Accessible Books For Staff And Learners

Accessible PDF booksThe library has been busy setting up a fantastic new service: contacting publishers in order to get access to accessible PDFs of books for blind and partially sighted staff and students. As long as at least one copy of the same book has been purchased for the library, publishers will happily supply accessible copies to us.

Signed license agreements are also arranged by the library: once this is done, staff/students are supplied with their own copy for as long as they need it for study purposes, or an agreed set time limit (usually at least a year).

This service can be extended to whoever needs it: if you’re interested, or would like more information on the scheme, please contact Helen Ambrose in the Library.

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Turning text to audio

Continuing with the series of posts on accessibility solutions in the library, lets look at Dspeech.

Dspeech translates anything written into audio. It works with anything, be it an email or an essay.

How to use Dspeech

Go to Start.

Then click on All Programs.

Then click on Access Apps.

Once that’s open, click on Reading and Writing Support. Double click on that and this screen will appear.

Dspeech picThere should be an image of a person in the box on the right hand side. If not, just click on show character and one will appear.

Type your text (long or short) into the main box.

Then click on Speak. You also have the option of pausing or playing back your text from a particular point. The buttons for these are clearly marked below the main box. You can also record your own dialogue from a microphone and then hear the playback.

Please note that you will need headphones when using this in the library, so as not to disturb other users.

Also Dspeech is set for the English language. If you set to another language you may lose accuracy in the translation.

If you need any help, please ask a member of staff.

If you struggle to read black text on white computer screen

Continuing with the series of posts on accessibility solutions in the library, let’s have a look at RapidSet.

RapidSet is really easy to use; it helps those who find the usual white background and black font difficult to read.

To open this, click on Start.

  • Then go to All Programs
  • Go to Access Apps – an ‘AA’ icon will appear in the right hand side  of the start bar. Click this to open the programe.
  • Click on Reading and Writing Support.
  • Select RapidSet change font/background. Once this is done you will see this screen:

RapidSet

  • You can change the background or font colour by selecting the ‘Select Background Colour’ or ‘Select Font Colour’ buttons and then clicking on ‘Apply’.
  • To change the colours back to Windows default settings, simply repeat the process and select the original background and font colours.

If you need any help with this, please ask a member of staff.

Irlen support app on library computers

Library computers photoOver the next few weeks, we will be writing a series of blog posts looking at what software is on library PCs to help students with special needs. All the library computers have Access Apps, a programme containing different accessibility tools.

We start with what’s available for those with Irlen Syndrome.

Irlen’s is a condition where people’s brains can’t process light, this means that they may see visual distortions in the environment and on the page.

To make computer use easier, coloured overlays on screen may be applied. To get this follow these steps:

Click on Start

  • Go to All Programs
  • Go to Access Apps – an ‘AA’ icon will appear in the right hand side  of the start bar. Click this to open the programe. Then click on Reading and Writing Support.
  • Then select overlay – when this is done an orange arrow will appear in the right hand side of the start bar. Right-click Settings to select screen colour and  transparency. Please note you must alter both settings for the change to take effect on screen.
  • The colour change can be turned off by right clicking the orange arrow and selecting exit.

If you need any help please ask a member of staff.

Keep checking the blog, we’ll be looking at some more apps soon!