$200 or Less List: Free and Inexpensive Adaptive Software

Adaptech.org is seeking information about free software that would benefit students with disabilities. Let's help them to build a library of software by adding them to this Wiki.

These resources thanks to Chris Harvey from the TALO community

These resources thanks to Andrew Downie, advisor to the Centre for Learning
Innovation in NSW Australia,
via Leigh Blackall at Teach and Learn Online
  • Thunder screen reader from http://www.screenreader.net/.  It's only free for personal use.
  • Autohotkey from www.autohotkey.com and it's free. It is a scripting language for Windows and has huge potential to provide facilities for people with a very broad range of disabilities.Of course, someone has to have the skills and desire to write suitable scripts. The following are just some examples of how I've used it. I use it to break up text files prior to putting them through NotFound">Text Aloud (www.nextup.com) to produce high-quality synthetic speech MP3 files.  Another application is a script so I can read the level meeters in Adobe Audition (a screen reader can't read the coloured line but the script can).  I also use it to speed up track selection in the multitrack mode.  It's abbreviation expansion has lots of potential for people who have trouble entering text.I use two different screen readers for testing purposes.  I have a script which turns off the one which is running and starts the other one.  I wrote a script for a student who has problems pressing multiple key combinations so the function keys could highlight text in Word.
  • NotFound">Text Aloud isn't free, but it's not very expensive and is great for people wanting to augment visual display with synthetic speech and/or to produce audio files.

  • Audacity would meet needs of people with some types of disability - very poor screen reader access.

  • Don't forget the features built into both Windows and Mac OS for people with various disabilities.

  • NotFound">Word Web (www.wordweb.co.uk) is either free or very inexpensive, depending how mean you are.  It's a great resource for anyone who has trouble  accessing a paper dictionary and even for those who can.  NotFound">Word Web Pro includes wildcard searching, which I find very helpful.  It also has some other niceties not included in the free version.

  • (This from Barb via Andrew and Leigh) I was at an Open Source meeting last week, and a piece of software called Dasher was quickly demonstrated. It was mentioned that it was useful for people who have difficulties using a keyboard for entering text.You probably have heard of it, but if not, the website address is http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/dasher/

This list thanks to Marlene S.

The following is a list of software that is free which is helpful for a
person with disabilities.
  • i Zoom  A free professional grade screen magnifier and reader from Issist. http://www.issist.com/ Click and type An on-screen virtual keyboard designed for people unable to type using a standard computer keyboard. Requires mouse control, trackball or other pointing device. The software can send keystrokes to virtually any Windows application or DOS application that can run within a window.   http://www.lakefolks.org/cnt/
  • Braillesurf is an Internet browser for users with vision impairment, which allows a simplified reading of the information available on the Web. Braille Surf shows this information in a text form. This information can then be displayed on a braille bar, or it can be spoken out by a speech synthesiser. The text can also be presented on the screen for people with low vision, and used to provide a fast review of the accessibility level of a website for visually impaired people. Note new users need to click on the complete download link http://www.snv.jussieu.fr/inova/bs4/uk/telechargement.htm
  • Aloud 4 ie is software which reads web pages in ones explorer browser. http://www.madoogali.com/[[Aloud4ie]]/  A helpful aid for teachers and students alike when a person uses sign language and they want to communicate without an interpretor is this sign language program which is wonderful. Learn to speak in sign language, just type in the key you want and a picture view of that letter will be shown. http://www.downloadsmachine.co.uk/

A note from Marlene: "As a student with disabilities I have used many programs but these the ones that I found user friendly and helpful in the online learning environment. Many students do not know all the free resources that are available to them and money for a person with disabilities is often tight.  Thank You for sharing this."

Also useful from the same people who made thunder is WebbIE - converts web pages to text, which makes them easier to use with a screen reader.  I had students with learning difficulties as well as VI use it very successfully.   Link http://www.webbie.org.uk/

You can go to the Emp Tech database  and choose a product category - when you have reached a collection of software, you will notice in the left hand menu there is a selection for 'Products by Freeware' and 'Products by Shareware'.  The freeware collection include many of the items mentioned above such as Thunder, WebbIE etc but also free web customisation tools and text to speech software.