Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology refers to any item, piece of equipment, or product that is used to maintain or improve an individual's abilities. Student Accessibility Services (SAS) provides access to several assistive computer programs to students with documented disabilities. SAS may also recommend assistive equipment to students according to their specific needs.

If you have questions about Assistive technology email our Assistive Technologist Rachelle Paquette at atech-sas@lakeheadu.ca

Types of Assistive Technology

No Tech/Low Tech

No tech and low tech devices and software do not have a battery or power source. This doesn't mean that they aren't useful though! Examples include blindness canes, stands, pencil grips, tactile displays, and magnifying glasses.

Mid Tech

Mid tech devices are less common. They are often paired with high tech devices and powered by a battery. Examples include portable scanners, calculators, timers, or portable typing devices.

High Tech
High tech devices and software are frequently what comes to mind when thinking of assistive technology. These are often computers, electronics, or applications. Examples include hearing aids, screen readers, video magnifiers, note taking apps, and voice recognition devices.

Reading

These technologies assist users who struggle to process information they are reading by reading the text aloud.

CPEN

CPEN produces digital pens that scan text, read the text out loud and can even translate for students for whom English is an additional language. The pens also have a dictionary included for quick access to definitions. CPEN is compatible with Mac, PC, and Linux operating systems and does not require its own software.

https://cpen.com/

Voice Dream

Voice Dream is a suite of speech-based software for mobile devices allows users to convert text, whether it be virtual or scanned, into speech. There is also software that converts text to speech. Voice Dream is only available for Mac products.

https://www.voicedream.com/

TextHELP Read & Write

Read & Write is a world-renowned software system that helps students with learning disabilities to develop their reading and writing skills. This system can be used to read text out loud and includes a talking spell checker, thesaurus, and word prediction feature. Read & Write also has screen reading options. TextHELP is available for Windows, Mac, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, iPad and Android.

http://www.texthelp.com

Kurzweil 3000

The Kurzweil program is designed to help students with their reading and writing skills. Its ability to scan and read text allows users to strengthen their comprehension through auditory and visual representation. As well, its Study Skills toolbar has a number of valuable options. Compatible with Mac and Windows.

https://www.kurzweiledu.com/default.html

Writing

These technologies can assist users who struggle with translating the things they hear into writing using speech-to-text.

Dictation in Microsoft

Dictation is a Microsoft tool that allows you to use speech-to-text to author content in Microsoft Office products with a microphone and reliable internet connection. Use your voice to quickly create documents, emails, notes, presentations, or even slide notes.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dictate-in-microsoft-365-eab2...

Google Voice Typing

Google Voice Typing is a free dictation tool for Google Docs and Google Slides, Google's online word processor and presentation apps. To use it, you must be connected to the internet with the Google Chrome Browser on Windows, MacOS or Chromebook devices. Voice Typing is also available on Google Android devices.

https://support.google.com/docs/answer/4492226?hl=en

Livescribe Smartpen

The Livescribe Smartpen is a pen that records everything you write and hear. The Smartpen works with Livescribe Interactive Dot paper and synchronizes audio recordings to your handwritten notes. The audio recording can be played back by tapping on important points in your notes. Users can transfer all handwritten notes and audio files to Evernote for future use. Smartpens address individual learning styles by offering options to set pen settings and preferences. The companion app Livescribe+ is available for Android, iOS, Amazon, Windows and Mac.

http://www.livescribe.com/en-ca/

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon is a speech recognition software. A student can directly dictate into the computer, eliminating their need to type. Dragon Naturally Speaking is particularly useful for students who can verbalize their thoughts but may experience difficulties with writing. Dragon Naturally Speaking is available for Windows, Android and iOS, but not Mac.

https://shop.nuance.com/store/nuanceus/en_US/Content/pbPage.home?currenc...

Note Taking

Note Taking assistive technology allows the user to develop good note taking strategies by providing multiple methods for receiving and recording information.

Livescribe Smartpen

The Livescribe Smartpen is a pen that records everything you write and hear. The Smartpen works with Livescribe Interactive Dot paper and synchronizes audio recordings to your handwritten notes. The audio recording can be played back by tapping on important points in your notes. Users can transfer all handwritten notes and audio files to Evernote for future use. Smartpens address individual learning styles by offering options to set pen settings and preferences. The companion app Livescribe+ is available for Android, iOS, Amazon, Windows and Mac.

http://www.livescribe.com/en-ca/

Remarkable 2

The Remarkable 2 tablet is a tool that feels like writing on paper. It can be used to write notes and mark up documents as well as convert handwritten notes into text. It is thin and portable and does not connect to the internet, decreasing distractions for the user. The ReMarkable 2 tablet is compatible with all operating systems.

https://remarkable.com/

Inspiration 10

Inspiration is a program that allows the student to develop ideas and organize thinking in a visual format. Inspiration can be used to brainstorm and create concept maps, flowcharts, and outlines in words or pictures. Inspiration is a web based subscription that is compatible with all operating systems.

https://www.inspiration-at.com/

Mindomo

Mindomo is an all-in-one visual tool to help make mind mapping, concept mapping, and outlining accessible for students. Mindomo also has templates that make mind mapping accessible for beginners; and turn mind maps into real-time editable outlines.

Mindomo has both a free online solution and free mobile native apps for iPad and Android.

https://www.mindomo.com/

Hearing

This is technology that can be helpful for students with hearing loss.

Handheld Recorders

There are many brands of handheld recording devices that can be used to record lectures in order to play them back. Most cellular phones contain recorders, but some people prefer to use a separate device.

FM System

An FM System consists of a radio transmitter and microphone (to be worn by an instructor) and a receiver and headphones (to be worn by the student). This allows the user to listen closely to the instructor and helps to filter out background noise.

Vision

This is technology that can be helpful for students with vision loss.

NVDA (Non-Visual Desktop Access)

Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free screen reading software and charity created by two blind men whose mission is empowering lives through non-visual access to technology. The software is currently available for Windows.

https://www.nvaccess.org/