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Assistive Technology Lab

Disability Resources for Students runs an Assistive Technology Lab (ATL) located in the Learning Commons on the first floor of McWherter Library. The ATL is open to any student registered with DRS after they have gone through an orientation and have had a special password set. The ATL contains state-of-the-art assistive hardware and computers with assistive software. The computers also are configured with internet access and software equivalent to other University TigerLAN Labs. The ATL is open the same hours as the Learning Commons and is staffed 20 hours per week by a graduate assistant who can provide students with training and assistance using the computer technology available in the ATL. Appointments can be set with the graduate assistant by calling the DRS office (901.678.2880).

The ATL contains the following assistive items with site licenses for multiple users for all software:

Computer Based Software Programs

Dragon Naturally Speaking-A voice recognition input system for persons with manual (hand/arm) impairments or written expression learning disabilities.

  • Say it and it types it
  • Up to 99% accurate; Gets smarter as you use it
  • Short training time to get started
  • Create documents at up to 160 words per minute, with read back capability
  • Surf the web by voice
  • Dictate into a recorder and play into a computer later

Inspiration-A visual organizing tool creating pictorial and graphic representations of ideas

  • Assists in organizing thoughts for written documents
  • Displays ideas in easily understood format
  • It is particularly helpful for people who have difficulty with traditional linear outlines and with planning and organizing papers.

JAWS-A complete screen reader for persons with substantial visual impairments

  • Reads out loud, text and links on the computer screen
  • Multiple user selected languages
  • Many commands to operate other software, edit documents, and read Web pages
  • Drives refreshable Braille displays

Kurzweil 1000-A computer screen reading system which converts text material displayed on the computer screen to voice output for persons who are blind. Kurzweil 1000 will also convert text files to audio files in WAV or MP3 formats.

Kurzweil 3000-A computer screen reading system which converts text material displayed on the computer screen to voice output for persons with reading disabilities. Text can be displayed in various colors and words being read can be highlighted as they are read aloud. Kurzweil 3000 will also convert text files to audio files in WAV or MP3 formats.

MAGic-A screen magnifier/screen reader software program for visual impairments or reading disabilities

  • Magnifies the entire computer screen up to 36 times, in individual increments
  • Reads the screen text aloud
  • Useful for Web browsing, letter writing, blogging, chatting, and other social activities

PDF Magic-A program for converting normally "inaccessible" PDF files

  • Converts to any one of 11 different accessible formats
  • Works with any of 155 languages.

Scientific Notebook-A text editing program for creating documents that contain text, mathematics, and graphics.

  • All-inclusive Toolbars with symbols and notations
  • create 2-D and 3-D plots
  • Logical Design
  • Natural Math Notation
  • Computer Algebra
  • Solve equations within documents
  • Prepare reports and homework
  • Run external programs, such as a search engine, directly from Scientific Notebook
  • RTF export to share work with others who do not have Scientific Notebook

Scientific Viewer-Companion software program to Scientific Notebook

  • Available for free download
  • A allows others to read files created in Scientific Notebook
  • Use to Print read-only documents created with Scientific Notebook

Test-Talker-Software which displays a scanned talking version of tests, worksheets and other documents

  • Presents the document both auditory and visual formats
  • Allows insertion of answers to test questions. and other data

TextHelp Read/Write Gold-A comprehensive software program for students with composing, spelling, writing and grammar issues

  • Reads on-screen text out loud, highlighting each word as it is read
  • Extensive Dictionary and Thesaurus
  • Word prediction and Spoken Pronunciation
  • Talking Spell Checker and Dictionary with sample sentences
  • Speak to write (Voice Recognition)

Assistive software for student use is available for installation in other University of Memphis computer labs as needed.

*** FLASH ***

We have links to demos of three great software programs

TextHelp Read & Write Gold 10
Reading and Composing Papers

Kurzweil 3000
Reading and Studying

Dragon Naturally Speaking
Entering text by Speaking

Inspiration v9


Select the title to Link to software demonstrations.
(If the links don't work, copy the link for each software into your browser)


Oversize Trackball Mouse with an oversized trackball and oversized mouse buttons is installed on one of the lab computers for use by students with manual (hand operation) impairments. The trackball mouse can be moved to any of the ATL computers.

Large Key Keyboards are available for students with manual (hand operation) impairments and can be installed on any of the ATL computers.

Foreign language keyboards in Spanish and Arabic

Head Mouse is a special adaptive mouse for use by students with no manual (hand operation) ability. It can be installed to input keyboard commands to the computer through an infrared transmitter projecting an infrared beam onto the computer screen.


  • Aladdin Genie Pro closed circuit variable magnifier which is linked to a computer to allow persons with low vision to enlarge external materials (such as books, notes or objects) onto the monitor at their chosen power of magnification and to use the computer simultaneously, switching between each. The Aladdin is especially useful when a user is referring to enlarged notes or text while writing papers on the ATL computer.
  • MyReader stand alone CCTVT will scan and save documents for playback on the screen in varying enlargements. The screen foreground/background colors can be varied and the screen can be displayed in several formats.

Power Braille 80 -- a refreshable Braille display unit which allows blind users to read the computer screen by Braille output and to access formatted text materials such as columnar text, spreadsheets or complex web pages.

Versapoint Duo with Speech -- high quality, high volume interpoint Braille embosser which speaks menus so that persons who are blind can operate it.

Scanner – combination flat bed scanner and automatic document feed scanner available for student use. Materials may be scanned to acquire images and text for use in reports or papers. The scanned material(s) can be saved in text or picture formats. The files can also be loaded into specialized software that can convert the text in the files into actual text documents for editing, copying, cutting, pasting and printing.

The ATL is also equipped with adjustable chairs and with electrically operated wheelchair height-adjustable work stations.

Assistive Technology in other Campus Locations

Dragon NaturallySpeaking
Lambuth Campus


  • University Center (TigerLAN) Lab: 3 computer stations
  • English Learning Center, 225 Patterson: All computer stations
  • Business Learning Center, 256 FC: All computer stations
  • ESP Office, Science Learning Center, 217 Mitchell: All computer stations
  • ESP Academic Enhancement Center, 256 Mitchell: All computer stations


  • University Center (TigerLAN) Lab: 3 computer stations
  • English Learning Center, 225 Patterson: All computer stations
  • Business Learning Center, 256 FC: All computer stations
  • ESP Office, Science Learning Center, 217 Mitchell: All computer stations
  • ESP Academic Enhancement Center, 256 Mitchell: All computer stations
  • Lambuth Campus