Assistive Technology


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 SAS 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.

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


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.

Glean Note taking tool.

Glean  is a notetaking tool that works through a Chrome browser.  For approved students, they would receive an account with a login, create a "new project" for a lecture and then record audio. Audio is captured with a diagram showing when there is audio and when there is silence. Students can tag the audio for things like "Important" or "Follow-up." Students can also import slides in PDF format and type associated notes. The tool allows students to be independent with notetaking and go back and check notes without having to listen to the entire lecture a second time.

Youtube: Getting Started with Glean


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.

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

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


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.

SAS Computer Stations with Assistive Technology

  • Rockefeller Room 327

    • This room is locked at all times-  Please see the page on SAS library room scheduling

    • 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 and ZoomText.

  • Rockefeller Room 328:

  • Rockefeller Room 329

    • This room is locked at all times- Please see the page on SAS library room scheduling

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

    • Software includes: Kurzweil, Dragon, Jaws and ZoomText.

  • Sciences Library Room A-17

    • This room is open at all times. Room is available to authorized SAS students only. Computer requires username and password to access. Contact [email protected] for more information.

    • In the Sci Li, 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 and ZoomText. Desktop video magnifier.