Computer Accessibility

Individuals with vision, motor, and hearing impairments can use a computer by accessing the accessibility features on Windows or Apple based devices. Sometimes, various software contains accessibility options as well. For those with motor (physical) limitations, external options are available to accommodate specific options within the built-in computer accessibility features. Text-to-speech is available in both platforms without any additional softward. Access this site to view short videos about text-to-speech configuration on your device.

Windows PC Computers Accessibility Options


Accessibility features on a computer running Windows 7

Click "Start">"Control Panel" > "Ease of Access Center." Screen_shot_2011-11-18_at_2.10.19_PM.png Then click on the accessibility desired.

On Windows computers running Windows 8

Click this link for a detailed description of the accessibility options in Windows 8.
Select the Ease of Access button in the lower-left corner of your screen, or press the Windows logo key+U, to choose the settings for your PC that you want to have available each time it starts. The accessibility options you'll find on the Ease of Access page are:
  • High contrast. If it’s hard to read text on your screen, you can change the theme of your PC to a color combination that’s easier to read.
  • Make everything on your screen bigger. If things on your screen are too small to read, you can use this setting to magnify everything on the screen.
  • Pressing Windows+Volume Up. This works on newer laptops and tablets. First, choose a setting (Narrator, Magnifier, or On-Screen Keyboard), and then turn it on with a quick press of the Windows logo button and Volume Up button together.
  • Show notifications for. If you find that notifications appear and disappear too quickly, you can change how long they’re visible—so you have time to read and react to them.
  • Cursor thickness. If the cursor is too small for you and hard to spot on the screen, use this setting to change its thickness.
  • Use the computer without a display. Here, you can turn on Narrator, turn on audio descriptions for videos, set up Text to Speech, and change how long dialog boxes stay open.
  • Make the computer easier to see. If you occasionally have trouble seeing items on your screen, adjust these settings to make the screen easier to see. You can change to a high contrast theme, turn on Magnifier, adjust colors, and remove unnecessary animations and background images.
  • Use the computer without a mouse or keyboard. Windows includes an on-screen keyboard that lets you enter text by selecting characters on the screen. You can also use Speech Recognition to control your PC with voice commands, and dictate text into programs. For more info, see How to use Speech Recognition.
  • Make the mouse easier to use. This setting lets you change the size and color of the mouse pointer, and use the numeric keypad to control the mouse.
  • Make the keyboard easier to use. You can adjust the way Windows responds to mouse or keyboard input so that key combinations are easier to press, typing is easier, and accidental keystrokes are ignored.
  • Use text or visual alternatives for sounds. Windows can replace system sounds with visual cues and display text captions for spoken dialog in multimedia programs.
  • Make it easier to focus on tasks. These settings include a number of ways to help you focus on reading and typing. Use them to turn on Narrator, adjust how the keyboard responds to certain keystrokes, and change the way certain visual elements are displayed.
  • Make touch and tablets easier to use. When you choose this option, Narrator starts automatically when you press the Windows logo button and Volume Up button together. You can change this so Magnifier or On-Screen Keyboard starts instead.

Windows 8 Accessibility fact sheet

Windows accessibility resource weblinks:
Windows adjustments for accessibility by FDLRS Region 5 LATS
Accessibility Guides for Educators Accessibility

10 Free Screen Readers for Blind or Visually Impaired

Macintosh Computers Accessibility Options


Accessibility features can be found under the "System Preferences."

Click on the Screen_shot_2011-11-18_at_1.14.41_PM.pngand then going to the Screen_shot_2011-11-18_at_1.14.24_PM.pngUniversal Access icon.


Accessibility features include Voiceover, Zoom, and Display and can accommodate persons with vision, hearing or physical disabilities (enable access for assistive devices).

Apple accessibility resource weblinks:

Apple Technology for Diverse Learners


An essential teaching and learning resource written by Apple Distinguished Educators.

ghost writer.JPGGhostreader provides the most realistic sounding voices for Apple devices. While the trial is free, this is a purchased item.

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