Assistive Technology for Reading Hard Copy on the Job

Thank you, Oklahoma ABLE Tech (OK’s State AT Program) for this AT Tip for Employment! 

The following is a hypothetical case study featuring an employee who needs an accommodation to do her job better, and includes possible recommendations from an assistive technology (AT) professional, goals and outcomes for the accommodation and sample AT solutions.

An attorney speaking in court with a judge listening seated in the background.

Situation: an attorney with a reading disability needs assistive technology when in court

An attorney with a reading disability knew that digital text, on a computer or through an app, is the best way for her to access text. However, in court, she was often handed paper documents that she had not reviewed before. She worked with her employer to notify the court to ensure that future documents were sent several days prior to the trial. The accommodation she needs in various work settings is to scan a paper document and use OCR (optical character recognition) to convert the print text into digital text. The OCR can then play back the digital text aloud.

Goals and Outcomes:

The goal is for the employee to have equal access to paper handouts and documents in the work setting. Additionally, the goal is for the employer to assist her with accommodations and assistive technology trials before purchasing the AT.

Recommendations:

A reading pen was recommended so that she could use the device to scan a document sentence by sentence or word by word. The reading pen will say the word or sentence aloud and spell and define words. In addition, a portable scanner and OCR software would allow her to scan documents and access the information almost as quickly as someone without a disability. The employee trialed several devices that could fit her needs.

Sample AT Solutions:

KNFB Reader App

Text Scanner App

C-Pen Reader

SARA Scanning and Reading Device

Learn where you can go to explore AT and borrow devices to try for yourself or someone you know. Find your State AT Program and try before you buy!