search function so you’ll never lose that perfect line of notes again. Notes stored on Livescribe can be saved, shared, and downloaded, just like any multimedia content. This makes accessing your notes as easy as possible; this could also help lighten one’s backpack! This can prove helpful for students with ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, visual impairments, and mobility challenges.



Text to Speech

Text to Speech programs will read text for you so you can just listen to them, take notes, and stay focused on those long reading assignments! This type of software is helpful for students who are auditory learners, have visual impairments, ADD/ADHD, etc.

Read Out Loud icon featuring a flying purple book.Read:OutLoud

A simple and easy to use text reader. Read:OutLoud makes it easy to access to any book file and the Internet so that students can improve reading comprehension.

AMIS logo with the word amis and a swopping arrow.AMIS

In addition to all the well-known benefits of iPad use, iPads host a wealth of built in accessibility like screen reading, assisted touch, and other customizable interface options! Such use of iPads can help students with visual impairments and mobility challenges.

FS Reader icon featuring a red book.FS Reader

The Closed Captioned TV (CCTV) in the Library’s Assistive Technology Lab serves as a huge video magnifier. Using the CCTV, one can see printed materials zoomed in really clearly on a TV screen. This can be helpful for those with visual impairments.

Natural Reader icon featuring a white lightning bolt on a blue backdrop.Natural Reader

Reads the text on screen in a natural sounding voice. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, Webpage, PDF files, and emails into spoken words. NaturalReader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV for mobile devices.



Speech to Text

Speech to Text is useful for anyone looking to type hands free. This is helpful for several types of students including those with mobility challenges and those who feel they think better out loud and/or are auditory learners. The rule of thumb with this type of technology is if you’re not sure if it would be helpful, try it out! What do you have to lose?

Dragon icon featuring a green cartoony flame on a blue backdrop.Dragon

The user can speak and when the speaker pauses, this program transcribes the words into the active window at the location of the cursor, like on a Word document. The software has three primary areas of functionality: dictation, text-to-speech and command input. The user is able to dictate and have speech transcribed as written text, have a document synthesized as an audio stream, or issue commands that are recognized as such by the program.



Screen Reader

Screen readers are powerful pieces of software that give students who are blind and visually impaired access to computers. Screen readers read the entirety of a screen’s content and gives special keyboard shortcuts so a user can navigate the screen with out a mouse.

JAWS icon featuring a shark fin peeking out of the surface of some water.
JAWS

Being one of the most powerful screen readers on the market, JAWS gives the user a unique set of intelligent tools for navigating and accessing Web pages, and <em>all</em> screen content.

With a refreshable Braille display like Freedom Scientific's Focus, JAWS also provides Braille output in addition to, or instead of, speech. An array of versatile features and customizable options lets you tailor JAWS for your individual needs and preferences.




OCR

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a powerful technology that can read text even when the text is within an image. Normally this type of text is not selectable with a mouse cursor and thus not recognized as text by a computer; but OCR has the ability to read this text! By using OCR, students with visual impairments can turn text within images into readable text that can then be accessed and read by screen readers and text to speech software! OCR is pivotal in helping users make digital content that is accessible to all users.

Read Iris Pro icon featuring a cube with an R on one side and hieroglyphics on the other two showing sides.Readiris Pro 12

A powerful OCR software designed to convert all your paper documents, images or PDF into editable and searchable digital text (Word, Excel, PDF, Txt, etc.) in just a click. It recognizes more than 130 languages including Asian languages and Arabic. Also works in conjunction with the IRIScan, a portable scanner!

Open Book icon featuring a cartoony open book with the pages shining a golden light.OpenBook

OpenBook is an OCR software that utilizes both Nuance OmniPage and ABBYY FineReader OCR engines to bring you the most accurate text recognition available. You also can choose between two leading text-to-speech software synthesizers: RealSpeak Solo (natural, human-sounding voices) or Eloquence (efficient synthesized speech that often is preferred for editing and document skimming).




Magnification

Screen magnifiers are useful for students with visual impairments or those who feel their screen is just too small or too far away to use comfortably. This type of software usually has customizable features that create ease of use for all types of users!

Magic icon featuring the letter M with a shadow.MAGic

MAGic’s high-definition text delivers smooth, crisp letters for all fonts, even at the highest magnification. MAGic features 46 magnification levels from 1x to 36x. Built-in training tools, text and audio training, talking installation, online help, and context-sensitive help work together to make MAGic extremely easy to learn and use.

Zoom text icon featuring a capital z on a yellow backdropZoomText

Very similar to MAGic and it just as easy to learn about and use. Magnifies everything on the computer screen up to 36 times to enhance readability. Also reads text on the screen.

S S Overlay icon featuring a yellow upward pointing arrow.
ssOverlay

This software allows users to tint their screen to a color of their choosing. This can prove helpful for students with visual impairments and/or those who experience eye strain from prolonged computer use.




Word Predication

This type of software is great for students with learning disabilities related to writing or those who feel they would benefit from a robust word prediction software while they type papers.

Word Q icon featuring an orange capital Q.
WordQ

Predicts unfinished typed words and will also read the word back to you, all based on customized settings matched to your goal vocabulary level and vocabulary lists. Word Q works with email, word processors, the internet, etc. WordQ enables auditory proofreading so a user can hear how s/he has written a sentence or passage. Reading one&rsquo;s writing out loud is a proven way to improve in one&rsquo;s proof reading skill.

 



Software Locations


Assistive Techonology Lab: White Hall Room 005

  • Read & Wirte Gold
  • Kurzweil 3000
  • Livescribe and Smartphones
  • MAGic
  • ZoomText
  • Read:OutLoud
  • Readiris Pro 12
  • AMIS
  • Natural Reader

AccessAbility Service's Exam Room: White Hall Room 005

  • JAWS
  • Read & Write Gold
  • Livescribe and Smartpens
  • MAGic
  • ZoomText
  • Dragon
  • WordQ

Library Assistive Technology Room, Computer in the corner

  • JAWS
  • Read & Write Gold
  • Kurzweil 3000
  • ZoomText
  • OpenBook
  • Natural Reader
  • ssOverlay

Library Assitive Technology Room, Computer near the door

  • JAWS
  • Read & Write Gold
  • MAGic
  • ZoomText
  • FS Reader
  • Dragon
  • Natural Reader

 

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