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A screen reader is a computer programme that reads out the text on a computer screen. Screen readers can be used to help people with visual impairments and dyslexia access computer based documents and websites.
There are two types of screen reader:
It is important to try out a screen reader before you buy it, to check that it has the features you want and that it will work with the software that you need to use. You can usually ask a supplier for a demonstration version. If you don't have your own computer, it's worth asking a local voluntary IT centre, library or college if you can use theirs.
This screen reader has support for Braille displays and will support other languages using the Orpheus speech synthesizer.
The professional version enables users to create map files which can improve access to applications where there is not full keyboard
Developed by Dolphin, also available from various suppliers including RNIB, HumanWare and Optelec.
Jaws includes a scripting language which allows users to improve access to applications where there is not full keyboard access.
It also has support for braille displays.
Available from various suppliers including Sight and Sound Technology and RNIB.
Has a novice mode for the beginner and a system of musical tones to assist with screen navigation. It can be configured using Visual Basic programming.
Available from Choice Technology.
Will support some braille displays and certain sound cards.
Available from Professional Vision Services.
Has support for braille displays and a number of configuration options which can be set via a menu to define functionality to
specific areas of the screen.
Available from Humanware.
Thunder is available to download from Screenreader.net It works on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 computers.
This information is an introduction to the subject of screen readers. It is not a complete list of all products and services available, nor are any of the products and services featured recommended or endorsed by shop4support.