Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology refers to IT resources, both software and hardware, that enables students with disability to become digitally literate, thus supporting them in their participation in the college and allowing them equal opportunities to achieve their educational goals and gain independence.

Students with disabilities, registered with Student Services, may be eligible to avail of the following Assistive Technology.

Free tools to assist Students with Disabilities

Additional supports are available on the IT Carlow Website here. These FREE support tools are available and easily accessed. The videos below will explain clearly how to use these tools. This may assist you in completing college work.

Free Speech to Text in Google Docs - Creates the text as you speak

To use Google Dictate in Google Docs you need to have a Gmail account and, preferably, a headset with microphone-a gaming headset would be ideal.  Ensure that you have plugged in your headset before you click on the onscreen microphone as your system has to register the headset. As the software has to get used to the pattern of your speech, the more you use and correct where necessary, the better it recognises your speech. You can download or print the Google Voice Command List to help speed up the process. To use, follow the steps shown in this video. 

Free Speech to Text (Dictate) in Microsoft Office 365 - Creates the text as you speak

Similar to Speech to Text in Google Docs, with the Dictate button at the end of the Word toolbar. Ensure that you have plugged in your headset before you click on the onscreen microphone as your system has to register the headset. As the software has to get used to the pattern of your speech, the more you use and correct where necessary, the better it recognises your speech. Dictate also offers real time translation for over 60 languages to and from English with surprising consistency. To use, follow the steps shown in this video.

Free Text to Speech in Microsoft Office Word – Basic Screen Reader - Reads text on- screen out loud 

The Text to Speech in Microsoft Office Word is a basic feature which allows you to listen to your documents by simply selecting the text and clicking on the “Speak” button.  This is a built in feature of Word, so you don’t have to install additional plug-ins or third –party software.  The same feature can be found on Microsoft - PowerPoint, Access and Excel. If you need a more in-depth reading experience Immersive Reader offers numerous features such as screen tinting, text spacing translation etc. To use, follow the steps shown in this video.

Free Text to Speech using the Immersive Reader - Microsoft 365 – Reads text on-screen out loud

While text to speech in Microsoft Word is a basis feature the Immersive Reader on Microsoft 365 is a learning tool that provides a number of features to enhance the reading experience and increase the readability of text. It is a free tool built into some Office programs to allow the user to read text. It has many extra  features which includes conversion from English to multiple languages, the majority of which can be read back in the chosen language to the user, screen tinting, font changes, text spacing etc. 

Free Magnifier in Windows – for visual impairment

The Magnifier is intended for visually impaired people to use when running Microsoft Windows. It allows you to enlarge your screen to make text, apps and documents bigger. This is a built-in feature of Windows and is free to use. It has 3 options and can magnify the screen up to 9 times its normal size. 

Read and Write

Read and Write is a simple and easy-to-use floating toolbar that provides speech feedback, phonetic spell checking and many other literacy support tools to help with reading and writing

To view the Read and Write for Education playlist, click here

Livescribe Pen (Recording)

The Livescribe Pen is used by students who find it difficult to take notes in lectures. It can also be used by the student for revision purposes. The Pen records audio and written notes when used with Anoto digital paper(provided), later allowing uploading to a computer.

Exam Reader Pen

The Exam Reader Pen is used by students with reading difficulties in place of a Reader Person.  Using the Scan Feature, it reads text from the exam paper directly to the student, using the in-built speaker and earphones (provided). Language options are available to individual users where required.  The Exam Reader Pen promotes independence and confidence.