Get Equipped

We know it can be hard to manage in a society not designed with you in mind. But guess what, now there are tools that can give us the upper hand.

We put together a list of our favorites. Be sure to look for free versions, trials and student or teacher discounts on all products.

Text-to-Speech Software

Orally “reads any text in electronic format.

  • ReadPlease; free version online—try it and see how it works for you and then consider buying a higher end version:

Automatic Speech Recognition

Turns your speech into text. You speak; it writes.

Comprehensive Software

Here are several products that combine the best of all worlds, text-to-speech and automatic speech recognition software.

Optical Character Recognition

Scans typed text (with stand-alone units, computer software, and as portable, pocket-sized devices) and turns it into an electronic text file that will “read” to you.

Built-in Software

Your computer may already have text-to-speech and other helpful capabilities built-in.

Mac OS X offers many solutions for assisting in the reading process, built into the operating system. One of our favorites is the Text-to-Speech built-in command. In most application programs, your computer can “read” text contained in documents out loud with your choice voice and speed.

  1. Go to “System Preference”
  2. Click on “Speech” (the microphone icon)
  3. Choose “Text to Speech”
  4. Choose a “System Voice” (such as “Bruce”)
  5. Choose a “Speaking Rate”.
  6. Select “Speak selected text when the key is pressed”
  7. Go to “Set Key”
  8. Enter a “key” (such as “Control+P”)
  9. Try it out by highlighting a section of text (such as an e-mail, an online article, etc.)
  10. Enter your “key” such as (“Control+P”) and your computer will “read” the highlighted text.