Individuals with visual challenges can benefit from screen reading programs that use specialized software and a speech synthesizer.
One method involves the keyboard providing input to the speech synthesizer, and works with the standard application program and the user. In another method the speech synthesizer connects to the RS2326 port and converts ASCII text into speech. Headphones can be used with the computer system.
Typical features of speech synthesizer:
The rate of speech can be adjusted in a speech synthesizer. Another feature is that the output can be read line-by-line; or it can be read character-by-character. If the individual has trouble with this rate of speed, the words or numbers can be spelled out. Setting the synthesizer to pronounce all spaces and punctuation marks helps with transcribing the information. Capitals can be read with altered pitch. Would you like a change in voice? The synthesizer can package different voices.
There are two types of large print screen displays:
The user types input on the keyboard and the hardware translates it line by line into a tactile Braille display for the blind. Another method is through braille software translators and embossers that print Braille documents from the computer. The software converts screen display to Braille before sending to the embosser to be printed.
Reading systems use optical character recognition to convert printed text into speech or computer files. A scanner, computer and speech synthesizer are needed for this type of system. The book or document is scanned into the computer where the text is then displayed on the screen. The software then reads the screen display to the individual through the speech synthesizer.
Alternative keyboard keyguards cut down on accidental keystrokes.
Large print key labels that fit over individual keys help in visual impairment and software that disables automatic repeat features are also alternatives.
(Note: Alternative keyboards can also require separate hardware interface between the keyboard and the serial port. Specialized keyboards generally have specific requirements.)
Ability switches allow the user to access the screen display without using a keyboard. To operate a computer with switches, one of two techniques are used.
Other Ability Switches Include:
Academically challenged individuals generally benefit from the use of the computer. Drill and practice sometimes helps individuals master subject matter that requires individual feedback. Word prediction software for the learning challenged individual, and speech and language programs for the hearing and speech challenged provide learning resources. Typing and writing back and forth across the Internet has also proven beneficial to some individuals in improving writing skills.
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