Resources & Tips

Assistive Technology

Assistive listening devices amplify sound through the use of a small microphone to transmit audio to a receiver.

The Reading Machine, located in the AT lab of the campus library scans pages of text, converts them to computer (ASCII) files, and then reads the text aloud. The user can listen to the text via headphones and read along in the text, or plug in a recording device to record the text.

Zoomtext Extra is another AT software program, found on the PC computer in the Assistive Technology Lab in the library and various campus locations, which can enlarge and also ‘read aloud’ text. Zoomtext can be used together with the Reading Machine if a student requires enlarged text and text-to-speech assistance when using a textbook or a printed handout.

The CSUMB Accessible Technology Initiative meets regularly to review policy, new information, and campus need.

Screen reading software JAWS (Job Access with Speech) for Windows, a screen reading program for users with low vision and/or blindness, is available in the Library and elsewhere on referral from SDR.

Speech recognition programs, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking is available in the, library, SDR as well as on several SDR laptop computers.

Demonstrations of assistive software are available for students with disabilities registered with SDR in order to complete in class writing assignments, to take notes, etc. SDR may refer students for introductory training offered in small group and one-on-one formats.


How to encourage students to discuss disability-related needs

The first way to encourage students to discuss disability-related accommodations with you is the preparation of your course syllabus. Make your syllabus available at least 6 weeks prior to the semester, with the statement such as below. Second, create a welcoming and responsive climate: announce in several class meetings, post on the board and the course web materials, and repeat two weeks before each assessment how students can request accommodations.

Invite students with disabilities who need accommodations to make an appointment to meet with you during office hours to discuss ways to make academic adjustments and contact Student Disability Resources about your course accommodations.

How to respond to students who say they have a disability but don't appear to

Rather than challenge a student who confides in you regarding a disability, listen to ways the condition functionally affects the student's learning. One of the most frustrating statements reported by students with hidden disabilities involves the complaint that people say the student "looks fine to me."

Most disabilities are not evident by simple observation. For example, increasing numbers of students with learning disabilities are enrolling in colleges and universities. Also, many students with chronic health, psychiatric or head injury problems need accommodations for the functional effects of a hidden disability.

In many situations, a student with a severe and not obvious disability is required to cope with the disability and also battle the attitudes of well-meaning persons who, in essence, have challenged their credibility.

A student requesting specific classroom accommodations through SDR must have verification and documentation of such a need on file at SDR. Faculty is not required to accommodate based on disability without confirmation from SDR. However, faculty is encouraged to support students.

  • Ask how the disability affects learning and what the student thinks will be helpful.
  • Refer the student to Student Disability Resources for Course Accommodation Letters / Forms.

What to do if you or a student suspect they have a learning disability

Concerned that a student might have a learning disability? The diagnosis of a learning disability should be made in accordance with standards of the California State University system. Students enrolled at CSUMB who suspect that they may have a learning disability should seek assistance from SDR, where they can be referred to a qualified professional. The results of the evaluation will be reviewed by SDR for eligibility and recommendations.

Meanwhile, SDR may support the student with on-campus referrals and learning strategies. Beginning this Fall, SDR is partnering with CSUMB's School Psychology program to offer options for disability assessment at CSUMB. Please refer students to Student Disability Resources for information and possible referrals.