Students With Disabilities: Assistive Technology Your College Should Provide

students with disabilities

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  • There are many different factors to consider when it comes to selecting a college.

    You have to think about the educational courses they provide; you have to contemplate location and living arrangements; you need to consider any entry requirements, and so much more.

    The task is only made more difficult for students with disabilities. This is because they also have to select colleges which effectively provide for their needs. While the Americans with Disabilities Act means equal access needs to be provided for disabled students in postsecondary institutions, there are other aspects to ponder, such as assistive technology.

    Due to rapid advancements in technology, students with disabilities are more able than ever to complete their college assignments independently. However, which assistive technology should your college of choice provide? This article will highlight some of the main options.

    Transcription software

    Students with vision or hearing problems will struggle to consume video/audio content. This is where AI-driven transcription software can help bridge the gap.

    Rather than having someone deal with the lengthy process of transcribing lectures and other multimedia content, AI-driven software can make it much quicker and more effective for colleges to complete transcriptions – ensuring they are offered to students as soon as possible.

    By offering transcriptions, students can gain access to written materials – something which is beneficial for more than just those with vision or hearing disabilities.

    Text-to-speech

    While some disabled students may have difficulty consuming video/audio content, there are others – such as the blind or those suffering with dyslexia – who struggle with text-based content. Fortunately, text-to-speech (TTS) technology, which scans and reads the words in a synthesized voice, means disabled students can still consume written documents in an effective manner.

    Optical character recognition

    Optical character recognition (OCR) is another effective technology for those that struggle to read documents. OCR allows you to convert scanned books, handouts, and documents into either a text-based PDF or readable Word document. By being able to convert scanned content into digital-type content, it is then possible to use the aforementioned TTS technology to read the PDF or Word document.

    Modified keyboard

    There are various ways in which a keyboard can be modified for students with disabilities. As an example, there are keyboards that feature Braille – an ideal solution for those with sight issues that cannot see the keyboard clearly. There are also other solutions available for those with sight issues, such as bright yellow keys and large letters.

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    Smartphones

    One of the most effective assistive technologies is undoubtedly the humble smartphone. While students will each have their own smartphones, this does not mean a college cannot help in terms of the apps that are installed. There are many apps available which can help a disabled student while they are at college.

    Electronic books

    In addition for those with vision issues, an electronic book can be a great assistant. A low vision student might struggle with standard print. With an electronic book, however, they can receive large print versions of text. In addition, there are certain electronic books that feature TTS functionality.

    Image Credit: students with disabilities by envato.com

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