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Assistive Technology and You

According to the definition proposed in the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, Assistive or Adaptive Technology commonly refers to any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquire commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Students use assistive technology for many reasons: increased self-reliance, the ability to work more independently, improvement in self-esteem, and better grades!

Examples of Assistive Technology

  • Alternative Textbook Formats
  • Digital Recorders
  • C-Pen Reader 2 (portable, pocket-sized scanning device that reads scanned text out loud)
  • Speech Recognition Software (Dragon Naturally Speaking)
  • Screen Magnification Software (ZoomText)
  • Writing/Organization Software, Graphic Organizers (Inspiration)
  • Text-to-Speech Software (TTS is a type of assistive technology that reads aloud digital text – the words on computers, smartphones, and tablets.)
  • Screen Reading Software (JAWS, NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access))
  • Desktop Video Magnifier (CCTV)
  • LiveScribe Echo SmartPen 
  • Talking, Enlarge Screen, Graphing Calculators
  • Alternative Listening Device (FM System)

Looking for an App for your mobile device? There are a huge number of apps available and their availability varies, and different apps will suit different learners even if they perform the same basic function.  Check out the following web page: App Information for Android and iOS Devices.

Frequently Asked Questions About Assistive Technology

What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology is any software, hardware, equipment, or portable device that helps to enable the user to fully participate in an activity. (For example; a student with low-vision is able to see a computer screen with magnification software.)
What type of Assistive Technology do I need?
First, qualified professionals here at the college review your documentation. Then an informal technical assessment is completed to help match technology to your needs. Otherwise; we recommend that you work with a community resource for a comprehensive Assistive Technology Evaluation. (i.e. Massachusetts Rehabilitation, or Mass Commission for the Blind, etc.)
Will someone show me how to use it?
Yes, one-on-one personalized training on assistive technology software/equipment is provided by Pamela LaBella, the Assistive Technology Specialist at the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services.
How long will I need to train?
The training time varies for different assistive technology. Some devices or software may require only 1 training session, while others may require multiple sessions, until you are comfortable using the technology independently. This can depend on your skill level at the beginning of the training session.

Learn More

Please contact the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services at 978-556-3654 to learn more about Assistive Technology Services and whether you may be eligible to benefit from this type of support. Assistive Technology available may vary each semester.

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