News Bureau • Schofield Hall 201 • Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
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UW-Eau Claire Opens New
Adaptive Technology Center
MAILED: Nov. 14, 2001
EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's McIntyre Library has created an Adaptive Technology Center to further improve accessibility for students and staff with visual impairments or other disabilities.
Located in the reference area on the main floor, the new center features three new pieces of equipment that will enable library users with disabilities to have better access to reading.
"We see this as a first step to improve the adaptive technology environment for students with disabilities," said Bob Rose, library director.
The Very Easy Reading Appliance scans texts and reads it back to the user. Featuring state-of-the-art software, VERA has an adjustable reading speed and the capability to record the voiced text to the user's own tape recorder. Users can check out earphones for use with VERA at the library's circulation desk.
Another new piece of equipment is a computer workstation designed for users with mobility or visual impairments. The computer is on a motorized, fully adjustable workstation similar to those already available in the Reference and Center for Reserve and Instructional Media areas.
Users at this workstation, as well as stations in the general access labs on campus, will now have access to JAWS screen reader software, as well as standard software. JAWS software enables students to have their e-mail or other documents read back to them.
The third new piece of equipment in the center is the Aladdin Pro Reader, a closed circuit television for readers with visual impairments. It enlarges text, images, and objects. Users can choose different magnification sizes for the text and can change the background colors to white with black text or vice versa.
According to Rose, those who have good vision but have learning disabilities can also benefit from the equipment. The ability to highlight portions of the screen, for example, allows users to focus on one line or area of text at a time.
"We want to serve these needs, even if it's a small number of people who have them," Rose said.
"This is great," said sophomore Gary Traynor, referring to the Aladdin Pro Reader. "It's a very nice piece of equipment."
Traynor retired from the Air Force after he was diagnosed with a vision disease. He is now considered legally blind. Traynor said this equipment also is useful for students who are not legally blind but still need help to read.
"I know there are other people with vision problems that don't know about it," Traynor said. "I encourage them to take advantage of this equipment. It's a viable resource to help them get through college."
Traynor is so enthusiastic about the new technology he has volunteered to provide others with more information on the various kinds of equipment or to talk about vision disabilities. Traynor can be contacted at (715) 832-9448.
"Sight loss changes one's life dramatically," Traynor said. "But, if there's a will in life, there's a way. You just have to redirect your path."
Along with the new equipment, students also have access to voice recognition software in L5019C, a room that provides privacy. Updated last year, Dragon Naturally Speaking software enables users to "train" the computer to recognize their voices and dictate the text they want to write.
For more general information about services available to students with disabilities, contact the office of Services for Students with Disabilities at (715) 836-4542.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Nov. 14, 2001