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Assistive Technology

"Assistive technology" (AT) is a general term for the various tools that help people use electronic devices with greater ease. 

There are AT tools that 

  • read text aloud from a screen
  • turn spoken words into written text
  • use flashing lights instead of sounds for alerts
  • allow the user to type with an onscreen keyboard. 

AT helps people with physical challenges to have equal access to computers, mobile devices and other technology, and it also provides a way for everyone to use technology in ways that match their own particular learning styles.

All of the computers for student, staff and faculty use at Erikson have a variety of AT features, which are detailed below.

AT for Windows

Most of the computers at Erikson are PCs with Windows operating systems.  In addition to the workstations in the Library and the Computer Lab, the Library has PC laptops which may be checked out.  Windows AT features are called Ease of Access tools.  They include:

  • Magnifier - makes a portion of your screen bigger, so it's easier to see
  • Narrator - reads the text on your screen aloud
  • On Screen Keyboard - lets you use a mouse/pointing device to interact with a keyboard on the screen
  • Visual Cues - visual alerts can replace system sounds can be replaced with and text captions can accompany spoken dialogue in multimedia files
  • Speech Recognition - use your voice to control the computer and to compose text
  • Adjust Mouse and Keyboard Controls - change the size and color of the mouse, or use the keyboard to control the mouse; adjust the response of the keyboard to your touch

AT for Mac

The Library has two MacBook Pro laptops which may be checked out.  The AT features that are standard for Mac/iOs include:

  • VoiceOver - a screen reader which reads text and narrates everything on your screen
  • Zoom - allows you to magnify your screen up to 20 times, full screen or picture-in-picture
  • Dictation - lets you talk where you would type, narrating text in over 40 languages and including over 50 editing and formatting commands
  • Screen Flash - replaces system audio with visual cues
  • Mono Audio - plays two audio channels in one ear, to allow individuals with hearing loss in one ear to hear stereo recordings
  • Switch Control - control on screen keyboards, menus and the dock with a variety of adaptive devices (e.g., switch, joystick, spacebar, single tap on trackpad, etc.)
  • Cursor, Mouse and Keyboard Control - e.g., use an on screen keyboard, control your mouse with the number pad, magnify the cursor on the screen, make the keyboard more sensitive to your touch, etc.

Tablets and iPads

The Library has a Surface Pro (Windows) and an iPad (Mac/iOs) available for check out. The AT features on these devices include the following:

  • Surface Pro - includes all of the Ease of Access features that our Windows PCs have, along with the following features/options:
    • touch screen capability
    • visual feedback when touching the screen
    • the option to play animations as apps open
    • the ability to extend the length of time that notifications are visible
    • and more!
  • iPad - the iPad includes many of the same AT features that the MacBooks have, along with tools such as:
    • Speak Screen - for reading emails, messages, web pages, e-books and more
    • visible and vibrating alerts
    • color/grayscale filters to make it easier to see the screen
    • Assistive Touch - to adapt the touch screen to your unique physical needs
    • and more!

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Upon request, Erikson students, staff and faculty may also have access to Dragon Naturally Speaking, a powerful speech recognition software that allows users to dictate information directly into a document.  Using this software requires a period of training so that the program can learn to recognize your particular voice characteristics.

If you are a student, staff, or faculty member who because of special circumstances might benefit from this kind of software, please contact Stripe Gandara at 312-893-7184 or

If you are a student who has a special circumstance that may impede your ability to successfully complete Erikson's written Comprehensive Exams, please contact Stripe Gandara at 312-893-7184 or, for more information about the possibility of using Dragon Naturally Speaking to complete this degree requirement.