Assistive Technologies

  • "Assistive Technology" is defined by the Technology-Related Assistance Act of 1988 as "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off-the-shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintained or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."

    Used as a compensatory tool, persons with disabilities may become productive and independent members in school, work and life.  The implementation of assistive technology affords opportunity for the provision of equal access.

  •  Is software used by people with various forms of learning disabilities that affect their ability to read text. This software will read text with a synthesized voice and may have a highlighter to emphasize the word being spoken.  Example:  Use of Kurzweil 3000 for persons with learning disabilities
  • Screen readers are software programs that allow blind or visually impaired users to read the text that is displayed on the computer screen with a speech synthesizer or braille display. A screen reader is the interface between the computer's operating system, its applications, and the user. Example: Use of JAWS software for persons with visual impairments.  
  •  Software allow users to control the size of text and or graphics on the screen. Unlike using a zoom feature, these applications allow the user to have the ability to see the enlarged text in relation to the rest of the screen.  Example:  Screen enlargement software such as ZoomText, a closed circuit television which magnifies an image onto a video monitor, or a simple low tech tech device such as an LED pocket illuminator magnifier.
  • Provides people with difficulty in typing an alternate way to type text while using a computer.  Example:  Use of  Dragon Naturally Speaking
  • Alternative input devices are hardware or software solutions that allow users with a variety of impairments to access a computer in a different way. Alternative input devices allow the user to access a computer in whatever way works best for them.   Example: use of touch screen vs. use of a keyboard.