Disability Services

Assistive Technology Services for Students with Disabilities

AssiAssistive technology (AT) makes it possible for individuals with a wide range of disabilities to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. It can range in nature from hardware devices such as wheelchairs to computer software and hardware.

Disability Services supports and maintains accessible computer workstations with state-of-the art Assistive Technology in the Adaptive Technology Lab (ATLab) in the College Welcome Center, room 1264, and in individual study rooms CWC 1262, 1255 and 1257 on an as-needed basis for students registered with Disability Services.

All of the computers in the ATLab and study rooms contain current versions of both mainstream and assistive technology programs and hardware. All of the workstations are height adjustable for students in wheelchairs or for those with other mobility impairments.

One-One-on-one, personalized training on general technology software and on assistive technology hardware/software is provided by our in-house, Adaptive Technology Specialist. The type and amount of training provided is determined on a case-by-case basis. (For some equipment, training is required prior to use or equipment loan.) For more information on adaptive technology training, please contact Heather Gates, Adaptive Technology Specialist, either by phone at 402-844-7714 or by email at heatherg@northeast.edu.

The Adaptive Technology Lab (ATLab)

Accommodations provided in the ATLab include:

  • The production of course-related materials in alternative formats (audio, large print).
  • Access to textbooks in alternative format and training to access books in alternative format.
  • Training in the use of adaptive technology software to facilitate use of accommodations.
  • Training in the use of assistive tools such as smart pens, digital voice recorders, calculators, apps, tablets, and features on the student’s own mobile device.
  • Access to additional Assistive Technology software and hardware for student study use.
  • Testing with accommodations-low distracting environment or extended time.
  • Testing with accommodations requiring the use of adaptive technology software or hardware.

Lab Hours and Procedures

ATLab hours are Monday-Thursday 7:00 am-6:00 pm, and Fridays 7:00 am-5:00 pm. To access assistive software in the ATLab, students must be trained by the ATLab staff. For more information on the ATLab hours and training, please call 402-844-7714 or 402-844-7709.

Assistive Technology Software, Accessibility Apps and Hardware Devices

Disability Services and the ATLab utilize several different types of software and hardware technology to meet student needs. Listed below are some of the technology that is available to students with disabilities for use or training in the ATLab.


  • Kurzweil 3000 & Firefly is a comprehensive reading, writing, and studying program for students with learning disorders and for English-language learners. Kurzweil 3000 will read text aloud while highlighting each spoken word. It offers students tools to increase reading speed and comprehension, as well as features to improve writing skills, such as spell checking, word prediction, help with homophones, and a dictionary, to name a few.
    Now available is a mobile version through Firefly.
  • Read & Write for Google  is a reading, writing, and studying program for students with learning disorders and for English-language learners. The program will read text aloud while highlighting each spoken word; it includes a dictionary, audible spell checking, and word prediction as well. Read & Write Google also offers seamless integration with mainstream programs such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader. There is an option to purchase Read & Write Gold which has additional features, however the college does not subscribe to this service currently.
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional is a speech-recognition program, which is useful for students with motor disorders and/or learning disorders—or for anyone who prefers talking to typing. Dragon converts speech to text in many mainstream programs (e.g., Microsoft Office suite, Web browsers) and allows students fulfill assignments; send e-mail; use the Web; and command and control their computers—all by voice.
  • Natural Reader is a Text to Speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, Webpage, PDF files, and Emails into spoken words. Natural Reader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV for your CD player or iPod.
  • JAWS (Job Access with Speech) is a dedicated screen-reading program for students who are blind or who have severe visual impairments. JAWS tracks a user’s position as they work within different applications, and reads literally what is taking place on screen. It helps provide students with auditory access to many mainstream programs (e.g., Microsoft Office suite, Web browsers).

IPad and Tablet Apps

Text to Speech

  • Adobe Reader
  • NaturalReader
  • Voice Dream Reader
  • iBooks

Speech to Text

  • Dragon Dictation
  • Voice Dictation

Note Taking

  • Voice Pad
  • Evernote

Math and Calculator

  • MyScript Calculator
  • Units Plus
  • Talking Calculator

Organization and Planning

  • myHomework Student Planner
  • Complete Class Organizer

Google Chrome Extension and Apps

Google Chrome is a web browser that allows students to sign in and sync not only their files stored on their Google Drive, but also installed apps and extensions that provide assistance to students with disabilities. Following are some helpful extensions that can be installed through the Chrome Web Store:

  • Mercury Reader
  • Read&Write for Google
  • Grammarly


  • Livescribe Smartpens are note taking devices which are part recorder and part pen. The pen allows you to take notes in a highly efficient way. You can synchronize what you write with your audio recording for quick review of your lecture and transfer your notes to your computer. Training is provided, and assistance with set up is available. None are available for loan.
  • iPads can be used to provide accommodations for a variety of disabilities, by providing access to text books in alternative formats and providing the means to take notes, along with being a great organizational and management tool. Training is provided.
  • Large-print keyboard for students who are visually impaired is available in the ATLab
  • Digital voice recorders are available for short term loan to students who are eligible for note taking accommodations. Limited availability.
  • The Victor Reader Vibe and Victor Reader Wave are audio playback devices available for loan to students who need access to electronic books in proprietary, DAISY format
  • Large print copies of difficult-to-see/read tables, detailed images, and graphs from students’ textbooks can be processed upon request. (Advanced notice required.)
  • Personal FM transmitter systems to amplify classroom lectures for are available for students to borrow who are hard of hearing

Examples of Technology Available that Accommodate a Type of Disability

  • Attention Deficit: Natural Reader or Kurzweil assist with textbook reading. It allows the user to see and hear the words simultaneously
  • Blind: JAWS reads text providing access to the internet and many other computer applications like Word and Excel
  • Learning Disability: The Kurzweil program is designed to assist students with learning disabilities in reading and writing. It uses color, voice, and formatting techniques to improve reading comprehension and has a built-in dictionary and word prediction features to assist with writing. Dragon Naturally Speaking converts speech to text allowing students to complete written assignments who struggle with putting their thoughts in writing or have fine motor skill impairment.
  • Anxiety and other conditions: Utilizing the software Kurzweil during testing can help students better manage their test anxiety and concentration to perform better on exams and quizzes
  • Low Vision: ZoomText and Kurzweil provide for computer screen magnification needs. If enlarging the computer screen is not effective, screen reader JAWS is available.
  • Hearing Impairment: FM Transmitter systems amplify sound, making note taking and processing of lecture material more effective.
  • Don’t see your disability listed? Disability Services and the ATLab will work to accommodate any disability or condition to improve the students learning experience.

Equipment Loan Program

Students receiving accommodations through Disability Services are permitted to borrow equipment such as recorders or FM transmitters, for the duration of a semester.

Disability Services is constantly in the process of researching and looking for resources to procure new equipment and technologies to support students with disabilities. Currently, DS does not have Smart Pens available for loan. DS staff can assist students in locating possible resources. Please contact us for a list of available items or resources, or to submit ideas for available items, please call the office at 402-844-7343 or 402-844-7709.

Helpful Resources

The following links to websites provide more information on the assistive technologies available to support students with disabilities:

Need help or additional information?

If you need assistance or more information, please contact:

Director of Disability Services

Phone: (402) 844-7343
Toll-Free: (800) 348-9033, Ext. 7343
Fax: (402) 844-7412
Office: CWC 1263