Assistive Technology

Student Accessibility Services provides various assistive technologies for students with disabilities at no charge to the student.

Assistive Technology is any device, piece of software, equipment or tool that helps people with disabilities improve, maintain or increase their functional capabilities. As a general rule, once a student receives an assistive technology accommodation, the student will check the equipment out from the Student Accessibility Services office and return it once the semester is complete. 

Due to the variety of technologies offered, some may require additional steps to obtain them.


If approved for the accommodation of alternative text, students will access their digital textbooks via Kurzweil. Kurzweil is a screen reading software that allows students to both listen and read the textbook at the same time. All UNI Students have access to Kurzweil; however, students with disabilities can work with Student Accessibility Services to learn about the software.  SAS places the students' books into their public folders for access throughout the semester. Kurzweil has multiple functionalities that can benefit students; however, the primary purpose is to allow for textbooks to be read aloud. If students want to learn about other functionalities, they can set up a time with Student Accessibility Services.


The C-Pen Reader is a small, compact pen-like device that scans text and reads it out loud.  When you move the C-Pen device along a text line the printed text is made digital. The digital text can then be read out aloud by text to speech software (automatically part of the C-Pen).  A C-Pen device processes one text line at a time. Each new line can be added after the previous, building up sentences and paragraphs just as they are printed.


Audio Note Taking is a form of recording lectures provided by Glean software. If approved for audio note taking, students work with Student Accessibility Services to obtain access to the software program (free to the student). Once students have met with SAS to create their account, they can begin recording lectures with their laptops, tablets, or phones. Audio Note Taking also allows students to highlight areas of importance, record by PowerPoint slide, and take typed notes at the same time.

Smart Pen

If approved for the accommodation of Smart Pen, students have the option to check out a Livescribe Smart Pen from Student Accessibility Services. Using a special pen and paper, students can record lectures while taking written notes. Students can then use the pen to locate specific sections of the recorded lecture based on their individual notes.

Magnifiers (Magnifying Glass, Digital Video Magnifier, etc.)

Students with visual impairments may benefit from the use of magnifiers whether it be a magnifying glass or something more sophisticated like a Digital Video Magnifier.

Sound Amplification 

Personal Sound Amplification Systems are wearable devices that use a microphone to pick up nearby sounds. They then process this sound and deliver it to a person's ear at a louder volume.  

A Frequency Modulation (FM) system may be used by students who are hard of hearing. FM systems transmit the instructor’s voice directly to the student at a constant level, ensuring that the instructor’s voice is heard above the level of background noise, regardless of the instructor’s distance from the student.  FM systems consist of a small microphone, a transmitter, a receiver, and some method of routing sounds from the receiver to the student's ear.

Students approved for a sound amplification accommodation check the system out from SAS and return it at the end of the semester.


Captioning visually displays the text version of speech and other sound content of a television broadcast, webcast, film, DVD, live event, or other production. Captions not only display the words of spoken dialogue or narration, but they also include speaker identification, sound effects, and music description. Closed captioning refers to captioning that the user turns on or off; open captioning refers to captioning that is automatically on; and “real time” captioning refers to the captioning of live events or presentations. UNI can provide captioning for recorded material as well as live “real time” captioning.

Digital Recorders

For students with disabilities related to auditory processing, graphomotor skills, attention and focus, learning disabilities, and many others, recorded lectures can benefit the students’ overall comprehension of material. A student may record lectures using a personal recording device or one checked out from Student Accessibility Services. Students who have this accommodation have been advised that recording lectures is for their personal educational use only. Recordings are not to be posted online or shared with other students.

Zoom Text

Students with visual impairments may benefit from a software that allows individuals to zoom in on any computer program.

Speech-to-Text Software

This accommodation has proved invaluable for many students with dyslexia, visual impairments, fine motor impairments, specific learning disabilities and more. Speech-to-text software is voice recognition technology that turns spoken words into written words. It can also identify and understand human speech to carry out a person’s commands on a computer.

If approved for speech-to-text accommodations, students work with Student Accessibility Services to determine the best software and obtain access.

And more…

While this is a sampling of what SAS offers, if you didn't see an assistive technology that meets your needs, please reach out to Student Accessibility Services to discuss options.