Technology for Learning Disabilities

Shareware technology:

Balabolka - a free text reader that highlights words as they are spoken

Balabolka uses whatever text-to-speech synthesizer is available on your computer. Install Balabolka.

ReadPlease - a free text reader that highlights words as they are spoken 

ReadPlease voices (voice synthesizer) is enhanced by upgrading to ATT Natural Voices. This option costs $35. Install ReadPlease.

AMIS - A free Daisybook reader from the DAISY consortium 

AMIS stands for Adaptive Multimedia Information System. AMIS is a software program that you can use to read DAISY books. Install AMIS.

 

Commercial technology:

Kurzweil Educational Systems, Kurzweil 3000 - Reads your printed materials aloud 

This powerful Optical Character Recognition software allows the computer to scan printed materials and render them in a spoken and visually highlighted output. The system also provides enhanced access to Web content via text-highlighting and voice output. The built-in dictionary provides full definitions and synonyms for hundreds of thousands of words. Books in MP3 format to study as you commute.

Franklin Electronic Publishing, Language Master

These hand-held devices allow individuals to quickly search for definitions and spellings of difficult or troublesome words. The user can locate synonyms and antonyms for particular words. The included speech synthesizer allows users to read definitions and spellings aloud.

Optelec, SVGA Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) - Magnifies Text 

This device assists individuals with visual impairments or learning disabilities by allowing them to enlarge and embolden the contents of printed materials. Like a traditional CCTV, the user places the printed material on an X-Y table. The image is then captured by a video camera that allows the user to adjust magnification level, focus, brightness, contrast, and coloration. This unit differs from a traditional CCTV in that it shares a single display/monitor with an existing PC with the press of a button or foot pedal, the user can thus select a full screen view of the computer, CCTV, or a split screen containing both. This system allows the user to easily read printed materials while working simultaneously with a computer.

Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional -Talk and your words appear on the screen

This powerful speaker independent voice recognition software instantly transforms your speech into documents. The user wears a combination headphone/microphone and speaks both computer commands and text normally produced with a keyboard or mouse.

E-text - Make your books electronic

A team of skilled volunteers will scan and transform your book into machine readable formats. These formats can be read with text-to-speech programs like Kurzweil 3000 or used to search and study on your computer. Find out more about our Accessible Textbooks/Media at the RCPD website. 

Livescribe Pulse smartpen - Write notes in class and record the lecture with a pen

The Livescribe Pulse smartpen is a computer in a pen. The Pulse smartpen records and links audio to what you write, so you never miss a word. Download your notes to your computer and listen to the lecture as you click anywhere in your notes. 

Portable Bookplayers and Notetakers

The RCPD maintains an inventory of the latest portable bookreaders and notetakers. Accessible Bookplayers like the Pad and Victor Reader Stream and ClassMate play audio files and e-text so that users can listen to educational materials on the go.

Portable notetakers like AlphaSmart 3000 come equipped with standard keyboards for typing and a small LCD display.

To find out about the latest in all these technologies visit RCPD for a consultation or demonstration.

 

Custom assistive technology at the RCPD:

If you have a need for a technology device that is not available commercially, you can prepare a description and your idea will be considered for a collaborative RCPD/Engineering project. Ideas can be submitted via email using this form