Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is considered to be any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capacities for someone with a disability. At Learning Support Services students have access to a variety of resources.  There are also various sites on campus where assistive technology is available, e.g. Computer Commons – GM 206.  The following is a list of some of the items available at Learning Support Services.  This is not an exhaustive list. If you are interested in an item which is not listed, please contact LSS at 734-973-3342, or [email protected]

Assistive Technology can help with many functions, including:

  • Reading text aloud (Kurzweil)
  • Enlarging print
  • Providing voice input in order to write (Dragon Naturally Speaking)
  • Notetaking (LiveScribe Pens)
  • Recording Lectures (Digital Recorders)

Students with disabilities need to contact a Program Specialist to discuss technology related needs.  Referral to the Technology Specialist will then be made to discuss specific equipment use and training.

Obtaining Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is loaned out on a semester by semester basis.  If assistive technology is approved as an accommodation, a referral will be created by the Program Specialist and the Technology Specialist will contact the student to set up an appointment for demonstration and training on the equipment. You may borrow equipment based on the availability of items.

  1. You must be registered for the current semester and discuss your request with a Program Specialist.
  2. A referral will be given to the Technology Specialist to follow up with you.
  3. Before you may borrow the equipment, you must sign an Equipment Loan form agreeing to return the item in good working condition by the end of the semester.
  4. Failure to return equipment in good working order by the end of the semester will result in a financial hold being placed on your account. Additional equipment will not be loaned until previously borrowed equipment is returned in good working order or financial holds are paid.


Note Taking

Livescribe Smartpen

The Livescribe Smartpen records what you write, draw and hear. The pen requires Livescribe paper which is available in a variety of formats. An infrared camera tracks what is written or drawn and the built-in microphone records audio. Using the USB connector, the pen transfers the written notes and audio to the free downloadable Livescribe Desktop software.


Natural Reader
Natural Reader is a text to speech software program containing natural sounding voices with speed control. Text can be transformed into MP3 audio format for downloading to a portable device. A floating toolbar feature reads selected text without copying and pasting.

Kurzweil (1000 and 3000) 
Kurzweil 3000 is a reader/scanner software with optical character recognition which allows the computer to read scanned materials with a visual output. The program contains many features including a dictionary, synonyms, syllables and spell check.



Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon Naturally Speaking is speech recognition software that allows full hands free typing operations of a Windows based PC. The user speaks into the microphone using computer commands and text is typed, normally produced with a keyboard and mouse. There is a training period for the software to “recognize” the voice of the user.


Tools for Students with Sensory or Physical Disabilities

JAWS for Windows 
With synthesized speech, JAWS reads the information on the computer screen. The user navigates through the computer screen using key commands.

ZoomText Magnifier and Screen Reader
ZoomText provides screen magnification up to 36X. Enhancement features allow the user to change the color scheme, enlarge or change cursor symbol and pointer and choose a focus enhancement for selecting a highlighting tool. Finder tools locate information on the screen quickly. The screen reader reads text on the computer screen. The user may choose from four different reading formats that best suits their needs and adjust reading speed.

Comtek Assistive Listening Device 
Comtek is a wireless microphone transmitter providing auditory assistance for students with hearing impairments. The speaker wears a transmitter with mini microphone and the listener wears a personal transmitter with ear phones.

Accessibility Programs Built in to Computers

MAC OS X Accessibility

  • Screen Magnification
  • Text to Speech
  • VoiceOver
  • Additional Accessibility Features


Microsoft Accessibility

  • Narrator
  • Magnifier
  • On Screen Keyboard
  • Additional Accessibility Features