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Adaptive Technology We Use

Assistive Technology(AT) is a generic term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.

The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (US Public Law 100-407) states that it is "technology designed to be utilized in an assistive technology device or assistive technology service."

AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to or changed methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.

Likewise, disability advocates point out that technology is often created without regard to people with disabilities, creating unnecessary barriers to hundreds of millions of people.

Students with Visual Impairments

The ODS Assistive Technology Lab (ATL) has JAWS software:

Braille Cursor Operation

In JAWS 8 and earlier, JAWS exclusively used a technology that looked at the computer screen and captured items such as text, graphics, controls, and other elements. This made it easy for someone with a braille display to move around and understand the screen layout. Although this worked well with speech, it was sometimes difficult to see specific attributes within a Word document when using braille. Beginning with JAWS 9, new technology was introduced that improved access to Word documents. From an active cursor and speech perspective, JAWS provided lots of rich and accurate detail contained in the document. From a braille perspective, you could not pan away from the current line without the active cursor following the Braille Cursor. This made it hard to return to where you were initially reading or editing in the document. It was also difficult to review the document beyond what was visible on the screen.

This release of JAWS now combines the best of both technologies for a braille user. You can use the keys on your refreshable braille display to move around the entire screen without moving the active cursor. This means that you can easily browse a Word document with the Braille Cursor, reviewing text and information before and after the current focus line, and then immediately return to the active cursor by pressing LEFT ARROW, RIGHT ARROW, or any other key on the computer keyboard. For more information, see the Braille Options Dialog topic in the JAWS help file.

In addition, staff will enlarge the fonts on all documents for students with visual impairments.

Students with Learning Disabilities

The ODS ATL trains and supports students using:


Kurzweil Educational Systems is proud to offer the educational community everywhere, leading and effective technologies that support the assistive learning market.

In this section you will find a variety of resources to help better understand how Kurzweil Educational Systems can improve students' ability to read and excel in the classroom. You can assess research that measure the impact of assistive learning technology in various educational settings. And, you will also find important tips and information that can help assist you in securing the funding necessary to implement Kurzweil Educational Systems products. Kurzweil is a "Text Aloud" program that reads word documents to the student.

This process can be used to convert Word Documents into digital format that can be read on a student's PC or laptop using Narrator on Microsoft programs and MAC programs.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon Naturally Speaking is a speech recognition software package developed and sold by Nuance Communications for Windows personal computers. The most recent package is version 11[1], which supports 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows XP, Vista and 7

Naturally Speaking utilizes a minimal user interface. As an example, dictated words appear in a floating tooltip as they are spoken, and when the speaker pauses, the program transcribes the words into the active window at the location of the cursor. The software has three primary areas of functionality: dictation, text-to-speech and command input. Not only is the user able to dictate and have their speech transcribed as written text, or have a document synthesized as an audio stream, but they are also able to issue commands that are recognized as such by the program. In addition, voice profiles can be accessed through different computers in a networked environment, although the audio hardware and configuration must be identical on both machines.

In addition, we recommend that student's with visual and auditory processing challenges use a digital recorder in the classroom to support their note taking skills. We have recommended that students purchase digital recorders with software that will convert the audio files to word documents.