Assistive Technology

Overview

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal special education law, provides the following legal definition of an assistive technology device: "any item, piece of equipment, or product system... that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities." Under IDEA, assistive technology devices can be used in the educational setting to provide a variety of accommodations or adaptations for people with disabilities.

The term assistive technology encompasses a broad range of devices from "low tech" (e.g., paper stabilizers, talking calculators) to "high tech" (e.g., computer software, braille readers).

Faculty, staff or students can meet with a professional SEAS staff member to discuss assistive techology available on the campus.

We also have computer stations in libraries that offer a variety of software.

A limited number of secure laptops are available for loan for approved students to type long written exams. Approval and advance reservation is necessary.

SEAS also has technology that can be loaned out to eligible students by the semester, such as Livescribe Pens or digital audio recorders.

Software

Kurzweil 3000 Firefly

Available campus-wide to registered students

Kurzweil 3000 incorporates reading, word processing, and learning software into one single program.  The software can access many different formats including printed, electronic, and Web resources. When used as a reader, Kurzweil reads text aloud in clear, humanlike, synthetic speech while visually highlighting the words.  The reader can be paused at any time.  Speech speed and reader language can also be easily adjusted.  Kurzweil has dictionary, thesaurus, spell check, and print functions.  The user can also color highlight important passages as well as place bookmarks to keep his/her place. Notes can be added by the reader, and there are features that allow users to pull out highlighted passages and notes into a seperate document.

The latest version of Kurzweil includes a web version and iPad app called Firefly. Files can be shared among Kurzweil 3000, Firefly online and on an iPad using Kurzweil 300's cloud-based file storage system, which comes with each installation. This allows eligible students to access their Kurzweil files on their computer, online and on an iPad.

The following formats can be read in Kurzweil:

  • KESI File (.KES) Kurzweil created files
  • Rich Text Format (.RTF)
  • Text File (.TXT)
  • MS Word Files (.Doc)
  • Image Files (.TIF, .BMP, .JPG)
  • Daisy (.OPF)
  • Adobe Acrobat Files (.PDF)
  • Websites/HTML (.HTM, .HTML)

Please refer to the website for more detailed information about how to best use Kurzweil 3000.

JAWS

JAWS is a screen reader.  Reader languages include: American English, British English, Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, French, French Canadian, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Finnish. JAWS supports all standard Windows applications including Internet Explorer. Navigation quick keys are available in Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer.

Please refer to the website for more detailed information about how to best use JAWS.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon Naturally Speaking , or Dragon, is a speech recognition software which allows users to create text by simply speaking into a microphone headset.  With Dragon, one types using shortcut voice commands and normal speech. This device can be used to dictate and edit in Microsoft Word, Excel, Internet Browsers and basically all Windows-based applications.

Please refer to the website for more detailed information about how to best use Dragon.

Below is a link to YouTube training videos on using Dragon effectively for typing word-processing, e-mail, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_NF293Dm10CWLNcyBlNGsw

Below is a link to a Dragon Commands Cheat Sheet. This can be printed out to use to help learn how to control Dragon effectively.

http://www.nuance.com/ucmprod/groups/corporate/@web-enus/documents/collateral/dns13commandcheatsheet.pdf

Inspiration

Inspiration is a visual learning program used to create graphic organizers and expand topics into writing by using integrated diagram and outline tools.

Please refer to the website for more detailed information about how to best use Inspiration.

ZoomText

Zoomtext is a screen magnifier/screen reader program. This software enlarges and enhances everything on your computer screen, making all of your applications easy to see and use. While magnified, it will also read documents, web pages, and email.

Please refer to the website for more detailed information about how to best use Zoomtext.

OpenBook

OpenBook converts printed documents or graphic based text into an electronic text format using optical character recognition and quality speech. OpenBook allows you to customize how the document appears on your screen.  For example, users can choose font, size, character spacing, and background/character colors. There are also Masking and highlighting features which help you focus on the text being read and follow along with the speech. 
OpenBook can be used with either RealSpeak and ViaVoice software. RealSpeak features a natural, human-sounding voice that can help enhance your reading experience. ViaVoice provides practical and efficient speech for editing or skimming documents. OpenBook also supports most hardware speech synthesizers. Other features include a fax utility, copy function, and online book search.

Please refer to the website for more detailed information about how to best use OpenBook.

SEAS Computer Stations with Assistive Technology

  • Rockefeller Room 327

    • This room is locked at all times- You must request a key to use this room

    • Take the stairs to the 2nd level, take a left, and it will be on your left side

    • Includes: printer, scanner, and a headset with microphone

    • Software includes: Kurzweil, Dragon, Jaws, Zoomtext, and Openbook

  • Rockefeller Room 329

    • This room is locked at all times- You must request a key to use this room

    • Take the elevator to the 3rd floor, go left and then all the way to the far wall, take another left and it is immediately on your right

    • Includes: CCTV, printer, scanner, copier, and a headset with microphone

    • Software includes: Kurzweil, Dragon, Jaws, Inspiration, and Zoomtext

  • Sciences Library Room A-17

    • This room is open at all times. Room is available to authorized SEAS students only. Computer requires username and password to access. Contact SEAS.

    • Take the stairs to the basement, go left and back towards the Mac computers, and it is on the right (it has a glass door and front walls)

    • Includes: printer, scanner, and a headset with microphone on reserve at the desk

    • Software includes: Kurzweil, Dragon, Jaws, Inspiration, Zoomtext, and Openbook. Desktop video magnifier.

    A video magnifier is available in Rockefeller Room 328.