Assistive Technologies in the Library

In the library, we provide a variety of assistive (or adaptive) technologies. The following are available in the library to help persons with and without disabilities perform tasks with greater independence and efficiency. These resources are available for the use of all students but they are intentionally made available in various formats to address the diverse needs of all users.

This page has been created to help students and teachers refer to some of the available technologies in the library and elsewhere on campus. Further, parents are welcome to review the list and they are encouraged to email the librarians at should they have any questions or suggestions.
Another great resource can be found with CAST’s guidelines for Universal Design for Learning (PDF).

Assistive Technology Tools in Windows 7

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The following are all available through the computer operating systems installed on all the desktop and laptop computers in the library. Included are instruction and links demonstrating how they can be activated or used.


To open it quickly, click Start, and then type Magnifier.
This tool magnifies the screen or part of the screen to allow the user to better see digital text and images. Students with visual disabilities can adjust the magnification to more easily read books, access digital content, or write and review their essays.
Full Screen Mode - the entire screen is enlarged.
Lens Mode - the area near the mouse is magnified. Moving the mouse will change which area is magnified.
Docked Mode - a portion of the screen is magnified. The user can control which portion of the screen remains magnified while the rest of the screen is unchanged.

Microsoft Instructions:
To make items on the screen appear bigger
  1. Open Magnifier by clicking the Start button external image v77LTIX11PJ-cMU06LrJfFSo7eup3OfWPkWSp_PmcsckE5H1MjFjxmKwHSEvXCecJmxakKl2yHTuWMbpcxtov97nEq7UQcB4flgChhoR5Ffjw7f8MId_QXGk1Q, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking Magnifier.
  2. On the Views menu, click the mode that you want to use.
  3. Move the pointer to the part of the screen that you want to magnify.
  4. To exit Magnifier, press the Windows logo key external image sugca7bFahIOD_cAH4ekg7v35UfdZqq7u3RONxv5a5BTOgFnjb7MjWnLxiumeOyC4DIDY8kw1ygON-uQVSXimaakwHB6RUw0h7ONwEMd1F_uC7JEHowaegQA_Q+Esc.

On Screen Keyboard

This function pulls up a visual keyboard that users can employ to type instead of using a physical keyboard. This function is particularly useful for students with fine motor hand and/or finger limitations. The mouse becomes the tool for typing with the on screen keyboard.
To use the visual keyboard
  • Open On-Screen Keyboard by clicking the Start button external image UAmA7otKA_0DTX3dDNvDa_nB1hrSjvhY2SS3ANmHveKTIykT3BV3786nLs_EhMKs6pHyYSYTiez2a3RN4ln_DpI3bO2AvwD0a-VqnKTNXgcz6OH_99Nw-AuzUg, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking On-Screen Keyboard.

Speech Recognition

Users can interact with the computer using only their voices. For example, students can dictate their essays using Microsoft word. Corrections are easy with the command line, “Correct that.” Also available in Spanish and French. This feature is particularly helpful for students with autism, blindness, visually impairments, emotional disturbances, orthopedic impairments, brain injury or learning disabilities. Students using this feature can interact with the computer using voice commands and they don’t have to rely on the keyboard. Additionally, since they are speaking with the computer, this allows them to access different literacies besides reading.
To open Speech Recognition
  1. Open Speech Recognition by clicking the Start button external image DAN7xQPnWLHGH6gEjmYBQxox9XhQqVCPkDq0WoUQV3jh536DMY_nzZNnVH8BjN6YbMt33ns2tjLMK0SrU56lla2L-NJpSeECOYCNKodm46mz_29nHLzgdqVQlQ, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking Windows Speech Recognition.
  2. Say "start listening" or click the Microphone button to start the listening mode.

Sticky Keys

This feature allows students to press and release a key that functions as a modifier key. The student can have that key (e.g. shift, alt, ctrl, windows) remain active while they press the corresponding command key. This function helps students with typing limitations that prevent them from being able to use multiple fingers and/or hands to type on a keyboard. Users who struggle with fine motor skill development will find this feature very helpful.


The narrator reads what is on the screen. This can be helpful for individuals with reading disabilities or visual impairments. Keep in mind that this program works best with notepad, Internet explorer, the Windows platform and Wordpad.

Microsoft instructions for Narrator:
  1. Display the Start menu by pressing Ctrl+Esc (or the Windows logo key). Press R and type narrator. Then press Enter.
  2. In the Narrator dialog box, you can select different options:
    • To turn on Announce events on a screen, press Alt+A.
    • To turn on Read typed characters, press Spacebar.
    • To turn on Move mouse pointer to the active item, press Alt+M.
    • To Start Narrator minimized, press Alt+M.
  3. To turn off Narrator, press Alt+X, Y.
The narrator can also be adjusted by speeding it up or even changing the voice and accent.

iPad Apps

The following iPad apps are available for students and teachers. iPads are particularly helpful for students with orthopedic impairments because of their interactive design.

Dragon Dictation

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Easy to use voice recognition app that allows you to skip typing on a keyboard. Uses an internet connection.

Khan Academy

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A library of over 4200 video tutorials. Best for math and science. This app is a great way to get started with a flipped classroom. Videos are also available online. This app is great for students with learning disabilities as well as gifted and talented students.

Word Reference Dictionary

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Online dictionary and reference - handy for Spanish or any other language you are working to learn. This app has a dictation feature for pronunciations and it can be very handy for students with learning and/or auditory disabilities.


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Our subscription with MediaConnect allows us to access multiple videos and tutorials in a variety of subject areas. Besides providing royalty free music, and streaming content, the service also allows us to borrow DVDs, large print materials and other teacher resources (see their brochure). They will also provide us with the ability to videoconference with any other users in the world who might have an Internet connection.
  • DVD resources
  • Distance Learning
  • Large print materials
  • Streaming video content
Students with orthopedic limitations can access instruction through this service using our distance learning lab. Further, students with auditory disabilities or visual disabilities can utilize their resources to augment in class content. The staff with MediaConnect will also visit your classroom to help integrate their services.

Overdrive - Audiobooks and eBooks

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Audiobooks and eBooks are excellent resources to help students with visual and auditory disabilities. Additionally, these resources and their interactive capabilities make them excellent for students with learning disabilities. For students with orthopedic impairments, Overdrive allows them to access books in multiple formats on their electronic device. The materials can also be utilized to aid students with visual or hearing impairments.