What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive Technology is any device, software, equipment or tool that helps people with disabilities improve, maintain or increase their functional capabilities. Essentially, the tools and software that help you do what you want more quickly, easily or independently. Although Assistive Technology has traditionally been developed for people with disabilities, the applicability of much of this technology has been found to be useful to almost all people at some point throughout their lives.
Approximately 75% of college students with a disability who would qualify for Assistive Technology do not know what Assistive Technology is and do not know there are tools and programs available to support them prior to starting college. Students who have access to these tools and resources prior to starting classes feel more prepared for their classes and the tasks required of them in a college setting. With adequate training and student support resources, students come to TCC with a greater sense of purpose and are confident to start their college journey.
Assistive Technology Available to Access Services Students
The following Assistive Technology software programs and/or equipment are available for loan for students who work with the Access Services and qualify for use. Some of these items may be checked out for personal and classroom use.
Text-to-Speech uses speech synthesis technology to convert onscreen text into words spoken aloud. This is beneficial to a variety of users, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) students, people with visual disabilities, people with learning disabilities, and those with time constraints who might want to multitask while listening to papers, articles, books, or web pages being read aloud.
NaturalReader is a text-to-speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy-to-use software can convert any written text such as Microsoft Word, web pages, PDF files, and eBooks 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 optical character recognition (OCR). The 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 in a word-processing program.
Central Access Reader (CAR)
CAR is a free, open source, text-to- speech application designed specifically for students with print-related disabilities. CAR reads Word documents and pasted text using the voice installed on your computer. CAR has an intuitive interface.
ReadSpeaker/TextAid YouTube Tutorials
Microsoft Edge Browser
Read Aloud uses text-to-speech (TTS) technology to convert webpage text to audio. Supports 40+ languages. It works on a variety of websites, including news sites, blogs, fan fiction, publications, textbooks, school and class websites, and online course materials.
Speech-to-Text allows users to speak into an external microphone or one built into their devices and have their spoken words converted to text on screen. STT uses speech recognition technology. Speech recognition also allows users to navigate some programs through speech the same way they would by hand.
- Google Docs and Google Slides - Instructions on how to type and edit using STT in both applications. For PC and Mac.
- “Hey Google” - How to do a Google voice search on your Android or iOS device
- Voice Access - Allows Android users to control their devices by voice
- Live Transcribe - Android app that provides live captions of a nearby speaker
- Voice Typing Cheat Sheet - A list of terms to use while dictating and editing text with Google STT
Otter AI turns your voice conversations into smart notes that you can easily search and share. You can use it to take notes at your meetings and interviews, capture your thoughts and ideas while you are driving in the car, and transcribe your existing recordings and podcasts. You can even snap photos (e.g. of a whiteboard, or a speaker or presentation slide at an event) during a recording and they will be inserted in line with your transcripts. The possibilities are endless.
With Glean, you never have to worry about missing important information again. Record classes in full, listen back at your own pace and annotate with different note types to create a complete learning resource - tailored to you. You can even transcribe the audio to text, add slides as well as setting yourself tasks and adding images.
Screen readers are applications, which enable blind and low-vision individuals to use computers and mobile devices. Screen readers provide voice (text-to-speech) and braille output for events displayed on the computer screen. With a screen reader, a blind person can use many popular and professional applications available on the market including but not limited to Microsoft Office, browsers, mail clients, cloud storage, and shared documents.
JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion
JAWS provides screen reading functionality to its users. It also provides braille output for most computer applications.
ZoomText is a magnification and reading functionality for users with low-vision. It can enlarge a computer screen as well as read any documentation needed.
Fusion is a program that combines the features from JAWS and ZoomText. It can enlarge your screen as well as read any text from documents as needed.
If you are a student with an active TCC student email, you are entitled to receive an annual free home JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion licenses for your personally owned equipment.
Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA)
NVDA is a computer screen-reader program for Windows, developed by NV Access Limited. It is a free, open-source program. NVDA is available in two versions: an app which is installed on a computer, and a mobile version which can be kept on a USB drive and used on any Windows computer. Like other screen readers, NVDA is delivered with multilingual voices, but due to a limited quality of Espeak speech, third-party voices may be needed.
Currently registered Access Services Students are eligible to check out equipment with approved accommodations. Equipment is checked out quarterly or available to use on site. Below are just a few pieces of equipment borrow.
CloverBook Pro is a portable, foldable, and versatile magnifier with touchscreen, OCR, and distance camera.
Experience the convenience of a 12.5" Full HD touchscreen video magnifier that adapts to your needs effortlessly. The CloverBook Pro offers a trio of viewing modes, including near, self, and distance views, along with a cutting-edge text-to-speech feature. All of this is wrapped up in an incredibly compact and foldable design, weighing less than 5lbs for ultimate portability and convenience.
Acuity 22 Speech
The Acuity 22 Speech is a large 22-inch touchscreen desktop magnifier with speech. Read documents aloud using multiple languages. View your reading materials clearly and even examine the fine details of photos.
The Clover 6HD is a handheld video magnifier that offers the perfect combination of compact size, easy-to-use features and superior image quality. With two 13 mega-pixel cameras and an HD screen. The Clover 6 HD produces a crystal-clear image at any magnification level in any viewing mode.
Digital Voice Recorder-MP3
The Aiworth digital recorder is a device to record your lectures to be played back later. The digital recorder has 16 levels to adjust the play speed, play faster, and jump to the point you exactly want to playback. You can also play slowly to let you hear every single word clearly.
Roger On NeckLoop
Roger On NeckLoop Hearing Aid Receiver Necklace is a wireless receiver that pairs with any hearing device with T-coil microphone. To be used in the classroom setting to help you understand speech better in a noisy environment or at a distance from your Professor.
Echo Livescribe Smartpen
The Echo Livescribe Smartpen allows you to record your lecture to be played back later. It also can transcribe your handwritten notes. You can record and replay your audio files directly from the pen or your smart device.
J-Tech Digital Mouse
The J-Tech digital mouse is a vertical ergonomic mouse with a removable palm rest. The ergonomic design utilizes a natural “thumbs up” handshake position that places less pressure on the hand and wrist.
Ergo Arm Rest
The Ergo Arm Rest is an articulating ergonomic support for elbows, forearms, and wrists while computing.
The electronic stethoscope allows students with hearing loss and or audio processing disorders to reduce noise and amplify sounds.
C-Pen Reader 2
The C-Pen Reader 2 a compact pen-like device that scans printed text and reads it out loud. It features high quality naturally speaking English, American, Australian, British, Irish, Scottish and Indian accents, as well as Spanish (regular or Latin accents) and French voices. It contains a range of high-quality electronic dictionaries, built-in microphone, and many other function to support readers.
Video Tutorials for ReadSpeaker, Otter A.I. and more