Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology includes equipment or software designed to address barriers encountered by a person with a disability. It can range from low-tech solutions like magnifying glasses to more complicated, high-tech solutions like software. Disability Support Services ( DSS) offers a range of AT for students to use in their academic careers at GW. Assistive Technology is discussed during the interactive process between students and their Disability representative. Some assistive technology requires an approval process, while others will be available to all GW students. DSS is continuously engaging resources that align with universal design frameworks.

Accessible PDF: Portable Document Formats (PDFs) are static images.  An accessible PDF allows for text recognition, tags to indicate heading structures, and adds alternative text to images when possible, all of which allows the document to be utilized with text to speech software.

Bookshare: Provides quick and easy access to the largest library of textbooks for people who face reading barriers.  Once approved by DSS, you may log in and customize your reading experience.

Braille: For students who are Blind/Low Vision, you may be approved for Braille upon request.  Please note that Braille requests need significant lead time (in some cases a few months) for completion, and you are encouraged to provide your schedule and list of books to [email protected] as soon as possible.

Kurzweil: A downloadable license (PC or Mac)and a web-based platform are provided for approved students by DSS for the duration of their tenure at GWU. 

PC & Mac Built-in Text-to-Speech software: DSS is able to show you how to use your current computer’s built-in text-to-speech software to read converted materials.

JAWS – a screen reader for persons with visual impairments or reading disabilities. Text and links on the computer’s screen are read aloud.

Zoomtext – a screen enlargement software program enlarges the entire computer screen by varying amounts and will also read the screen text aloud. Zoomtext Magic is useful for persons with visual disabilities or reading disabilities.

Assistive Technology Labs

DSS has dedicated assistive technology labs in the Gelman Library (rooms 308 and 309) for students with disabilities.  These labs are available at any time during Gelman’s operating hours

To use the labs, you must receive approval from Dr. Maggie Butler, DSS Director. Customarily, approval occurs at the time of your DSS registration. However, you may contact Dr. Butler at any time during your career at GW to request access to Gelman 308 and 309. 

Learn more about the technology offered in each of the  Gelman Library lab spaces.