Assistive technology is considered to be any item, piece of equipment or product system that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capacities for persons with disabilities. At Learning Support Services students have access to a variety of resources. There are also various sites on campus where assistive technology is available: e.g. Computer Commons - GM 206
Previously, where a student may have needed to rely on readers and/or a scribe for writing, the use of assistive technology can now help with many functions including reading text aloud (Kurzweil), print enlargers and screen readers which will vocalize text (voice output). Students may also want to provide voice input in order to write (Dragon Naturally Speaking).
Assistive Technology in LSS
The following is a list of some of the items available at Learning Support Services and may be loaned to enrolled students on a semester to semester basis. This is not an exhaustive list. If you are interested in an item which is not listed, please contact LSS at 734-973-3342, or stop by LA 104.
The AlphaSmart is a portable text writing tool. The unit contains a notebook size keyboard and an LCD display useful for students taking notes in class or writing documents. When connected to a PC, the text is transferred to a Microsoft Word document, which can be edited, text formatted and printed.
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)
A CCTV is a tabletop camera lens which enlarges print or objects on a screen monitor.
Computers for Student Use
Comtek Assistive Listening Device
Comtek is a wireless microphone transmitter providing auditory assistance for students with hearing impairments. The speaker wears a transmitter with mini microphone and the listener wears a personal transmitter with ear phones.
Digital and Tape Recorders
Dragon Naturally Speaking
The speech recognition software allows full hands free typing operations of a Windows based PC. The user speaks into the microphone using computer commands and text is typed, normally produced with a keyboard and mouse. There is a training period for the software to “recognize” the voice of the user.
JAWS for Windows
With synthesized speech, JAWS reads the information on the computer screen. The user navigates through the computer screen using key commands.
Kurzweil (1000 and 3000)
Kurzweil 3000 is a reader/scanner software with optical character recognition which allows the computer to read scanned materials with a visual output. The program contains many features including a dictionary, synonyms, syllables and spell check.
Options include voices, highlighting, reading speed and magnification. Documents can be accessed from external devices for screen reading capability or new documents may be created. It can also read web content. A writing assistance program is helpful for organizing ideas, creating outlines, drafts and the final document. Similar to the Kurzweil 3000, Kurzweil 1000 provides accessibility to persons who are blind and visually impaired.
MAC OS X Accessibility
- Screen Magnification
- Text to Speech
- Additional Accessibility Features
MITS Freedom Stick
- On Screen Keyboard
- Additional Accessibility Features
The MITS Freedom Stick is a collection of open source or freeware programs which can be downloaded to a flash drive for portable full accessibility/universal design on any Windows computer. Please visit the MITS website.
Learning Support Services (LSS) is distributing the flash drive containing the MITS Freedom Stick software to eligible students with disabilities for use in their academic studies at WCC and should not be shared.
From the MITS website: “...This software package (can be installed) on any 4B USB Flash Drive (lite)...
The Freedom Stick contains a fully accessible version of the Firefox web browser, the full Open Office suite (comparable to Microsoft Office), the Balabolka Text-To-Speech system, an on-screen calculator which allows students to paste their math work into homework or test documents (similar to the math equation software currently available in Word), a 'mind mapper' (similar to Inspiration), the Audacity audio recorder/player, and many, many more supports.
The Freedom Stick's Firefox browser has dozens of pre-set internet bookmarks which will link students to many more curricular supports, to digital libraries, and to other resources.”
Note to Instructors:
Proctored testing is still required in Learning Support Services for extended time, use of a scribe and/or reader.
Students have the capability of saving additional documents and software programs on the flash drive. LSS does not guarantee or oversee the student's use of this device.
Natural Reader: Professional Version
Natural Reader is a text to speech software program containing natural sounding voices with speed control. Text can be transformed into MP3 audio format for downloading to a portable device. A floating toolbar feature reads selected text without copying and pasting.
The Livescribe Smartpen records what you write, draw and hear. The pen requires Livescribe paper available in a variety of formats. An infrared camera tracks what is written or drawn and the built-in microphone records audio. Using the USB connector, the pen transfers the written notes and audio to the free downloadable Livescribe Desktop software. The digital version of the recordings (Pencasts) can then be sent to Connectors, e.g. mobile devices, email, Evernote, Facebook, Google Docs.
ZoomText Magnifier and Screen Reader
ZoomText provides screen magnification up to 36X. Enhancement features allow the user to change the color scheme, enlarge or change cursor symbol and pointer and choose a focus enhancement for selecting a highlighting tool. Finder tools locate information on the screen quickly. The screen reader reads text on the computer screen. The user may choose from four different reading formats that best suits their needs and adjust reading speed.