Assistive Technologies at York

We offer assistive technology in our labs to help you depending on what academic tasks give you the most difficulty.

The best way to choose assistive technology is to carefully review your academic strengths and weaknesses and research the software programs below to learn more about their capabilities.

You can also speak with someone who is familiar not only with the programs but also with the your type of disability. We have Assistive Technology Specialists in our AT Labs available to help you choose what's right for you!

Often aspects of a disability - for example memory issues - can greatly affect how certain hardware or software work for you. Prior to committing, see if you can practice on the hardware or software to see if it really will be helpful for you and your specific needs.

Technology available in our labs:

Inspiration - Brainstorming/Mind-Mapping/Organizational Software

This is a graphically based program that allows you to easily create a pictorial representation of a mind map or brainstorming session.

Colours and shapes can be used to organize ideas. If desired, these diagrams can be collapsed into a linear outline that uses headings and sub headings. This outline can be copied into MS Word. As a result, this program can facilitate the essay writing process.

This is a wonderful tool for visual learners. It is great for brainstorming prior to writing as well as for outlining an essay that has already been written to check for flow/connections. This program can also be used to create study notes for tests and for creating overheads for oral presentations. Templates can be created not only for different types of essays but for any task which follows a structure which is used repeatedly such as lab reports or for breaking down a task into smaller steps.


This program allows you to scan reading materials, have them appear on the screen exactly in their original format, and have those materials read back to them.

As Kurzweil reads, it will track the sentence and word it is reading. The document can be made larger or smaller for students that have visual difficulties or those who get distracted by seeing too much of the page.

You will also able to read/hear definitions or synonyms of selected words. In addition, this program is able to extract highlighted text or notes from the document. This text can be pasted into a word processing program for further manipulation and note construction. This is an amazing program that supports people with reading speed and comprehension issues. It can also be used to develop study skills related to reading and note making.

TextHelp Read & Write

This a floating program which works in conjunction with other programs such as MS Word. It reads text-based documents aloud for you. Some of the other capabilities of this program include spell checking, word predication, and a thesaurus, which are specifically designed for people with learning disabilities.

You will be able to write a document and then hear it aloud to check for flow and mistakes. In addition, when spell checking the document, you can hear the suggested corrections aloud. This is useful for if you cannot differentiate between the words in the list. This is a great program for increasing independence in editing.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

This is a program that transcribes your speech with the help of a headset microphone. After an initial training that allows the program to learn your voice, it is able to perform all the functions of a normal word processing program through the use of auditory commands.

For example, you can compose, edit and save documents all through voice commands without needing to touch the keyboard. It also allows you to listen to what has been dictated to ensure accuracy.