Assistive Technology (AT) is technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Assistive technology can include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs as well as hardware, software, and peripherals that assist people with disabilities in accessing computers or other information technologies. For example, people with limited function of their hands and arms may use a keyboard with large keys, a special mouse, or software that is voice activated to operate a computer. People who are blind may use software that reads text on the screen in a computer-generated voice, people with low vision may use software that enlarges screen content, and individuals who are deaf may use video phones or video relay services that use interpreters in a remote location.
Student Disability Services (SDS) at The New School has a strong commitment to keeping at the forefront of developments in assistive technology. A tremendous variety of assistive technology is available today, providing the opportunity for nearly all people to access their course materials and other resources at the university. While SDS does not have all types of AT, there are a number of software programs available for students to either use at lab locations or borrow from SDS directly. As new software is available, students will be given access to it.
Contact SDS if you have questions about where you can find AT or how to learn more about it. The following AT is available either through SDS directly or at specific locations on campus:
- Dragon Naturally Speaking: voice dictation software that allows students to write by speaking to a computer system programmed to recognize their voices. The software is particularly helpful for students with motor disabilities and students with learning disabilities.
- JAWS: screen-reading software that allows students who are unable to see a traditional computer monitor to access the screen via a voice output system that literally reads the contents to users. JAWS is particularly helpful for blind and low-vision students.
- Zoomtext: screen-enlarging software allows students who have difficulty seeing screen contents on a standard computer monitor to see the computer by enlarging the screen up to 16 times. Zoomtext is particularly helpful for low-vision students.
- Key to Access: Premier Assistive Technology’s Key To Access is a tool that unlocks the world of computer information. Ten programs are preloaded onto the portable USB MP3 player so no installation is needed, and the user can access whichever programs are required from any computer station.
- Livescribe Pulse Smartpen: Note-taking device that integrates written notes with a live recording of what was being said when the notes were taken. http://www.livescribe.com