The Office of Accessibility Services offers appropriate educational accommodations to qualified students. These accommodations sometimes include certain assistive technology (AT) selections, which the office provides free of cost. 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).
These tools are carefully selected by the department to ensure that the students’ needs are met by the most efficient devices and software. Listed below are some of the assistive technology choices that the OAS recommends and/or provides to students with qualifying accommodations.
Our textbook reader of choice, Kurzweil 3000 (K3000), is an award-winning educational software program that provides literacy support with built-in tools for reading, writing, note-taking, and studying. While its primary function is to read aloud to you, offering the ability to follow along on the screen with highlighted text, it also contains a dictionary, thesaurus, sticky notes, highlighters, voice memos, and more. You have the ability to transfer highlights and/or notes you’ve taken during your reading directly to an outline or mind map when the time comes to write a paper, making the transition from reading to writing seamless and easy. You can also save words into a vocab list for further study, create your own MP3 files from your texts to listen to on the go, and extract your notes to a Word document to study from later. See the Quick Facts guide for more tips on this versatile program.
K3000 Fact Sheet
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
OpenBook and the PEARL Reading Camera (in Room #3 of the testing center)
OpenBook is a software program that pairs with the PEARL Reading Camera to convert printed documents to electronic text that can be read aloud on a computer. There are many voices to choose from, and you have the ability to adjust the appearance of the text on your screen: choose between camera mode, which presents a picture image of your document, and text mode, which allows you to change the font style, size, colors, and spacing. Note that you can see both modes at the same time with the Split View option. OpenBook highlights the words as they are read, making it easier to follow along and read with the narration, if you wish to do so. You can use the highlighter tool to mark sections in your document that you can then export to a different application and/or save for later reference. OpenBook offers support for Daisy and other audio files and also features built-in Braille support. You will find step-by-step user instructions posted in Room #3 beside the computer on which OpenBook is installed. Please notify Brittany Robinson or Dr. Chris Georgallis (see Contact page) ahead of time if you would like to make use of this tool.
The 1st floor of Kirk Hall also houses the Learning Resource Center, which provides tutoring services to on-grounds students at the University Campus. To schedule an appointment, please visit tutoring.saintleo.edu. Your login credentials will be as follows:
Online and center students can access the tutoring service Smarthinking by logging into D2L, navigating to a specific class, and selecting Content < Services.
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, 8:00a.m.-5:00p.m., and counseling is provided by appointment. You can find the Counseling Services website and contact information on Saint Leo’s main web page, saintleo.edu.
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