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Your UCP: National September 08, 2003
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Assistive Technology

Screen Readers 101

In today's world, there is no way of escaping technology—it's everywhere! And for people with disabilities, technology is making it possible to accomplish anything they desire. One of these technologies is a screen reader. A Screen Reader is the commonly used name for Voice Output Technology. Hardware and software produce synthesized voice output for text displayed on the computer screen, as well as for keystrokes entered on the keyboard. A Screen Reader enables users to hear, rather than read, words on a computer screen. For individuals with vision impairment, this software innovation opens up new worlds of opportunities. Screen Readers can also benefit many others as well, including people who have a reading dysfunction or who simply do not like to read text on a computer screen and prefer listening to reading.

Some screen readers now work off of the computer's sound card, so additional hardware is not necessary. Both Window Eyes and Jaws, for instance, now provide this option as your default setting. It greatly cuts down on the cost of adapting a computer so an individual with vision impairment can use it.

The list below contains names of manufactures of Screen Readers and contact information.

  1. JAWS for Windows
  2. Window-Eyes
    • From GW Micro, Inc., Fort Wayne, IN
      Phone: 219 489-3671, Fax: 219 489-2608
  3. Information on Screen Readers and Software for DOS and Linux
    by Dr.Charles Hallenbeck
  4. ASAP for Windows
    From MicroTalk, Texarkana, Texas
    Phone: 903 832-3471; Fax: 903 832-3517
  5. Simply Talker 98 and Simply Web 98
    From EconoNet International Speech Series
  6. HAL
    From Dolphin Systems
  7. OutSpoken for Macintosh
    From ALVA Access Group Inc.
  8. OutSpoken for Windows, brailleOUT for Windows
    From ALVA Access Group Inc.
  9. VIRGO and VIRGO2 for Windows
    • From BAUM Products, Wiesenbach, Germany
      Phone: +49 62223 49090; Fax: +49 6223 490999
  10. WINKLiNE for Windows
  11. WinVision
    • Screen Reader for Windows & DOS
      From Artic Technologies, Troy, MI
      Phone: 810 588-7370; Fax: 810-588-2650

Further information on screen readers and other computer resources:

NOTE: This list of products is for reference purposes only and does not reflect endorsement by UCP.

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