[Athen] [EXT]Re: Replacing Assistive Tech Products

Hunziker, Dawn A - (hunziker) hunziker at arizona.edu
Mon Apr 13 13:54:47 PDT 2020

Also, don’t forget, it’s much cheaper to pay for upgrades than to purchase a product again – you’ve already put out a big expense to have the software available…

Bear Down,

Dawn Hunziker
IT Accessibility Consultant, Sr. | Disability Resources
The University of Arizona | hunziker at arizona.edu<mailto:hunziker at arizona.edu>
drc.arizona.edu<http://drc.arizona.edu/> | itaccessibility.arizona.edu<http://itaccessibility.arizona.edu/>

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Heidi Scher
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2020 1:50 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [EXT]Re: [Athen] Replacing Assistive Tech Products

External Email
Another thought to consider. Discontinuing use of specific AT can potentially put ALL students with disabilities who are requesting services at risk. While your budget may see few $$, staff may end up spending MUCH more time having to work with individual students to get them back on track with multiple apps. Which means services to students are not using AT could suffer. Not only could the institution be opening themselves up for OCR/legal issues from students who use AT, but also from other students who aren't getting services in a reasonable time frame. There are only so many hours in a day/a week. Sometimes spending the $$ can actually be a cost-savings for everyone.


Heidi Scher, M.S., CRC
Associate Director - AT
she, her, hers
Center for Educational Access at the University of Arkansas
1 University of Arkansas, ARKU 209
Fayetteville, AR 72701
479.575.3104 phone
479.575.7445 fax

On Mon, Apr 13, 2020 at 2:30 PM Stager, Catherine <Catherine.Stager at frontrange.edu<mailto:Catherine.Stager at frontrange.edu>> wrote:
Hi Robert,
I agree you do get what you pay for, but that does not leave us high and dry anymore.

One less expensive line of AT tools comes from Claro software – their tools are reliable and they offer some good pricing deals for education. I have not used them in the last couple of years, but they are well established and they are responsive to inquiries and bug fixes. https://www.clarosoftware.com/

You will find a great resources at https://www.chhs.colostate.edu/atrc/assistive-technology-resources/quick-start-guides/
I also have some Getting Started Guides<https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1n4rM-rd97LOfRN-E3mYqRv0K1T8e0Pu1?usp=sharing> that my student staff have assembled to support our students for this time of atypical support

Built-ins do Add Functionality (work with IT to make sure these are not restricted by the university’s builds)
Nothing is like Dragon of course, but…
You may find that for voice typing functions, Windows voice recognition or Voice typing in Google docs is adequate. You will not get the type of command functionality that Dragon provides, but they do function fairly accurately. You can pair them with other built-in functions such as Word Prediction in Win 10.
The commands functionality can be support in part by the built-in assistants, such as Siri, Hey Google and Cortana (which has just been restructured to be an app rather than an integrated part of the Windows 10 OS.)

One function that I miss in Read and Write is the screenshot reader! To just be able to take a screenshot, OCR and start to read out loud with just one tool is pretty sweet.
Basically, I would say that many tools can replace Read & Write’s functions, but it will take many, not just one.
Good luck with the budget cuts – that really stinks for your students.

Best regards,

Catherine M. Stager
Assistive Technology Specialist
Catherine.Stager at frontrange.edu<mailto:Catherine.Stager at frontrange.edu>

(720) 336-1245
[cid:image001.png at 01D23FF3.21F590B0]
Disability Support Services - Assistive Technology
Check out our Getting Started Guides for At Home Support!<https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1n4rM-rd97LOfRN-E3mYqRv0K1T8e0Pu1?usp=sharing>

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu<mailto: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<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: [Athen] Replacing Assistive Tech Products

CAUTION: This email originated from outside of the Colorado Community College System. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe. Please contact your college IT Help Desk if you have any questions.
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
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Web Site: http://go.udayton.edu/learning
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