• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) is a Chrome extension that eliminates the need for endless browser tabs. You can search all your online stuff without any extra effort. And Sidebar was #1 on Product Hunt! Check out what people are saying by clicking here.


Assistive Technology Tools

Page history last edited by maureen lafleche 8 years, 3 months ago



The Toolbox was created by combining pictures in Boardmaker and taking a screen capture using Snagit. 


Overview of AT (Assistive Technology) Tools and Software and Apps (Commercially Available and Free)

I have included both free and commercially available software and apps titles in this section.  In the activity section I list a variety of commercially available software that can be used to complete each activity.  At the time I created the activities I didn't include any freeware, apps or Chrome apps or extensions.  If you are unable to purchase the commercially available titles check out the Free Access Tools and include them in your activities.  


Free Access Tools


The internet offers an extensive and rapidly growing collection of free learning tools to support ALL learners.  I have added a description to a few of my favourite picks.  Please check them out.  They are as follows: 

  • Click-N-Type - the publishers describe it as an on-screen virtual keyboard designed for anyone with a disability that prevents him or her from typing on a physical computer keyboard.
  • CLiCK, Speak - the publishers describe CLiCK, Speak as reading with a simple interface - CLiCk, Speak is designed to be as easy to use for sighted users as possible. The interface is completely mouse driven; there's no need to remember any key combinations. Reading through a page is as simple as placing the cursor and hitting the GO button; reading a selection is as easy as highlighting the text and hitting the SPEAK button.
  • Dragnifier - do you have students that have trouble reading the screen then try dragnifier - the publishers description of Dragnifier is that it is the fastest way to get a close-up of your screen. Its a one-click magnifying glass that will let you view every pixel of your screen in detail.
  • Dwell Clicker - EmpTech states that, this software has been designed for those who can navigate around the screen with an in-put device such as a mouse but are unable to click the buttons. It suits those with some mobility and dexterity difficulties who may be using a headpointer, glidepad or joystick type device.
  • Fire Vox - this is a free screen reader - Fire Vox is designed for visually impaired users, all Fire Vox commands are keyboard activated.
  • iSpeech - this is a free text to speech converter.  It is a wonderful addition to your toolbox for anyone who has difficulties reading text.
  • Juicy Studio Readability Test - this site will check your site’s or others readability level.  It will analyze your site and give you a readibility level and tells you what grade level a person must attain to be able to read and understand your site.   
  • Large Pointers - ace center has over 80 additional pointers and cursors for those with visual or perceptual difficulties. Icon styles include animated, coloured, large, I-beams and circles.
  • NaturalReader - the publishers say that NaturalReader is a Text to Speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, Webpage, PDF files, and Emails into spoken words. NaturalReader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV for your CD player or iPod.
  • TidyRead - the publishers say that, 'TidyRead is a service that extracts the text from almost any web site and displays it on an easy to read page that removes all of the clutter that can make reading on the internet so hard sometimes. While reading is one of the main activities on the internet, a lot of sites pay very little attention to the readability of their text and the display on smart phones, such as iPhone, iPod Touch and Android phones. Instead, the reader's eye is constantly drawn to other UI elements, ads, and widgets. This problem is even worse when surfing on smart phones. TidyRead is setting to change this and makes online reading and surfing on smart phones enjoyable'….personally I think that it is great for those students who don’t know what it is that they are supposed to read…it teases it out for them and it prints beautifully into Kurzweil using the virtual printer…just follow the directions and add it to your toolbar
  • TalkTyper - Speech recognition in a Browser.  You need to have Chrome installed in order for TalkTyper to work.  TalkTyper is a very accurate speech recognition tool.  There are many ads on the page.  To avoid the ads download the AdBlock app from the Chrome Web Store.
  • Vue Bar - do you have students that have a problem reading the screen? - then try Vue Bar - the publishers description of Vue Bar is that it is a unique piece of software that provides an on-screen, slotted ruler.  Useful with dyslexia, when the user skips lines or drops from one line to the next.  This version allows the user to select the bar width, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of screen width and set the slot height to the required font size.
  • Wikipedia Simple (Wikipedia in Simple English) - is an easier to read version of its parent Wikipedia - it doesn't limit content it just makes it available to a wider range of people - it is a great resource for students who struggle with text written at a high readibility level and that use polysyllabic words - it is also written in other languages - the publishers say that it uses easier words and shorter sentences.  This lets people who know little English read them.

Commercial Software Titles and Links

If you want to find out more about these commercially available software titles click on the links below.  Each software title is linked to the website of the developer. 

Writing Software 

  • Kidspiration/ Inspiration - check out the Inspiration video
  •  Clicker 6 - the publishers state that Clicker is a powerful yet easy-to-use writing support and multimedia tool that enables children to write with whole words, phrases or pictures. Click here to watch the video.

  • Kurzweil - the publishers state that Kurzweil 3000 is a scaffolded reading, writing, and study skills solution for struggling learners, including ELL students and students with special needs. It enables educators to provide differentiated instruction without having to differentiate the curriculum.

  • Word Q - is a word prediction program - the publishers state that WordQ is a software tool used along with standard writing software. WordQ suggests words for you to use and provides spoken feedback to help you find mistakes.  
  • Co:Writer 7 - is a word prediction program - the publishers state that Co:Writer is a powerful word-prediction program created for struggling writers to help expand their vocabulary and improve written expression.


Speech to Text/Voice Recognition Software 

  • Speak Q - the publishers say that you can do everything that WordQ does, plus you can write by speaking. At any time you have the choice of typing with the keyboard, using word prediction, or speaking straight into your text. Speech recognition and word prediction are integrated to enhance the effectiveness of each other.
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking - text to speech software by Nuance.  It turns your talk into text and can make virtually any computer task easier and faster.


Literacy Software

  • Boardmaker  - the publishers state that Boardmaker allows you to create printed materials using Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) and other pictures and graphics.


Reading, Writing and Speech to Text Apps

Below are a few of my favourite reading and writing apps.

Reading Apps

  • Claro PDF - $2.99 - the website states, 'an accessible, reading and study PDF tool for all. Annotate, mark up and save PDF files which are then still fully compatible with Adobe Reader and other popular PDF apps. Have accessible text PDF files read back to you with a human quality voice & synchronized highlighting'.
  • Voice Dream Reader - $9.99 - the website states,'the app will read PDF, ePub, DAISY, Word, and Text files in Dropbox, Google Drive or on your device. Listen to audiobooks in DAISY or ZIP format. Read web pages or your Pocket or Instapaper reading list. Download books from Gutenberg and Bookshare.  You can also highlight information and export the highlights to iWordQ to complete an assignment or project.  
  • Speak Selection - Free - built into iOS 7 - turn it on in Settings - General - Accessibility - Speak Selection - select text in any document and Speak Selection will read aloud the selected text


Writing Apps

  • iWordQ - $24.99 - can be used for reading and writing.  In writing mode you can use word prediction, abbreviation-expansion and speech feedback features. Spell-check and dictionary access is included. Use speech recognition with an iPad 3, 4, mini.   In reading mode the reader can use it to proofread, read to learn, silent reading, reading aloud, and casual reading/listening
  • CoWriter - $19.99 - use word prediction, web scraping tool and speech feedback features. Spell-check and dictionary access is included.
  • Typ-O HD - $14.99 - word prediction and text-to-speech


Speech to Text Apps

  • Dragon Dictation - Free - voice recognition application powered by Dragon® NaturallySpeaking®
  • Siri - Free - built into iOS 7 - turn on Siri in Settings.  Tap the microphone to the left of the space bar and speak into Siri.  Use dictation to write messages, take notes, search the web and more. You  can also use Siri to write in Facebook, Twitter, email, IM, Instagram etc. Please note:  it is best to speak one or two sentences at time. 



Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.