Assistive Technology Resources

Assistive technology (AT) is any tool that helps students with disabilities do things more quickly, easily or independently. It can be elaborate and expensive or simple and low-cost.

With so many apps and tools being developed, it is a challenge to keep up!  The good news is that this page is dedicated to researching and organizing free or low cost assistive technologies.  If you find another tech tool that’s helpful and not listed, let us know!  Links are provided for convenience and information purposes only.  The DSS office does not guarantee, approve, or endorse the information or products available on these sites.


 

Text-to-speech:

Central Access Reader

Central Access Reader (CAR) is free, open source, text-to- speech application designed specifically for students with print-related disabilities.  CAR reads Word Docs and pasted text using the voice installed on your computer.  CAR has an intuitive interface.

Balabolka

Balabolka is a Text-To-Speech (TTS) program. All computer voices installed on your system are available to Balabolka. The on-screen text can be saved as a WAV, MP3, MP4, OGG or WMA file.

NaturalReader

“NaturalReader is a text to speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, Webpages, PDF files, and eBook into spoken words. NaturalReader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV. NaturalReader has many other functions, such as OCR. OCR function can convert printed characters into digital text and it is up to 99% accurate. This allows you to listen to your printed files or edit it in a word-processing program.”

Screen Readers:

NVDA Screen Reader

NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) is a free “screen reader” which enables blind and vision impaired people to use computers. It reads the text on the screen in a computerized voice. You can control what is read to you by moving the cursor to the relevant area of text with a mouse or the arrows on your keyboard.  NVDA can also convert the text into braille if the computer user owns a device called a “braille display”.  It works with Microsoft Windows.

Voice Over

VoiceOver is a built-in screen reader available on Mac computers, iPhone and iPad. Allows the device to read out loud icons, menus and Web articles making it easier for the blind and those with low-vision to use a computer. Taken from the Apple website: “Accessible to the core. Our accessibility features work the same way across Apple products and apps. And since they come standard, these technologies transform Apple devices into affordable assistive devices.”

“Ease of Access” in the Windows Platform 

Built in accessibility features such as Narrator, Magnifier, High Contrast, Closed captions, mouse, and keyboard accessibility options.

Reduce your on-line distractions:

View Pure

Helps to reduce distractions.  Watch YouTube videos without comments, ads, or other distractions.