During his second year at college, Jason realizing he was having difficulties with time management and organization. He reached out to his counselor at the N.J. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS). “So, DVRS was really, really nice to me, and they helped me a lot,” he says. Tina Brand, Jason’s counselor, believed assistive technology tools could help him with these two areas and referred him for an assistive technology evaluation. “He just had a lot on his plate, a lot of things to juggle,” says Kristen Russell, his Assistive Technology Specialist at Advancing Opportunities. “I got tested by Kristen, and she wanted to sit down and focus on areas that I was struggling with,” says Jason. “One of the things I got was a Livescribe pen. I also got a bigger agenda book.”
Online Text Can Pose a Challenge. Read&Write Can Help!
Another challenge Jason faced was that his textbooks and article assignments were all online, which he could not make up for organization. For that, Kristen recommended Jason use Read&Write, a program from Texthelp. This online text reader reads the text out loud. The program also allowed Jason to highlight sections and look up vocabulary words. Moreover, Read&Write enabled Jason to set the pace for how he wanted the program to read to him. In addition, Jason could change the voice, accent, and gender. “Another thing he could do with Read&Write for Google Chrome toolbar is that he can highlight key texts in his books or his assignment,” says Kristen, adding that after Jason has highlighted everything important, he can, with the click of a button, extract his highlights into single document. “Part of the reason why I’m really happy this semester, with all my classes, is getting the right support,” he says.
“He’s really done a great job at taking advantage of all the things that DVRS and his college has offered him. He’s really using all of the services that he needs,” says Kristen. “So that, together with his assistive technology, and just his desire to succeed, I think that his future is super bright.”
(The Livescribe 3 pen was invaluable for another college student we assisted, Erin Mann.)