Assistive Technology: What Is It?

Assistive Technology is any device, piece of software, equipment or tool that helps people with disabilities improve, maintain or increase their functional capabilities. Essentially, what tools and software help you do, what you want to do more quickly, easily or independently. Although Assistive Technology has traditionally been developed for people with disabilities, the applicability of much of this technology has been found to be useful to almost all of us at some point throughout our lives.

Approximately 75% of college students with a disability who would qualify for Assistive Technology, don’t know what Assistive Technology is and don’t know there are tools and programs available to support them prior to starting college. Students who have access to these tools and resources prior to starting classes, feel more prepared for their classes, the work, and tasks required of them in a college setting. With this preparedness and training on these technology tools comes increase confidence towards and a more positive outlook on one’s college career.

Assistive technology enables students with disabilities to perform daily activities such as accessing course materials and content, navigating the web, using software and information technologies. The UTM Disability Services Office offers a variety of assistive technology to registered students.

Assistive Technology is any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. 

UTM Disability Services has software and devices available for students to use.  The software is available in several computer labs across campus.  Some devices are available to check out to qualified students.  Contact ODS regarding the availability of specific Assistive Technology.

Assistive Technology Items and Locations

Fusion

Fusion is the ultimate accessibility tool for schools, agencies, training centers, and businesses where individuals with vision loss are served. Fusion provides the best of both worlds – ZoomText® , with its screen magnification and visual enhancements for screen viewing ease, coupled with the power and speed of JAWS®  for screen reading functionality. A single installer and one license gives you access to both ZoomText and JAWS individually, or together when run as the combined solution – Fusion.

Fusion locations

JAWS

JAWS is a screen reader for Microsft Windows offered by Freedom Scientific, Inc. JAWS will assist users who are blind or low-vision to use a Windows computer. JAWS has a variety of features, including Braille support, multi-lingual speech synthesis, and multi-screen support.

JAWS locations

Software

University-wide assistive technology

NVDA 2015.2

NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free and open source screen reader for the Microsoft Windows operating system. Providing feedback via synthetic speech and Braille, it enables blind or vision impaired people to access computers running Windows for no more cost than a sighted person

ZoomText 10

ZoomText Magnifier/Reader is a fully integrated magnification and reading program tailored for low-vision users. Magnifier/Reader enlarges and enhances everything on your computer screen, echoes your typing and essential program activity, and automatically reads documents, web pages, email.

NVDA 2015.2 and ZoomText 10 are installed in the following computer labs

*Labs with ZoomText keyboards – one per lab

Additional Disability Services office assistive technology