[Athen] Screen readers/other software

Robert Beach rbeach at kckcc.edu
Tue Apr 8 05:57:24 PDT 2008

Amen! I agree completely. Some of the Premier tools are fine, but many of them lack what my students need. For example, Universal Reader is fine is somebody only needs to read. However, most of my students need more than just a reading tool. They like homophone checking, extra help with spell checking, etc. Therefore, nearly all of my students choose Read&Write over Universal Reader because it performs better. Yes, some of the tools they like are in the Talking Word Processor. But again, my students like to use exactly what the rest of the class is using when at all possible. On this camplus, that means MS Word, not a special program. R&W is non-intrusive, provides the tools they need, and is fairly easy to learn and use, and works with everything they use such as online classes, internet search, web mail, etc.

I really like the Text-To-Audio program for production purposes, but my students don't use it themselves. I like the Ultimate Talking Dictionary and some of my students use it in the background when using Word. However, if they're using R&W, they don't need it since all the spelling tools are there.

Again, some good products, and some that I personally don't think are too great, but that's just my opinion. However, don't depend on their line of products to be your only solution. They just don't cut it for a school invironment.

Robert Lee Beach
Assistive Technology Specialist
Kansas City Kansas Community College
7250 State Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66112
Phone: (913) 288-7671
Fax: (913) 288-7678
E-mail: rbeach at kckcc.edu

>>> "Marks, Jim" <marks at mso.umt.edu> 4/7/2008 5:17 PM >>>

Hi Carol,

Every time I say this, it seems to cause troubles. But, here goes

Premier is fine, but it will not replace better assistive technology.
In my opinion, Premier should serve as a supplement, never the only
option a campus uses to comply with civil rights laws. Premier does
some things well, but it does less than what more expensive assistive
technologies can do. Function has to be a primary concern, and colleges
should find the money it takes to provide the best access. I think of
Premier as a low-cost alternative in which one gets what one pays for.
I also think the Premier grant thing is a marketing scheme, not really a

People with disabilities should have the tools it takes to participate
fully in higher education. It's wrong to barter away equal access just
to save a buck. On the other hand, if the less costly alternative
works, then go for it. Some make the argument that many don't need all
the bells and whistles, and there is merit to that argument. Premier
will not work as well as the more expensive options, though, and making
sure our post-secondary programs are accessible is sort of the whole
point. We need tools that work well. Reliance on Premier alone just
won't do the trick.

Jim Marks
Director of Disability Services
University of Montana
jim.marks at umontana.edu


From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Carol Raymundo
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 12:54 PM
To: athen at athenpro.org
Subject: [Athen] Screen readers/other software

I am wondering if anyone uses Premier Literacy software (formerly
Premier Assistive Technology).

Has anyone taken advantage of their grant program? If so, what do you
like and what don't you like about the program?

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