With this access, students can independently use the computer to read, write, send and receive e-mail and do research.
Another type of low-tech devices for blind children is the note taker. Note takers are moveable Braille tools that include refreshable Braille display. They can be attached to the computer to display information on the screen in Braille. Examples include Braille lite, the Braille note and the Braille window. Refreshable Braille allows the blind and the deaf-blind to read information that appears on the computer monitor. Examples include power Braille and Braille window. There are several math aids available to assist blind students in partaking in math activities. They include abacus, clock rulers, math drill cards Nemeth Code Reference Sheet and Braille and/or print protractor (School of Public Health Profession, University of Buffalo, 2005).
Types of Assistive Technology Tools
Portable Word Processing Devices
The portable word processors are more durable and lightweight as compared to computers. Their screen displays just words and letters. This aids a learner to concentrate on writing words devoid of the visual disruptions of a computer. Portable word processing devices can be good choices for learners who can type adequately to utilize a normal keyboard but for whom handwriting is not quick, tidy, or functional. A number of them have typing lesson programs, organizing software, spell checkers and word forecast or prediction software. This software assists in making spreadsheets, creating simple data bases, drawing and painting. Other features of this software include scientific calculators, graph software and word challenge games. They can be linked straight to a computer and printer with an insulated wire so that words can be formatted and edited afterward. The keyboard of a portable word processing device may contain alternate layouts, key guards, variable sensitivity sticky keys and recur rate alternatives. Examples include alphasmart and Quickpad alphasmart
Text Reading Systems
Text reading systems permit text present on the screen to be read audibly via a computer's sound card. If the material is not ready in electronic set-up, hard copy text is scanned and changed to text file which can be read by software with optical character recognition. The computer can afterward read the words through utilizing a speech synthesizer and concurrently bring the words on the monitor.
Reading systems permit the learner to highlight a word, sentence or a clause by utilizing complementary colors. The reader can decide to have a single word at a time emerge on the monitor if that assists comprehension. Experiencing words with vision and hearing assists in sponsoring learning. Moreover, following the highlighted words in succession across the page is chiefly important to learners with learning disabilities.
Various reading systems contain dictionaries and a thesaurus which can be tailored for specific subjects or books. Henceforth, meanings can be read audibly to the student. Some consist of study skills toolbars and means to extract notes for evaluation, abstract and outlining. Reading systems can be utilized in assisting a student revise his or her writing. Hearing the text may aid the learner in capturing writing mistakes for example difficulties with sentence structure, or words that have been left out. Normally the students may not realize these mistakes by simply reading the text by themselves.
Hearing own writing recited audibly generally motivates improved editing for content plus fluency. Commonly used screen reading software includes adobe eBook reader and brousealoud.
Word prediction programs collaborate with word processors. They forecast the word an individual needs to enter inside the computer. The individual types the initial letter of a word, and the program presents a catalog of words commencing with that letter. If the correct word emerges on the list, it can be selected and automatically placed inside the sentence. If the correct word doesn't emerge, the learner persists to type the subsequent letter till it does emerge. After the user selects a word, the computer forecasts the subsequent word in the sentence. Once more, it provides a catalog of likely words, even before the initial letter is typed. Forecasts are based upon the words contained in the sentence and spelling, plus the number of times a word is utilized.
Word prediction may be useful to students who have problem with spelling, grammar or using a keyboard . Good links to word prediction software pooled with text-to-speech software can be found at Cheryl Wissick's toolbox for educators (Centre for Disability Resources, University of South Carolina, 2010).
Centre for Disability Resources, University of South Carolina.(2010, April). Assistive
Technology Program. Retrieved May 23, 2010 from http://www.sc.edu/scatp/ld.htm
School of Public Health Profession, University of Buffalo.(2005). Assistive
Technology Training Online Project. Retrieved May 23, 2010 from http://www.atto.buffalo.edu/