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Assistive Technology


Speech to Text (dictation)

Speech to Text apps allow users to write using their voice and orientate themselves on a computer using spoken commands.

Text to Speech (reader)

  • Claro is a text-to-speech reader that will read text. It enables the highlighting of text in time with spoken words. Useful for proof reading and helping with literacy and languages: French and Spanish are available.
  • TextHelp includes features to aid reading, writing and literacy. It aims to support reading fluency (Fluency Tutor), comprehension (Lexiflow) and improved internet navigation (Speechstream). The app includes an e-book reader, dictionary, speech and spelling.

Screen Readers

Screen Readers allow on-screen text to be read aloud.

  • JAWS is the screen reader industry leader and provides speech and Braille output for the most popular PC applications.
  • NVDA is a free, open source screen reader for Windows.
  • VoiceOver is the Apple native screen reader. Find out more with the starting guide for VoiceOver in HTML.

There are numerous other screen reading online options, including:

  • Read Aloud is a Chrome extension that allows text to be read aloud.
  • Natural Reader is an online text to speech software.
  • TTS Reader is an online screen reading software.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is an effective and visual way of planning and organising. It allows the user to capture large amounts of disparate information and gives them the ability to view content from different viewpoints. Find out more with this Mind Mapping Workshop Video delivered by University of Leeds Assistive Technology Student Advisor, Thomas Starkey.

There are different mind mapping tools and approaches available:

  • MindGenius
  • MindView, Find out more with this MindView video tutorial (YouTube)
  • Mindly is a mobile-based mind mapping app.
  • Mindmaps is a free, online mind mapping option.
  • Simple Mind+ is an app that facilitates brainstorming, idea collating and thought structuring. It enables easy experimenting and editing and offers a range of style, colours and fonts.
  • Inspiration Maps is a mind mapping app which allows the user to create diagrams which can be built upon. Images taken from the internet or i-pad camera can be used.


  • AudioNote is a note-taking app that synchronises the audio to the notes taken. Useful for note taking in meetings, highlighting information and taking photos and using them within notes.
  • Evernote is a useful text, audio and image note-taking app which allows sharing of notes between devices via an account. Allows for document creation and document storage (Word, PDF, etc.). Useful for organisation across all devices, taking notes, creating to do lists.
  • OneNote saves, searchable, and synchronised notes to the app on other devices. Useful for sharing files, taking notes and syncing notebooks.
  • Outline is a note-taking app that creates different notebooks for various topics.
  • Sonocent Audio Notetaker captures audio, text and slides in a single note-taking workspace.

Focus, Productivity and Literacy

There is lot of useful technology to help with focus, blocking out distractions and literacy.

Distraction-Free Writing

Web Site Blockers

  • Stayfocusd is a Chrome browser extension that limits the websites that can be accessed for a designated period of time.
  • Forest is a web blocker with the added motivational tool of planting virtual trees.

Literacy Tools