Assistive Technologies

Alternate Format Text and Audio Books

Students who are approved to use alternate format as an accommodation can place a request with the StAAR Assistive Technology (AT) specialist by filling out the Alternative Format Requests on Accommodate. Once your request is submitted, the AT specialist will work to obtain the files you need for your course list. The AT specialist will be able to release materials to you after receiving proof of purchase (a screen shot of the purchase or scan of the receipt), though looking for the texts can before then. Some publisher handle requests quickly and some it takes several weeks to get a response, due to this, we suggest students reach out as soon as they can so the AT specialist can start the search for requested textbooks. While you are waiting for your electronic files to be released, you should schedule a training meeting with the AT specialist for a text-to-speech software called “Read and Write”. The AT specialist will release the electronic files to you when they are available for use.

Accessibility Software for All

Tufts University has several campus wide licenses for several programs, meaning any staff, student or faculty with a Tufts email address, can use these programs. People who are not registered with the office are free to use this software as well. 

SensusAccess

Students, staff and faculty, regardless of if they are approved through our office, will have the ability to use this service to change the format of files they use in their college experience. This service allows students to transfer between inaccessible and accessible formats such as turning scanned PDFs into accessible PDFs, Word documents or even MP3s.The instructions on how to use SensusAccess are straightforward, but will rely on the student providing a "@tufts.edu" email address.  

Please follow the SensusAccess Portal link to be redirected to the page to upload files.

Read and Write

Is a literacy software that helps students with studying, writing, reading, and research skills. Many of the features including text-to-speech, a dictionary, a translator, speech input, and highlighting, make materials accessible to students. The software also has a ton of built in help videos to help users if they need to review the functionalities available, and can be installed independently of our office. 

Equipment and Software Rental

If you are approved for technology accommodations, the StAAR office can provide various assistive technologies to help you access your course material. Some technologies require that you get training with the StAAR Assistive Technology specialist before they are loaned to you for one semester. You will be asked to sign a loan agreement upon receipt of the technology and to return the technology at the end of the semester. If you do not return the equipment you will be charged the cost of replacing of the technology.

Assistive Technology Software Available

  • NVDA: a free screen reader that makes the text on a computer screen accessible to individuals who are blind or have visual impairments. The text is read aloud by a computerized voice, and users are able to navigate around their screen with keyboard commands or a mouse. 
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking: a speech recognition software that is three times faster than typing, and 99% accurate when translating a users voice to on-screen text. Dragon works in multiple platforms, including Microsoft Office, email, and computer operating systems. Users can simply speak a command, and their computer will follow their directions. It only runs on Windows machines, as Macintosh's built-in Dictation software is on par with Dragon Naturally Speaking.
  • JAWS Screen Reader: a screen reader developed to provide individuals with vision loss access to their computer screen. Jaws provides speech and Braille outputs in over 17 different languages. It is compatible with Microsoft Office, email, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and internet browsers.
  • Read&Write: a literacy software that helps students with studying, writing, reading, and research skills. Many of the features including text-to-speech, a dictionary, a translator, speech input, and highlighting, make materials accessible to students. Campus wide license.

Equipment for Loan

The following list of equipment is loaned out to students, and are checked out to students on Accommodate. 

  • Livescribe Smart pens​
  • NeoPen Smart pens
  • Fidget toys
  • Bluetooth microphones for CART 
  • Audio recorders
  • 80-cell braille display

Assistive Technology Software Available on Tisch Library Workstations

  • Read and Write
  • NVDA

Assistive Technology Demos and Training Available by Appointment

Samantha Brumer is the Accessibility Services and Assistive Technology Specialist at Tufts and offers students one-on-one support, collaborating with students to find assistive technology that works for them. You may make an appointment with Samantha by emailing Samantha.Brumer@tufts.edu.