Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology

The need for assistive technology is to lessen or remove barriers faced by persons with disabilities. Assistive Technology is any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. IDEA 2004

Below is a list of Assistive Technology available for use in the Assistive Technology labs, classrooms, or open technology labs. Demonstrations of the software and hardware are available by request. Follow any provided links to visit the vendors' websites for more information. Feel free to contact your disAbility Counselor for further information.

The list is in two sections, software and hardware. To locate assistive technologies on campus, contact the Ability Support Services office at your campus or the Assistive/Adaptive Technology technicians: John London at 713-718-6629 or Norma Jean Brand at 713-718-5604. Some of the hardware can be checked out through the Library.

 

Software

Ally - Easy as 1-2-3

We have a new tool called Ally available in Eagle Online (Canvas) that allows you to download your instructor’s original course files in different formats that work for your different devices, learning needs, and preferences. Alternative files include readable text for screen readers, pictures with captions, ePubs, easy-to-navigate content, and more. Alternative formats benefit everyone no matter what your learning style is. You don’t have to stick to just one format! Use as many formats as you want, as often as you want. (Download speed will depend on the file size.)

NOTE: Ally does not provide downloads or alternative formats for courses that use third-party publisher content. Contact your professor for additional help with alternative formats for publisher content.


 

Text-to-Speech

Dragon Speech Recognition – this software allows the user to create and edit documents and E-mail, fill out forms and streamline workflow. Dragon offers complete hands-free use of the PC for users with disabilities – all by speaking! Transform your ideas into text at the speed of thought. Simply speak and watch your words appear on the screen 3x faster than typing by hand, and with up to 99% recognition accuracy. Dictate homework assignments, write a blog, complete your to-do lists with Full Text Control in Microsoft Word®; send email in Microsoft Outlook® or Gmail. Don’t let typing, touch screen PCs, spelling or the fear of the blank page slow you down. You talk, Dragon types.

Blind/Visually Impaired

Fusion combines two world-class accessibility programs: JAWS and ZoomText.

Fusion™ is the ultimate accessibility tool for individuals with any level of vision impairment. Fusion provides the best of both worlds – ZoomText®, with its screen magnification (up to 60x) and visual enhancements for screen viewing ease, coupled with the power and speed of JAWS® for screen reading functionality. By blending ZoomText and JAWS together, Fusion has flexible, high-quality speech using Eloquence and Vocalizer Expressive, powerful keyboard access including navigation on the web, and a wide range of customization options. With Fusion, the user has the flexibility to run JAWS and ZoomText together as “Fusion”; or run JAWS and ZoomText independently.

JAWS® for Windows® - the most popular screen reader worldwide works with your PC to provide access to today’s software applications and the Internet. With its internal software speech synthesizer and the computer’s sound card, information from the screen is read aloud, providing technology to access a wide variety of information, education and job related applications. JAWS also outputs to refreshable braille displays, providing unmatched braille support of any screen reader on the market.

ZoomText® Magnifier/Reader -The world's best magnification and reading software for the vision impaired. Whether you're surfing the web, creating a document or mailing your friends, ZoomText lets you see, hear and use all of your applications easier than ever.

Kurzweil 1000 - Kurzweil 1000 makes printed or electronic text accessible to people with blindness and visual impairments, speaking text aloud in a variety of natural-sounding voices that can be modified for individual preferences, combining traditional reading machine technologies such as scanning, image processing, and text-to-speech with communication and productivity tools.

Learning Challenges

Kurzweil 3000 - an assistive technology, text to speech, learning tool that supports the concept of Universal Design for Learning with a suite of powerful reading, writing, test-taking, and study skill tools that makes curriculum accessible to all students. It is particularly appropriate for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, those who require reading intervention, students struggling with reading comprehension and English Language Learners (ELL). Students can access content and common literacy supports from any device or computer (Mac or PC) with Internet access. Kurzweil 3000 can read text in Word, PDF, ePub, RTF, DAISY, HTML; and, easily read content on the web with the Kurzweil plugin for Chrome or Firefox, or the iPad app. Basic math can be read aloud with Kurzweil 3000's Talking Calculator.

 

Hardware

Available adaptive equipment includes:

  • Headsets for use with voice output for computers (screen reader software with sound card)
  • Computer screen enlargement software and large monitors
  • Mouse alternatives such as trackballs, touchpads, and joysticks
  • Alternative keyboard arrangements for single-hand typing
  • Ergonomic and other special keyboards
  • ALD/FM loop assistive listening devices
  • Video magnification systems (desktop style CCTVs) (portable Topaz and Ruby CCTVs can be checked out through the Libraries.)
  • Alternative classroom furniture, including adjustable height desks and chairs

Some equipment, such as hand-held magnifiers, tape recorders, electronic spelling aids, and wrist rests are considered personal equipment. Ability Services can help you identify sources for such equipment.

The HCC libraries have 25 (twenty-five) Dell ADA laptops with JAWS, ZoomText, and Kurzweil installed available for current HCC students, in good standing, to check out and use either at home or on campus. The ADA laptops are also available to check out by day or class time and then checked back into the library at the end of class or day, based on availability. This program is funded (in part) by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

You must submit a current semester accommodation letter (LOA) prior to checking out ADA equipment from the Library.