Assistive Technologies

Assistive Technology Equipment and Software

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.

Screen Readers

NVDA is 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. 

VoiceOver is also a screen reader but specific to Apple devices. You can learn how to use this feature on your IPhone and Computer at StAAR. 

Dragon Naturally Speaking

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.


Livescribe Smart pens​: a pen with a built in camera and microphone that captures everything that is written and spoken. This is great for recording lectures and notetaking simultaneously. It can be used with Livescribe dot paper (first one notebook included) which comes in varies sizes. 

NeoPen Smart pens: is a smartpen that digitizes handwriting created on NeoNotes notebooks that syncs to connected mobile devices. You can record audio, transcribe your notes to text, and have your notes beyond paper

Red Cat Sound Amplification

RedCat is an in classroom audio system with a flat-panel speaker design and wireless microphone to deliver higher intelligible speech everywhere in the room.

Built in Technology

Whether you are working on IOS/Android mobile devices and/or MAC, Windows, Chrome computers, the Assistive Technology Specialist can help you discover tools already in your devices. This includes Zoom/Magnifier, Dictation, Speech to Text, and other features. 

Don't see something offered? Contact our office and we can look for the right software and tools for you.

Accessibility Software for All

Tufts University has several campus wide licenses. Anyone with Tufts email address can use these programs.


Anyone with a Tufts email has access to use this service. SensusAccess can change the format of files into accessible PDFs, Word documents or even MP3s. Click here for instructions or watch this video [3:49] on how to use SensusAccess.

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

Read and Write

A literacy toolbar 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. 

Alternate Format Text and Audio Books

  • Students who are approved to use alternate format as an accommodation can place a request by emailing the StAAR Assistive Technology (AT) specialist.
  • Once your request is submitted, the AT specialist will work to obtain the files you need for your course list. Please provide proof of purchase ( a screen shot or scan of the purchase receipt)
  •  While waiting for your electronic files, you should schedule a training meeting with the AT specialist for a text-to-speech software overview.
  • The AT specialist will release the electronic files to you when they are available for use.

Please note: 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.

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