Assistive Technology Services
Assistive technology (AT) makes it possible for individuals with disabilities to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. It can range in nature from hardware devices such as wheelchairs to computer software and hardware. The Office of Student Disability Services supports and maintains accessible computer workstations with state-of-the art AT for all of the office’s registered students in Shuster Hall, room 238, in its Access and Technology Center (ATC) in Leonard Lief Library, room 215, and in classroom labs on an as-needed basis.
One-on-one, personalized training on general technology software and on assistive technology hardware/software is provided by our in-house, assistive technology specialist. The type and amount of training provided is determined on a case-by-case basis. (For some equipment, training is required prior to use or equipment loan.) The SDS also hosts group AT demonstrations and workshops in the ATC. For more information on assistive technology programming, please contact Stephanie Arriola, our assistant director, either by phone at 718-960-8441 ext. 1167 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Office of Student Disability Services
Room 238 in Shuster Hall is equipped with three computers with current versions of mainstream (e.g., Microsoft Office) and AT software. One of the computers has a 24-inch, flat-panel monitor. There are two closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) for magnifying print material, as well as a large-print keyboard, a scanner; and a printer.
The Access and Technology Center
The Access and Technology Center (ATC) in room 215 of the library is equipped with seven computers, all with 24-inch, flat-panel monitors. Similar to the computers in Shuster, the computers in the ATC contain current versions of both mainstream and assistive technology programs. (For a list of available software and devices, please see the Assistive Technology Software Programs and Hardware Devices section below.) All of the workstations are height-adjustable for students in wheelchairs or for those with other mobility impairments. There are also five flatbed scanners; three CCTVs; two large-print keyboards; and a laser printer with duplex printing capability. Color printing is available as well. (The ATC is open during regular library hours; for information, call 718-960-8577). A valid Lehman ID is required for library entry.)
Assistive Technology Software Programs and Hardware Devices
- ZoomText is a screen-magnification and screen-reading program that provides students with visual impairments both visual and auditory access to what is on screen. Content can be enlarged from as little as 1.25x to as much as 36x the original size.
- JAWS (Job Access with Speech) is a dedicated screen-reading program for students who are blind or who have severe visual impairments. JAWS tracks a user’s position as work within different applications, and reads literally what is taking place on screen. It helps students auditorily access many mainstream programs (e.g., Microsoft Office suite, Web browsers).
- Kurzweil 1000 makes print and electronic materials accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired. Students can scan print materials into Kurzweil 1000, which can then be edited as necessary and/or read aloud using the programs’s screen reading capability. They can also either open material from an existing file or create a new file within the program itself for editing or reading aloud.
- Kurzweil 3000 is a comprehensive reading, writing, and studying program for students with learning disorders and for English-language learners. Kurzweil 3000 will read text aloud while highlighting each spoken word. It offers students tools to increase reading speed and comprehension, as well as features to improve writing skills, such as spell checking, word prediction, help with homophones, and a dictionary, to name a few.
- Read & Write Gold is a reading, writing, and studying program for students with learning disorders and for English-language learners. The program will read text aloud while highlighting each spoken word; it includes a dictionary, audible spell checking, and word prediction as well. Read & Write Gold also offers seamless integration with mainstream programs such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional is a speech-recognition program, which is useful for students with motor disorders and/or learning disorders—or for anyone who prefers talking to typing. Dragon converts speech to text in many mainstream programs (e.g., Microsoft Office suite, Web browsers) and allows students fulfill assignments; send e-mail; use the Web; and command and control their computers—all by voice.
- Abbyy FineReader is a professional-level, optical-character-recognition (OCR) program for creating editable and searchable files, without losing the original file’s formatting. Students who are eligible for alternate format books/e-text can have their books and materials scanned and saved as PDFs or Microsoft Word files. (Publisher permission required.) Existing PDF and image files can also be converted to Microsoft Word.
- Livescribe Smartpens are notetaking devices available for loan, which are part recorder and part pen. The pen allows you to take notes in a highly efficient way. You can synchronize what you write with your audio recording for quick review of your lecture and transfer your notes to your computer. (This does not necessarily replace a notetaker; training and periodic feedback on usage is required. Subject to availability.).
- Netbooks are available for loan should a student require typed notes. (Subject to availability; training is required.)
- Large-print keyboards for students who are visually impaired are available on two stations in the ATC and on one station in the SDS office in 238 Shuster.
- Handheld CCTVs and 15” portable (nearly full-size) CCTVs for students who are visually impaired are available for loan. (Subject to availability. Training is required.)
- A high-speed scanner allows students the option of speedily scanning textbooks to create electronic files. Books can be magnified or read aloud with a screen-reading program. (Publisher permission required.)
- Cassette recorders and digital voice recorders are available for loan to students who are eligible for this accommodation.
- The Victor Reader Vibe and Victor Reader Wave are audio playback devices available for loan to students who need access to electronic books in proprietary, DAISY format.
- Large print copies of difficult-to-see/read tables, detailed images, and graphs from students’ textbooks can be processed upon request. (Advanced notice required.)
- Personal FM transmitter systems to amplify classroom lectures for are available for students who are hard of hearing.
Students registered with the Office of Student Disability Services are permitted to borrow equipment such as recorders, Victor Readers, or FM transmitters, for the duration of a semester. They are required to sign a release form, which states that they are responsible for the equipment if lost, stolen, or broken. The SDS is always procuring new equipment. For a current list of available items, or to offer your ideas on new items for our consideration, please call the office at 718-960-8441 ext. 1167 and ask to speak to the assistant director.