Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is adaptive equipment that enables persons with disabilities to perform functions and achieve tasks that might otherwise be difficult. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act defines assistive technology as, "Any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized that is commonly used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."

Assistive Technology at TU

TU is committed to providing students with equal access to its resources. Below are some of the assistive technologies available to Towson University students.

  • Kurzweil 1000 - Text to speech software that makes printed or electronic text readily available to people who are blind or visually impaired.
  • Kurzweil 3000 - Reading comprehension software that scans printed text, then reads the contents of the printed document aloud. It also reads aloud words typed on the screen.
  • ZoomText - Enlarges a specified area of the computer's display.
  • JAWS - Screen reading software that uses speech synthesis to read the contents of the display window.
  • Adjustable Computer Workstation - Workstation that can be raised or lowered to accommodate a student's needs.
  • Spell Checkers - Assists with spelling.
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking - Speech recognition software that allows users to control the PC using voice commands. It also allows users to dictate documents into their processor.
  • Livescribe Smart Pen - Records audio while linking to written notes.
  • Onyx Deskset Portable Video Magnifier - Portable magnification for printed materials that uses a camera and monitor to display materials.
  • Acrobat HD CCTV Magnifier - Stationary high definition magnification for printed materials.
  • Digital Recorders - Used to record lectures.
  • My Reader CCTV - Stationary device used to magnify printed material. The CCTV uses a stand mounted magnifier to project magnified images of printed material onto an associated video monitor.
  • FM System - Wireless system designed to help someone better identify and understand speech.
  • Inspiration - Visual mapping software that helps organize ideas in the form of a diagram or outline.
  • Talking Calculators - Calculator with a built-in speech synthesizer that reads aloud what is input into the calculator and the calculator's output.

Assistive Technologies at Cook Library

Cook Library provides two computers, located on the main floor (3rd), with assistive technology programs in order to provide equal access to information for any patron with a documented disability.

Currently, the following programs are available on these computers:

  • Kurzweil 3000
  • JAWS
  • ZoomText
  • NVDA