Assistive technology

The Needs Assessment Centre (NAC) demonstrates on a variety of software and equipment during the Needs Assessment (NA).

Assessors make recommendations; they do not make final decisions on eligibility or entitlement to DSA’s. Decisions on eligibility and entitlement are a Secretary of State function which has been delegated to the Student Loans Company (including Student Finance England).


These resources are collated information from a variety of sources and are intended only as a guide and for your convenience.  The University of Northampton and the Needs Assessment Centre cannot accept responsibility for any inaccuracies/broken links etc. The use of any software linked from this website is at your own risk. The NAC and the University of Northampton do not own the content of the videos linked from this website.

 Text-to-speech software

This type of program can help support disabled students with their reading and proofreading. They often include a variety of features including playback so that you can listen to your (or other people’s) text being read to you; customising your preferences (e.g. larger icons, use of colours, voices etc.); spell and homophone checker as well as one-click scanning.

We currently provide training for Texthelp Read & Write and ClaroRead.



Read and Write (Texthelp)


Speech recognition software

This does what it says – it recognises speech! You wear a headset with a microphone and, once your voice has been set up, virtually anything you say will be recognised by the software and typed into an electronic document. We currently provide training for Dragon Naturally Speaking;

OCR scanning software

Optical character recognition (OCR) software enables the conversion of printed documents into an electronic format after they have been scanned. They can then be edited using a common word processing application such as Microsoft Word or read aloud by text-to-speech software. It can also duplicate images and most will retain the page layout.

Mind-mapping software

Mind mapping can help you to get your ideas down as quickly as possible using a combination of words, shapes, pictures etc. Mind maps can usually be transferred into other document formats such as Word and PowerPoint.

Digital voice recorder (DVR)

About the size of a mobile phone a digital voice recorder can be used to record events such as lectures and assignment/dissertation interviews. If appropriate it can also be used with speech recognition software. We currently provide training on Olympus products.

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