The Office of Accessibility Services offers appropriate educational accommodations to qualified students. These accommodations sometimes include certain assistive technology (AT) selections. Assistive technology is defined by the ADA as:
“…any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities” (United States, Congress. Assistive Technology Act of 2004. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2004. 108th Congress, Public Law 364).
While some of these products are highly specialized and will only be provided to you upon review of supporting medical documentation, others are completely free of charge and available to everyone. Listed below are some examples of free (or inexpensive) assistive technology tools that you can use on your own, regardless of accommodation.
Google Docs Voice Typing
Google Docs Voice Speak is a free speech-to-text program available to anyone with a Google account (so if you have a g-mail account, you can access it right away. Login to your e-mail, and select the Google apps button on the top right-hand side of the screen (just to the right of your username). Select Docs (first column, third item). A page will open showing you a number of templates, one of the first of which should say Blank (with a blue cross). Select this. A page will open that looks like a Microsoft Word document. Select “Tools,” and select “Voice Typing.” Note that if you do not have a built-in microphone, you will need to have one plugged in. Proceed to speak your document to your computer with this very accurate, intuitive tool.
Android and iOS Apps
There are many wonderful apps available on smartphones that help boost efficiency in everyday life and that also pertain to academics. Whether you’re looking to improve your study skills, build your vocabulary, or better manage your time, you just might find something that fits your needs in this brochure, which contains apps (many of them free!) that our staff members have personally reviewed.
Apps to Enhance Your Academics
The 1st floor of Kirk Hall also houses the Center for Academic Vision and Excellence (the CAVE), which provides tutoring services to on-ground students at the University Campus. No appointment is required to see a tutor; you can simply walk-in at your convenience. Visit their website for more information and to view their tutor schedule.
Online and center students can access a remote tutoring service by logging into their portal, navigating to LionsSHARE, and selecting Online Tutoring under the Learning Tools menu. This service allows you to work one-on-one with a tutor or career coach, or you can ask a single question or submit a document for review.
Saint Leo University’s counseling services are available to university students and personnel. The Counseling Center promotes education, prevention, and intervention and supports individuals in academic, social, and personal growth in a holistic way. The center’s hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and counseling is provided by appointment. You can find more information on the Counseling Services' website here.
Other ADA Related Resources Available to the Public
- Access to Independence: Resources, services, and advocacy for people with disabilities
- Askjan.org: Expert, confidential guidance on accommodations in the workplace
- Askjan.org/soar/: Searchable Online Accommodation Resource; System that allows users to explore accommodation options, featuring descriptions of disabilities including disease descriptions, symptoms, and limitations along with accommodation ideas and vendor lists
- AbleData.com: Database for assistive technology featuring detailed write-ups, including prices, dimensions, and ratings
- Applevis: A detailed guide for low-vision users of Apple devices, including Mac computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods, and the Apple Watch; assists users in getting started with their devices and making setting changes to increase accessibility
- Disability Achievement Center of Pasco and Pinellas: Disability resource center serving people of all ages with disabilities in Pasco and Pinellas counties, Florida; makes individuals aware of services available to them in the area that will promote their independence
- iCanConnect: National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program; if you qualify (must be diagnosed by a medical professional or other expert and submit recent tax returns unless enrolled in a federal low-income program already), a program specialist will help you identify equipment that will meet your needs, including software, hardware, and apps, and a program specialist will help train you to use the equipment
- NARIC: National Rehabilitation Information Center; a database of published ADA-related research, including articles on technology, health, and independent living
- OT’s with Apps & Technology: Reviews of apps and technologies for occupational therapists
- Pepnet 2 Online Notetaker Training: Self-guided training that teaches student notetakers how to provide accurate, comprehensive notes for other students who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Touch the Future, Inc.: A nonprofit providing AT services and devices as well as consulting and training services to qualifying individuals