Adaptive technology software is useful for helping the disabled better and more efficiently use the computer when browsing the internet or working. There are many free adaptive technology software solutions for computers as well as extensions for browsers such as Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer. See which free accessible program suits your lifestyle.
A free program that was designed to help people with disabilities use the computer. Camera Mouse is a program that allows you to control the pointer on a windows computer just by moving your head. Camera mouse is best used with applications that do not need extreme accuracy.
Free online program that teaches braille to those who can see. Good program for parents, teachers and children. One of the difficulties of visually those with visual impairments is that the people around them do not know braille. English version is currently down, but you can use your browsers built in translation until they fix it.
Can take any text from programs like MS Word, PDF files, and emails and turn it into audio files that sound natural rather than robotic. It can then convert the files to WAV format or Mp3 format to be burned on a CD or iPod.
The Dasher program is text entry software that allows people to enter text when use of a full size keyboard is not possible. The user uses a pointing device to point where they want to go and then the software automatically zooms in. You choose what letters to write by where you are zooming in. This is great for people with special needs.
On screen or virtual keyboard that is designed for those who have difficulty typing on a regular keyboard. This software allows the user to send keystrokes to virtually any Windows application that they can run within a window. Users can also download a speech application add-on that will make Click-N-Type read the keystrokes aloud.
Software that allows users with limited mobility to perform left-click, right click and double clicks, and even drag things around the screen simply by dwelling their mouse in an area of the screen for a predetermined period of time. Ideal for those who can operate the mouse pointer, but not the buttons.
Program reads sites aloud, highlighting the word and sentence as it reads. It will keep reading until you tell it to stop. It can change the voice it uses, as well as the speed, and how words are pronounced.
Free Adaptive Technology Software Extensions for Firefox and Opera Web Browser:
There are many free extensions for the Firefox web browser to add accessibility features to web browsing. Some of these include:
No Squint add-on:
This extension allows users to manipulate text size
Allows the user to attach a sound to specific events
Adds the ability to assign mouse gestures to actions.
The Firefox Accessibility extension from the University of Illinois
Adds 55 different accessibility features into one extension with a drop down menu:
There are also collections of extensions that specific users have put together that group extensions into related folders. These are very helpful if you are looking for different Firefox add-ons for someone with a specific issue, like low vision. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/collections/editors_picks
For more information and resources on Firefox accessibility, there is the Firefox Accessibility Project at http://www.accessfirefox.org/
There are also add-ons available for other browsers like Internet Explorer and Safari. Many users also consider the browser Opera to be the most advanced as far as accessibility, with many of the features other browsers accomplish via add-ons or extensions being built in.
Free accessibility software is fantastic for people who are just starting out with these types of programs and for users who are experienced with accessibility and using a computer. While some more expensive software could have more features and be more specialized, many free adaptive technology programs allow the user to figure out what he or she needs before spending (or wasting!) a lot of money. Many users also find that some free programs, developed by someone with a passion for the particular software or issue, tend to be better than programs that cost hundreds of dollars!