Assistive Technologies

Text-to-Speech options:

  • Central Access Reader is a free and powerful reader developed by Central Washington University students. CAR will read MS Word documents, math and logic equations, saves files as MP3s, and offers customizable text and background features.
  • Balabolka is a free and versatile program which works with a multitude of languages. Onscreen text may be saved as audio files with customizable voice options.
  • SpokenText - available as Chrome or Firefox add-on which, when registered on your Willamette account, will become available to use on any computer you use. This program works with English, Spanish, German and French.
  • Adobe reader - reads and interacts with PDFs. You can alter settings so you activate both highlighting features as well as the built-in text-to-speech capabilities. This guide from PCC highlights Adobe Reader's accessibility features.
  • Natural Reader - reads from PDFs, Microsoft programs, emails, web pages etc. Natural Reader also has an optimal character recognition (OCR) program which, when used with a scanner, can convert printed characters into digital text.
  • Set up text-to-speech in Windows.
  • Set up text-to-speech on a Mac. If the language you are reading is not English, then open System Preferences, click "Dictation & Speech," and click on the drop down menu next to System Voice. Click "customize," and select a voice for the language you are reading.

Additional Software:

  • Evernote allows you to access your notes and documents anywhere. You can search and organize your electronic documents or upload handwritten notes. A helpful tutorial can be found here.
  • MathPlayer offers text-to-speech technology for mathematical notations.
  • GeoGebra provides a comprehensive platform for interacting with advanced scientific and mathematical material.
  • OpenDyslexic is a free open source typeface designed to increase readability for students with dyslexia.

Free Alternatives to Print Text:

Technology Support:

  • WITS
  • Access Technologies Inc. is a local non-profit organization which provides accessible and cost-effective assistive technologies, technology evaluations, and technology training. For similar organizations in other areas, visit RESNA Catalyst Project.
  • Purple is an organization devoted to providing deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals with fast, easy, and convenient communication options through different platforms.