Accessible Learning

Speech to Text

  • OneNote with Learning Tools add-in: Use the free OneNote program with the Learning Tools add-in to dictate your speech (or student’s speech) and then have it appear magically on the screen as text.
  • Google Docs: Did you know Google Docs features speech to text? It’s called “voice typing.” Find out more. In a similar vein, consider the VoiceNote Chrome extension.

Text to Speech

Whatever your device, text to speech solutions abound. Most solutions require a dedicated internet connection since the bulk of the processing occurs via remote web servers. Let’s take a quick look at this round-up of apps, browser extensions, and computer programs.

  • OneNote with Learning Tools add-in: Use the free OneNote with the Learning Tools add-in to quickly capture images, grab text from the image (Optical Character Recognition, OCR for short), and then save that text into a OneNote page. Use the Learning Tools addition to read the “OCR’d text” to learners. Wow, that means you can grab any picture off the web, then grab text, and play it as audio. Immersive Reader is also a key component. Office Lens, a mobile app (iOS | Android | Windows 10), also includes Immersive Reader as a part of it.
  • Google Keep: Use Google Keep to quickly grab a picture, then grab text from the picture and save it as text. On Android devices, you can take advantage of Google’s Text to Speech engine. “From within any app that contains highlightable text,” shares John Dye at Android Authority, “you can now instantly conjure the voice of your preference to read the content aloud.”
  • Dragon Dictation (Free iOS app) – “Dragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice recognition application powered by Dragon® NaturallySpeaking® that allows you to easily speak and instantly see your text or email messages.”
  • Chrome Text to Speech extensions: Chromebook or Chrome browser user? Give these text to speech extensions a try. Each boasts various features you can use. These extensions include the following: Announcify, SpeakIt, Read&Write for Chrome, and JustRead. See other great tools online at Eric Curts’ Ctrl-Alt-Achieve blog.
  • Voice Texting Pro (Free iOS app) – “…Speak into the microphone and convert your speech into text. Then directly send your message to email, SMS, Twitter, or Facebook. You can also send it to your clipboard (copy) and paste the dictated text in any other application.”
  • Speech Notes (Free iOS app) – “Speech Notes is a note taking app that can convert speech with the help of an internet connection. Just tap on the mic button and, once done, hit again to start converting voice to text.”
  • Voice Assistant ($1.99 for iOS app) – This translates your voice in text and then enables you to share it with other iOS apps.
  • Dictation - Dictation is a free online speech recognition software that will help you write emails, documents ... Just click anywhere, start writing and it will auto-save the text. Site:
  • Talk Typer - Talk Typer is an easy to use web app which allows free speech to text dictation in a browser. Site:

Speech to text

Voice Recognition - link

    • Voice recognition app that allows the user to dictate the text of a document, then save the text to Google Drive or send as an email.

SpeechPad - link

    • Voice recognition app that allows the user to dictate the text of a document, then copy and paste the text to another application as needed

VoiceNote - link

    • Voice recognition app that allows the user to dictate the text of a document, then copy and paste the text to another application as needed



Rewordify is powerful, free, online software that improves reading, learning, and teaching. This site can:

  • Intelligently simplify difficult English, for faster comprehension
  • Effectively teach words, for building a better vocabulary


Chrome Apps and Extensions

Below is a list of Chrome apps and extensions for special needs grouped by topic. Some tools fit into more than one topic, but each is only listed once. Source: Eric Curts (


Mercury Reader - link

    • Creates a more readable version of a web page by removing all the ads, comments, and other extra distracting items. The user can also adjust the font size and color scheme of the new text.

OpenDyslexic - link

    • This extension overrides all fonts on webpages with the OpenDyslexic font, and formats pages to be more easily readable.

BeeLine Reader - link

    • Creates a more readable version of a web page by removing all the ads, comments, and other extra distracting items. Then applies a color gradient to the page text guide your eye from one line to the next.

High Contrast - link

    • This tool can make webpages easier to read by changing the colors to increase contrast, invert the colors, or switch to grayscale.

ATbar - link

    • Change the colors and font size for a webpage, have text read aloud, use colored overlays, remove distracting elements from the page, and more

MagicScroll Web Reader - link

    • Turn web pages into a flippable e-book with easy clickable or keyboard control, as well as control over font size and page color as well.

Readline - link

    • Although designed as a speed reading tool, you can adjust the speed to the lowest setting and use this extension to easily read text one word at a time.

Visor- link

    • This screen overlay tool darkens out the page except for a horizontal band you can move up and down as you read, helping the student focus.

Color Enhancer - link

    • For people who are partially color-blind, this tool can help adjust and improve webpage colors.

Reading comprehension

SummarizeThis - link

    • Copy and paste any text into the app to get a summarized version of the most important information.

sentiSum - link

    • Get a summarized version of any webpage.

Google Dictionary - link

    • Double-click any word on a web page to get a pop-up with the definition and audible pronunciation.

Newsela - link

    • Current event articles covering many subjects, each written at five different Lexile levels so all students can read the same material at an appropriate level.

Books That Grow - link

    • Books That Grow is a leveled reading app that contains eBooks that adapt to each user's reading ability.

Word Cloud Website Preview - link

    • This handy extension gives generates a Word Cloud from the page you are currently reading. For students and reluctant readers, this provides an overview of the content, a place to gather a general understanding of the article.


Simple Blocker - link

    • This tool helps students to stay focused on their work by blocking distracting websites. The user can choose the sites to block, how long to block them, and optional password protection.

uBlock Origin - link

    • A simple but powerful ad-blocking extension to help remove distracting ads from websites, making pages less cluttered and easier to read.

Move It - link

    • For students who need a break, this extension can be set to periodically have them stop working and do something physical for a moment.


Picto4Me - link

    • Allows you to create, edit, download, and play pictographic communication boards.

iOS Apps

myMedScheduleMobile (Free)

    • MyMedSchedule Mobile is a secure medication schedule and reminder program, complete with pictures of the pills. It allows the user to create and save easy-to-understand medication schedules. Each MyMedSchedule shows what times one should take their medications or supplements, how much to take, and the purpose.
    • One can set up text and email reminders for reminders to take their meds. MyMedSchedule Moble is in sync with, a free website, so it can be easily revised, accessed and printed from anywhere in the world, and you can quickly have an updated schedule for an emergency or routine doctor visit.

Picture Scheduler ($2.99)

    • Picture Scheduler is a tasks organizer for people with disabilities. This app was optimized for creating and organizing personal tasks for individuals with disabilities. Create visual tasks with attached audio, video or picture. Tasks can have alarms and you can choose from five sounds.
    • Universal iPhone/iPod/iPad app.

To Siri, With Love

    • How One Boy With Autism Became BFF With Apple’s Siri: Judith Newman's article about her 13-year-old son and the app, Siri. Siri has helped him speak more clearly, practice conversation and practice social ettiquette. When transferred to real life, he can now relate more easily to people. (GMA Video | Article in the New York Times)

iPad Apps

Accessibility Available on the iPad

Intuitive by design, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch also come with assistive features that allow people with disabilities to experience the fun and function of iOS. With a wide range of features: Vision, Hearing, Physical and Motor Skills, and Learning and Literacy

  • VoiceOver - Describes aloud what appears onscreen, so you can use the iPad without seeing it.
  • Invert Colors - Makes it easier to read, when turned on, the screen looks like aphotographic negative
  • Speak Selection - iPad will read aloud any text you select
  • Speak Auto-Text - Speaks the text corrections and suggestions the iPad makes when you type
  • Reduced Screen Motion - stop the motion of some screen elements, such as the parallax effect of icons and alerts
  • Subtitles and Closed Captions - Use subtitles nad captions offered by the video you are watching. subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) can be set if they are available
  • Assignable Tones - Set distinctive ringtones to people in your contacts list
  • Guided Access - Limits iPad to a single app and lets you control which app features are available
  • Switch Control - Control the iPad using a single switch or multiple switches
  • Assistive Touch - Helps one use the iPad if you have difficulty touching the screen or pressing the buttons

Android Apps

Alexicom AAC (Free)

    • This app lets you use your Android phone or tablet as an augmentative communication device. It offers over 1,200 pre-made pages and over 7,000 images in our public libraries, which include twelve pre-made page sets: ChildPreA/B, Child1A/B, Child2, Child Intermediate, PicSpeechmaker, Adult1, Adult2, Speechmaker, Healthcare, and Spanish Child1. You can easily import these pages into your own online library, customize them, and/or create your own pages. AT&T Natural Voices offer text-to-speech output in 20 voices and five languages.

Jabtalk (Free)

    • This app is a free speech communication application designed to help non-verbal children and adults communicate. Speech therapists commonly refer to JABtalk as an easy and effective augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device. By combining personalized voice and images with an extremely simple user interface, JABtalk delivers a speech solution that is both fun to use and easy to learn. Originally designed as a communication tool for children with special needs.

Some of JABtalk features include:

    • Navigation designed to be intuitive for toddlers
    • Build sentences from words
    • Organize words into user-defined categories for simple navigation
    • Ability to rearrange and resize pictures
    • Download unlimited number pictures from internet directly into JABtalk!

More Android Apps