Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology

Note-Taking Assistance

Livescribe Smartpens
 (OAS equipment loan)
Record everything you write, hear or say. Replay your meetings or lectures simply by tapping on your notes. Transfer your notes and audio to your computer via USB cable and Livescribe Desktop will save everything for fast, easy access to what’s important. Easily share your notes and audio recordings as a Pencast PDF or audio file.

Forte Word Processor (OAS equipment loan)
The Forte Word Processor is a portable word processor featuring a text screen and keyboard. It runs on a rechargeable battery which can be plugged into any outlet to charge. Documents can be transferred by use of a USB flash drive or transfer directly to a computer through a provided USB cord. Programs: Text to Speech, Word Prediction, Calendar, Keyboard Instruction, Math Assistance

Text to Speech

Good news – the availability of text to speech technology is rapidly evolving. You may have noticed the newer versions of operating systems, software programs and online applications used in computers and other mobile devices are increasingly incorporating and refining “read aloud” menu options.  AccessAbility Services (OAS) is looking for the best ways to leverage existing and emerging audio text to speech technology to benefit of our students.

The OAS provides support to students by obtaining access to audio text formats to enable students to “hear” their textbooks or other publications required for class. Once a student who is registered with OAS (and approved for the accommodation) submits an Audio Service Request with receipts if required, then OAS will enable student access to the textbook in one of two ways:

Learning Ally is a web-based audio library that contains many publications required by colleges and universities. If the required textbook is available on Learning Ally, then OAS will email the student with a user name and password to access the audio text.  

Bookshare is another web-based audio library. If the required textbook is not available on Learning Ally, then OAS staff will determine if it is available on Bookshare. Once a student submits receipts for purchased textbooks, then OAS will email the student with a user name and password to access the audio text on this site.

Natural Reader is a free web-based option recommended by OAS that converts a text file or book to speech. OAS recommends the student upload the online text to the free version of Natural Reader. This application has useful features to enable students to “hear” the textbook. 

Click on the Natural Reader Student Guide (AudioTextbook Guide Natural Reader 01.22.19) to learn more. 

Online text file (examples include PDF, Word, EPub or a similar format). 

If the textbook is not available via Learning Ally, then OAS will locate an online copy from the publisher or another online source. Students must submit a receipt indicating proof of purchase of the publication and generally within two weeks, OAS will locate and provide student access to the online textbook.

Students may also listen to online textbooks using Adobe, Word or other programs with the audio option enabled on a PC or Mac. Please refer to the Adobe and Word Student Guide (Text to Speech Guide Word and PDF 01.22.19)and Accessibility Features for Mac and iPad (Accessibility Features for Mac and iPad)for helpful tips. 

Speech to Text (Free on computers or mobile device)

AccessAbility Services (OAS) is continuously seeking ways to leverage existing and emerging technology to benefit students. OAS students approved for audio-related accommodations may wish to consider Otter is a free web-based Speech to Text application that uses an Artificial Intelligence (AI) to record, transcribe and share voice conversations into accurate, written text. Otter may be used as a standalone tool or with other assistive technology. Please refer to the Otter Student Guide for additional information on how to use the tool on your computer or mobile device.

 Dragon NaturallySpeaking (In-house use, also available at the Library)

Dragon is the world’s best-selling speech recognition software. It turns your talk into text and can make virtually any computer task easier and faster. From capturing ideas and creating documents, to email and searching the web, to using simple voice commands to control many of the popular programs you use every day at home, work – and beyond.

Windows Speech to Text Program
Text-to-Speech (TTS) capabilities for a computer refers to the ability to play back text in a spoken voice. TTS is standard on computers using Windows 7.


Zoomtext Magnifier/Reader
(In-house use)
Zoomtext Magnifier/Reader is a magnification and reading program tailored for low-vision users. Magnifier/Reader enlarges and enhances everything on your computer screen, echoes your typing and essential program activity, and automatically reads documents, web pages, email.

Optelec Magnifier (In-house use)
Desktop magnifier with large screen (see photo).

Apple Products

iPad Minis
 (In-house use)