Cal Poly students, faculty share importance of assistive technology: 'Challenges should be voluntary.'

News Cal Poly students, faculty share importance of assistive technology: ‘Challenges should be voluntary.’
Alexis Bowlby

19 hours ago

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Shae Ashamalla | Mustang News

Communication studies senior M.W. Kaplan leaned against the wall as they sat on their bed for a study session, laptop perched on their lap. A robotic feminine voice emanated from their computer to read aloud an assigned reading. The screen was dimmed and each word was highlighted as it was read. In another tab they highlighted information in various colors: yellow for general information, green for important things, pink for vocabulary, and blue to mark information or phrases they personally enjoyed.

This text-to-speech software, combined with annotation software that allows them to color-coordinate their notes, both help Kaplan with symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Kaplan explained that one of their symptoms is difficulty with their inner monologue.

“A lot of people can read easily because they’re reading it aloud in their head, but I can’t do that as easily,” Kaplan said. “So, outsourcing that to the computer makes it a lot easier to read.”

Both of these softwares fall under the realm of assistive technology, which John Lee, who works for Cal Poly’s Disability Resource [...]

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