[Athen] Replacing Assistive Tech Products

Susan Kelmer Susan.Kelmer at colorado.edu
Mon Apr 13 08:52:21 PDT 2020

This is one of those cases where you get what you pay for. No free products are going to give you the kind of reading support that Texthelp or Kurzweil will. No highlighting, not bookmarking, no note-taking. Not too many choices of voices.

The Mac has a reader built in, you can find it by searching for speech and dictation.
Microsoft’s Narrator is pretty decent – it has come a long way since its early days.
Voiceover will read on the iPhone or iPad.
There are a zillion TTS programs for the Android platform.

There are low-cost programs you can recommend, but you would have to pay for licensing for each person using them, so not sure they are cost-effective.

Natural Reader (about $60) for the pc/mac
VoiceDream reader for iOS and Android
ClaroRead for the Mac (I think about $70)

These will add up per student, so might not be cost-effective in the end.

The other thing to consider is that with these programs, you may not be meeting the students’ needs, opening yourself up to an OCR complaint or worse. This is a risk assessment your campus should investigate before deciding to take away these programs from disabled students.

*Please note: I am currently working remotely, so can be reached by email, Teams, or by cell at 303-475-7447.*

Susan Kelmer
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
Division of Student Affairs
T 303 735 4836

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From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Robert Spangler
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2020 9:43 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Replacing Assistive Tech Products

Hello everyone:

Unfortunately, as a result of recent events, our leadership at UD is asking which AT products are we able to cancel for the 2020-21 academic year. I am writing here to seek suggestions for free or lower-cost alternatives. These products include:
Read and Write - I know that there are free text-to-speech alternatives available. Can anyone recommend some for me to try? What would I lose from Read and Write if I decided to opt for a free or low-cost solution?

Dragon - This one I feel will be harder to replace, but I'm looking for opinions. I've already begun teaching my Mac students how to use the built-in Mac Dictation, which is pretty good. Also, Nuance no longer supports MacOS. Windows is a problem, however. Last time I checked, Windows dictation didn't even come close to being as accurate as Dragon. So again, any thoughts on this are welcome.


• OLR will be available via phone and email Mon-Fri from 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. The office in Roesch 023 will not be open until further notice.
• Appointments for Disability Services, accommodations, and Voluntary Medical Withdrawals will be conducted via telephone. To schedule, call 937-229-2066.
• Academic Coaching, Supplemental Instruction (SI), Tutoring, and the Write Place will be accessible remotely.
• For instructions and current OLR updates, visit go.udayton.edu/learning<http://go.udayton.edu/learning>

Robert Spangler
Disability Services Technical Support Specialist
rspangler1 at udayton.edu<mailto:rspangler1 at udayton.edu>
Office of Learning Resources (OLR) - RL 023
Ryan C. Harris Learning & Teaching Center (LTC)
University of Dayton | 300 College Park | Dayton, Ohio 45469-1302
Phone: 937-229-2066
Fax: 937-229-3270
Ohio Relay: 711 (available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing)
Web Site: http://go.udayton.edu/learning
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