As stated earlier, the first software to set for a person with AT is the operating system of the computer: Windows, Mac OS, Linux.
Indeed, from one version to the next one, they have considerably increased over time the number of possible settings and functions dedicated to computer access for the disabled.
Thus, there are many settings on the mouse and the screen, a lens, a virtual keyboard with high contrast, features of voice recognition and synthesis, etc.. To get there:
- On Windows, you must go to the Control Panel under "accessibility" or "Ease of Access center" depending on the version, or go directly to the "accessories". You will find a full description of features depending on the Windows operating system by going to the Microsoft website. For this, the easiest way is to type "Microsoft + accessibility" in your language on your search engine.
- Mac OS-X seems to be very efficient and friendly in terms of accessibility options. In the same way as above, type in search "Apple + accessibility" in your language brings about a complete description of features. Note: For computer skilled people, it is possible to install the Apple operating system on a machine originally planned for Windows.
- On Linux, the problem is slightly different in that there is no standardized version of the operating system but rather several versions of this system. All offer basic accessibility features such as magnification.
For more advanced features, add-ons can be downloaded. For here is the principle of Linux: all applications are free but it is counterbalanced by the fact that it is a modular system where everyone adds the application that suits him. It is very flexible for some, complex for others. It should be noted however that it is possible to run most Windows applications on Linux. For starters, the Ubuntu version of Linux seems the most appropriate and easiest to access.
optical character recognition: OCR
The OCR software can also be very useful for reading: by scanning a text and keeping the formatting, they can afford to get on the computer screen magnification, a change of contrast as well as speech synthesis. The scanned text can also be used for personal work.
Some software are commercial while some can be found for free (from Wikipedia ):
- Open source softwares: GOCR (Unix, Windows), OCRopus (Unix), Tesseract (Unix, Windows)
- Freewares: Moredata, freeware using Tessnet (Windows), MoredataFast (Windows), FreeOCR, ...
- Commercial softwares:Readiris (Unix, Windows, Mac OS), FineReader (Unix, Windows), Scansoft Omnipage (Windows), BIT-Alpha (Windows), Neoptec (Windows, Mac OS, Unix), Adobe Acrobat Professional (Windows, Mac OS),...
They are used to dictate either text or commands to control the computer or even through it to command your home for example.
Windows Vista and Seven incorporate such a software with acceptable performance, as well as Apple's VoiceOver on its iPhone iPad and iPod. But one of the best software in this area pays off: Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the market leader.
One may question the relevance of such software for use by people with ataxia telangiectasia since speech problems can occur. It is to be evaluated case by case.
This kind of software is very useful for people with sight problems. They can read with synthetic but more and more natural voices the content of the active window on the screen.
Microsoft and Apple have incorporated that in their options of ergonomics, with an advantage of fluidity for Apple. Activation:
- For Windows, you must go to the Control Panel to find these options, or go through the "accessories" and look for the "narrator".
- For Mac, you must activate the "VoiceOver".
- Linux is a little behind with "Orca".
Note that Windows does not offer other voices than in English. The procedure for obtaining a voice in an other language is to install a program you find on the internet. Some charities may have information and downloads available. It is different from a country to an other.