AT Programs and Services
SPEECH TO TEXT
Speech recognition or voice recognition programs, allow people to give commands and enter data using their voices rather than a mouse or keyboard. Voice recognition systems use a microphone attached to the computer, which can be used to create text documents such as letters or e-mail messages, browse the Internet, and navigate among applications and menus by voice.
Talking and large-print word processors are software programs that use speech synthesizers to provide auditory feedback of what is typed. Large-print word processors allow the user to view everything in large text without added screen enlargement.
- This software can be programmed to recognize a student’s voice
- Computer types as you speak
- Can be used to give commands to the computer or create a document
- Provide assistance to those who have difficulty using a keyboard and mouse
- Can be valuable tool for those who have problems communicating their thoughts in writing
TEXT TO SPEECH
Text-to-Speech (TTS) or speech synthesizers receive information going to the screen in the form of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks, and then "speak" it out loud in a computerized voice. Using speech synthesizers allows computer users who are blind or who have learning difficulties to hear what they are typing and also provide a spoken voice for individuals who can not communicate orally, but can communicate their thoughts through typing.
Screen readers are used to verbalize, or "speak," everything on the screen including text, graphics, control buttons, and menus into a computerized voice that is spoken aloud. In essence, a screen reader transforms a graphic user interface (GUI) into an audio interface. Screen readers are essential for computer users who are blind.
- Text to speech programs are a very valuable aid for sight impaired students and learning disabled students. Some of the programs:
- Read everything that is displayed on the computer screen
- Can be used to access the internet
- Read aloud text books and audio books that are recorded through RFB&D (Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic
- Another useful tool is a scanner that saves text and reads the highlighted words. (This particular scanner is great for reading a few pages or chapters at time and can be used with any textbook or book.)
The advance screen magnification program enlarges and enhances everything on the computer screen, making your computer easier to see and use.
Reading tools and learning disabilities programs include software and hardware designed to make text-based materials more accessible for people who have difficulty with reading. Options can include scanning, reformatting, navigating, or speaking text out loud. These programs are helpful for those who have difficulty seeing or manipulating conventional print materials; people who are developing new literacy skills or who are learning English as a foreign language; and people who comprehend better when they hear and see text highlighted simultaneously.
Screen enlargers, or screen magnifiers, work like a magnifying glass for the computer by enlarging a portion of the screen which can increase legibility and make it easier to see items on the computer. Some screen enlargers allow a person to zoom in and out on a particular area of the screen.
OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, is the machine recognition of printed text. These are the tools that turn a picture of text into actual text which can then be edited by a computer. The text can then be converted into any type of document format required. OCR tools can recognize text in different fonts and sizes. Advanced OCR tools can even recognize hand printed text. OCR software can be purchased separately, may come bundled with a new scanner, or can be included as a component of assistive technology learning support software
Some OCR tools are integrated into assistive technology programs such as Kurzweil 3000 and OpenBook; it is also utilized in the creation of alternative formats for books.
TTY/TDD conversion modems are connected between computers and telephones to allow an individual to type a message on a computer and send it to a TTY/TDD telephone or other device.
Services for Alternative Formats
What are alternate formats?
Alternate formats are other ways of publishing information besides regular print. Some of these formats can be used by everyone while others are designed to address the specific needs of a user.
Please Note: If you do not qualify for books in alternate formatting through our services, you can still scan your own books and have them read to you with our Kurzweil software.
Why do we need to provide information in other formats?
Some people cannot read because of their disability. This can include people who:
- are blind or have low vision
- have an intellectual or other cognitive disability
- cannot hold publications or turn pages because of a physical disability
- have difficulties accessing information on the Internet, or
- have difficulties watching or hearing video presentations.
By providing alternate formats, everyone can have access to the information they need.
Examples of alternative formats
This helps people who have low vision. Large print materials should be prepared with a font (print) size that is 16 to 20 points or larger.
This software converts text that is displayed on a computer monitor to voice (using a speech-synthesizer) or to Braille.
This is an alternative format for people who are blind or deafblind. It Braille is a tactile system of raised dots representing letters or a combination of letters of the alphabet. Braille is produced using Braille transcription software.
This is an alternative format for people with a vision, intellectual or developmental, or learning disability who are unable to read print.
Captioning translates the audio portion of a video presentation by way of subtitles or captions. They usually appear on the bottom of the screen.
Captioning may be closed or open. Closed captions can only be seen on a television screen that has a device called a closed caption decoder. Open captions are "burned on" a video and appear whenever the video is shown.
Captioning makes television programs, films and other visual media with sound accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.