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We have had the Kurzweil 3000 and Dragon Naturally Speaking for several
years and I have seen students make dramatic changes in their work using
these systems (we are over 50% adult learners, many of whom have not
been diagnosed as LD and do not have the money to get a diagnosis, but
have benefited greatly from access to this technology because it is the
first time they have had a chance to reach their full academic
potential).

Like you, we did not have the money for either, at first. We wrote a
grant and got the money from a local charitable trust fund. Our upgrades
are funded through University monies as a part of their ADA compliance
efforts. We also use Zoomtext and JAWS. I have purchased these piece by
piece as budgets allowed.

You could also go to your Disabilities officer and suggest that your
Center would be the ideal place to position their equipment and set up a
hierarchy of usage similar to ours: students with a purple card have
first chance at using the machines-they have provided documentation and
the use of the adaptive software is part of their official
accommodations, students with a pink card have second chance--they are
the undocumented needs students who work with me (I'm a reading
specialist), if no special needs students are using the machines, they
are open to anyone else to use. This system has worked well especially
because the students with the disabilities are in with their peers and
not isolated in a "disabilities" office. This inclusion helps them
socially and academically because they can do group work and develop
close relationships with their classmates and the peer tutors in the
centers. Confidentiality is not a problem because only the center staff
and the student know what the cards mean. We have found that the card
system helps empower the special needs students because they learn to
advocate for their access to the only 2 machines out of 50 that have the
adaptive software installed.

Most other students watching me demonstrate or students using this
special software want to try it just to see if it helps them. I like it
so much, I wish I could justify purchasing more systems. GOOD LUCK!


"To be loved, love."
Decimus Magnus Ausonius

Darlene J. Hartman
Coordinator of Learning Support Services
322 Montgomery Hall
814/393-1343


-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Deb Pratt
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 7:12 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: text-to-voice software

Greetings,
I've noticed some list participants mentioning using a variety of
text-to-voice software programs to meet the needs of students with
reading disabilities.  We need to purchase a program for this purpose,
but I am not certain we can go with Kurzweil 3000 or the Dragon Pro
setup yet.  Does anyone have any experience with Dragon Preferred, for
example, or another (perhaps lesser known) program that has served well
for this purpose?  I like the multisensory aspect of Kurzweil 3000, but
I am not sure we can do the fee for that this budget year; however, I
don't want to be shortsighted either.  I'd appreciate your feedback--

Deborah Pratt
Director, Student Success Center
Ancilla College
Donaldson, IN 46513

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