Magazine article Technology & Learning

Assistive Tech Product Guide

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Assistive Tech Product Guide

Article excerpt

With the $11.37 billion in ARRA funds just released last month, never has there been a better time to go after IDEA funds for your school. What follows are some new tools you can use to help meet the needs of all your students.

TEXT-TO-SPEECH/ SPEECH RECOGNITION

Co:Writer 6 (www.donjohnston.com) is the latest version of word prediction to help poor writers and spellers express their thoughts more clearly and produce grammatically correct and topic-specific sentences. This tool works within any word processing application including e-mail and the Internet.

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Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 (www.nuance.com/ naturaliyspeaking) gives students the ability to create documents and e-mails, search the Web, and even control the PC entirely by voice.

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JAWS for Windows (www.freedom scientific.com) screen-reading software provides PC access for the visually impaired to Microsoft applications, from Office and PowerPoint to Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox. Includes talking installation, two speech synthesizers for reading the screen aloud, and onboard basic training.

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Read:Outloud (www.donjohnston.com) is an accessible text reader with embedded comprehension strategies based on the National Reading Panel and Reading Next report. This tool will help educators provide timely access to digital text and reads aloud all common digital formats.

Read&Write GOLD (www.texthelp.com) provides flexible literacy support for all students, especially those with reading and writing difficulties or learning disabilities or who are English-language learners. The customizable toolbar integrates directly with mainstream applications. A new feature allows teachers to create talking Flash eBooks for students who have no assistive technology available. The eBooks include support tools such as text-to-speech, talking dictionary, translator, sticky notes, and highlighters.

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COMMUNICATION DEVICES

The DynaVox Xpress (www.dynavoxtech. com) combines augmentative and alternative communication tools with a variety of mainstream communication features in a device that weighs just 1.5 pounds. New touch-screen technology allows users to "sweep" through content using fingers or thumb, while providing new opportunities for communication through Wi-Fi Internet and e-mail access, Bluetooth capabilities, and infrared remote control.

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Faceland (www.donjohnston.com) is a software program to teach students with autism how to recognize the six basic human emotions of surprise, anger, fear, disgust, sadness, and happiness. Using a game-like amusement park and a thousand photographed faces across ethnicity, age and gender, children will learn to recognize facial expressions and transfer their recognition to real life social behavior.

The GoTalk Pocket (www.attainmentcompany.com) is lightweight, contoured, and small enough to fit in a hand Six message keys with five levels give the user plenty to talk about. Overlays slide in easily and are stored in a removable compartment on the back.

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The Lightwriter SL40 (www.tobiiati.com) is a small communication device for those needing voice output. The SL40 converts text to Acapela speech, sends and receives text messages (SMS), stores notes and contacts, acts as a remote control and more, all in a lightweight and durable device. The Lightwriter SL40 acquires new words for the word prediction based on the user's own vocabulary. The predicted words appear in the four tabs at the bottom of the Lightwriter screen. In addition to the user display, there is a high-resolution, large print, forward facing display that allows listeners to read messages from the individual typing.

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Talking Brix communicators (www. …

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