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Cognitive, Language, and Other Impairments

6. Cognitive, Language, and Other Impairments

Cognitive and language impairments include dyslexia and problems with; memory, comprehension, problem solving, and written language. For many individuals with cognitive and language disabilities, complex graphical displays and inconsistent use of words can make using the computer more difficult. A user with epilepsy can have a seizure from an application with blinking lights and animation. Most desktops now allow users to disable animation. Web browsers such as Mozilla and Netscape allow users to disable graphics. It is important to check the documentation for preferences that are available in the desktop environment you are using, as well as any applications that are used. This section discusses the tools that are available to aid users with these impairments:

6.1. Assistive Technologies for Cognitive, Language and Other Impairments

The following is a list of assistive technologies that can be helpful to users with cognitive, language, and other impairments:

6.1.1. Screen Readers and Speech Synthesis

Screen readers with speech synthesis enable the system to read on-screen information and text out loud to the user. This type of assistive technology can be particularly helpful to individuals who have dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Although there are no screen readers available for the GNOME desktop, screen reader applications are available for Linux in console mode that provide this functionality.

6.1.2. Keyboard filters and Word Processing

Keyboard filters and word processing applications that have word prediction and spell checking utilities can be an excellent aid for users with learning and language impairments.

6.1.3. Speech Recognition

Speech recognition applications enables you to control the computer with your voice rather than having to type or write out the information.

  • CVoice Control is a speech recognition system that enables a user to connect spoken commands to UNIX commands. More information is available at: http://www.kiecza.de/daniel/linux/.

  • IBM ViaVoice Dictation for Linux allows the user to write documents using their voice rather then a keyboard and can read the information back to the user. More information is available at: http://www-4.ibm.com/software/speech/dev/.

  • Open Mind Speech is a development project for speech recognition tools and applications. The developers have established a mailing list for asking questions and obtaining information at: http://freespeech.sourceforge.net/.

  • XVoice enables continuous speech to text dictation for many applications. More information is available at: http://www.compapp.dcu.ie/~tdoris/Xvoice/.