Assistive Technology

What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technology is any software, hardware or piece of equipment that helps provide equal access to computer resources as well as alternatives to the way in which we interact with our computer and written material. Basically, AT is anything that helps you get your work done.

The following is a list of the technology available on campus and/or by request, links to product websites and brief instructions for use. Assistive technology can be very expensive so free or less expensive alternatives are also listed.  



Who will benefit?

Kurzweil 3000

The premiere reading, writing, and learning software solution for struggling students. Allows the user to scan in a document or chapter and then have it read to them. ($225-$1800)

Recommended for individuals that learn better by hearing than reading. Great for students with reading and writing disabilities.



FREE Download!! Reads any text you see on your screen - all purpose text-to-speech software. (Free)

This free program is recommended for individuals that learn better by hearing than reading and students with reading disabilities.

DragonNaturally Speaking


Dragon Naturally Speaking is a type of voice recognition software that enables the user to enter text, control menus, and execute commands simply by speaking into a microphone. Users can dictate up to 150 words per minute. ($50-$1000)

Recommended for individuals with moderate to severe physical disabilities, poor typists, and poor spellers.

Microsoft Office Speech Recognition


A free feature in Microsoft Office 2003—makes it possible for users to enter text, control menus, and execute commands simply by speaking into a microphone. (Free with Microsoft Office)

Recommended for individuals with moderate physical disabilities, poor typists, and poor spellers.


JAWS® is a fully functioning screen reader for individuals who are visually impaired. (@$600+)

Recommended for individuals who are blind or visually impaired


Zoomtext is a screen magnification and screen reading program for individuals with low vision.

Zoomtext is recommended for individuals who need help seeing what is on the monitor.

Duxbury Braille Translator


Translates text to Braille.

Recommended for individuals who are blind and read Braille.

Victor Reader Vibe

A CD player specifically designed to be used with RFB&D materiels. (@$150)

Recommended for use with RFBD by students with reading disabilities.


The AlphaSmart is a small, light word processor that allows you to enter and edit text, and then transfer it to any computer or printer.

Very light and fits into backpacks, which makes it great for note taking in class and on fieldtrips.


A Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is a video magnification system consisting of a video screen interfaced with a video camera.

Recommend for students with low vision.

Franklin Dictionary & Thesaurus

A hand-held dictionary and thesaurus.

Recommended for poor spellers.

Various Recording Devices

Useful for recording lectures.

Recommended for who are auditory learners and/or have difficulty taking notes.






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Jesus Vivar

Jesus Vivar
Computer Science Student

The first engineering class I took at Allan Hancock College was really challenging for me, but I thanked the counselor who showed me the way to the MESA program. There I was overwhelmed by all the resources offered and especially by all the students taking the same classes. Study groups with MESA students really made it easier for me to achieve. I am happy to say that I made it this far not only because of my determination to achieve a higher education, but also because of the wonderful people that I met at Hancock who encourage students to go the extra mile and accomplish their dreams.
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Last Modified Dec 9, 2015