Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Experience Using Natural Reader

By Elizabeth Pope, Graduate Student at San Jose State

It has been seven months since I landed in San Jose. Being a graduate student at San Jose State, working part-time, and sitting on the city’s Disability Advisory Commission keeps me busy.

I do a lot of research. I am taking Public Administration classes that involve reading articles that range from three pages to forty or more.

I started using Natural Reader last month. I met with my academic advisor. She mentioned looking into assistive technology to improve my studying. I agreed. I wanted to incorporate it into my learning environment.

I made an appointment at the Center for Accessible Technology at San Jose State. When I was shown Natural Reader, I enjoyed the efficiency of it. Natural Reader is a professional text-to-speech program. It allows the conversion of written text into spoken word. It allows you to listen to the text instead of reading the screen. I do both. I pull up the document that I placed the text in and follow along. For those who like to learn by hearing and seeing, this is a perfect fit.

It has been a tremendous asset for graduate school. The best part is the ability to change fonts, voices, and to press the start, stop, pause, and save documents. All the buttons are large. It makes it much easier for people with visual impairments who use a zoom text reader. It helps with my listening, reviewing, and repeating skills.

The other great thing is it is compatible with MacBooks and PCs. It is a useful tool for those who have visual impairments. I have had great success with it. I can type, listen and get quotes within minutes.

You can download Natural Reader at: http://www.naturalreaders.com/free_version.htm

Elizabeth Pope is a former Youth Advocate for CFILC and YO! Disabled and Proud. She is attending San Jose State University as a first year graduate student studying Public Administration and is a Program Coordinator for World Enabled Pineda Foundation for Youth, City of San Jose Disability Advisory Commissioner, and is the Vice President of her Disability Student Association. In her spare time, she enjoys running, working out and yoga.

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