Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology can help students with a variety of needs to enhance their learning potential and ability. It includes computer software and applications as well as practical equipment. Below is helpful information and resources on some that are available. Students may set up an Assistive Technology Consultation with SAS’s AT Specialist to discuss questions. 

Software and Applications 

The following are recommended by SAS and can be accessed at no cost via the internet. 

Text-to-Speech (TTS) 

Text-to-Speech uses speech synthesis technology to convert onscreen text into words spoken aloud. This is beneficial to a variety of users, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) students, persons with visual disabilities, persons with learning disabilities, and those with time constraints who might want to multitask while listening to papers, articles, books, or web pages being read aloud.   

A few recommended TTS programs available are the following:

  • NaturalReader gives users a choice of several different, more natural sounding voices which can be used on PC, Mac, iOS or Android devices. For information on getting set up with an account, book an Assistive Technology Consultation with SAS’s AT Specialist
  • From Text to Speech - Web based. Converts text to an mp3 file
  • Balabolka - Downloadable software with several customizing features
  • Panopreter - Downloadable software that reads texts as well as converting it to wav and mp3 files
  • Read Aloud - A Google Chrome extension

Speech-to-Text (STT) and Speech Recognition 

Speech-to-Text allows users to speak into an external microphone or one built into their devices and have their spoken words converted to text on screen. STT uses speech recognition technology. Speech recognition also allows users to navigate some programs through speech the same way they would by hand.

Many different users can benefit from STT and speech recognition, including those with learning disabilities, physical issues that make writing or using a mouse difficult, and anyone who wants a hands-free way of writing so that they can also complete other tasks. 

Many commonly used computer products and services already have STT/speech recognition functions built into them or offer compatible add-ons for free. See the following examples below: 

Additional programs offer “light” versions for free, as follows: 

  • Otter – Record and import audio for transcription, including live Zoom meetings. 600 minutes free per month with each conversation having a 40-minute duration limit
  • Braina – Users can navigate the functions of their PC as well as the internet via STT through a free “Lite” version

Chemistry Software 

The following is a list of chemistry drawing software tools that students who have difficulty drawing free-handed may find helpful:

  • ChemDraw JS – An online tool designed to help users create and edit chemical structure drawings
  • KingDraw – Features include sketching molecules and reactions, organic chemistry objects and pathways, as well as analyzing compound properties, converting chemical structures to IUPAC names, and viewing 3D models. Downloadable software for Windows PC, Android and iOS
  • MarvinSketch – Draw, edit, publish, and export drawings of chemical compounds, reactions, Markush structures and query molecules. Also features built-in structure and valence checkers, and integrated property calculators  
    • Download the software or use their online version, Marvin JS
  • ChemSketch – A chemical modeling and rendering program with 2D sketch functions as well as a 3D viewer. Compatible with Windows 64 bit only
  • Avogadro – Molecular builder, editor and visualizer designed for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Translations into several different languages offered
  • MolView – A web-based application that searches through Open-Source compound, protein, and spectral databases and displays them as interactive visualizations
  • PubChem Sketcher – An online chemical drawing tool designed for use across as many browsers and platforms as possible. For instructions on how to use, go to their PubChem Sketcher Help page