UO’s Accessible Technology Program translates textbooks into more accessible forms for students with disabilities

Reading through a textbook is a chore for many students at the University of Oregon. Yet as time consuming as reading may be, it is an easy and simple task for most to complete.

But for students who have a disability such as ADHD, dyslexia or blindness, the task of reading a book can be challenging or nearly impossible. That’s where the Accessible Education Center (AEC) comes in.

The AEC’s Accessible Technology Program (ATP) is a resource at the UO that takes textbooks and translates them into a more accessible form for students to read, James Bailey, the Associate Director of the program, explained.

The program can help students in variety of ways, depending on their circumstances. Most students send in their books to be converted into PDFs. When this happens, the spines of the books are chopped off and the pages are sent through a scanner that uploads the pages to a computer, Tallen Lamoreaux, who works at the program, said. The pages are eventually rebound and returned to the students.

The PDFs can be highlighted or put through a program that reads the text out loud. This software can then be put onto a student’s personal computer. There are some programs that can even read out loud whatever the cursors moves over or whenever a button is pressed, Bailey said.

ATP helps around 30 students a term, alternative tech specialist JT Archuleta said. The program is heavily used at the start of each term when students obtain new books. There are some instances though where a book has already been scanned through the program in the past and students are just given the files online.

To read the rest of this article, published in The Daily Emerald.com, please click here.