Freeware to Support AT and Educational Needs
There are many sites that provide support for Boardmaker. These are just a few:
• On this website by Baltimore City Schools, you will find books that have been adapted
using the Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) and the Mayer-Johnson program
• Focusing on Animal materials using Boardmaker Animal boards and Adapted books by
Alicia Burnham - all of these books are in Boardmaker for Windows format. You must
have Boardmaker to use them.
• For pre-designed Boardmaker activities, teacher created resources from Montgomery
County Public Schools has provided a large array of pre-made, ready to print
Boardmaker activities and files.
• A wonderful collection of Boardmaker Activity Downloads and AT/AAC Websites
Resource List by Iriss Shimoney in PDF format. Thank you Iriss.
• LibriVox provides free audio books from the public domain. There are several options
for listening. (The first step is to get the mp3 or ogg files into your own computer.)
• PodioBooks has you register then you can sign up for subscription feeds by searching or
browsing the catalog and clicking the subscribe link in the book detail. New and Coming
Soon books will be advertised on the homepage, so check back often to keep track of
the latest new books. They have a Podiobooks Podcast to keep everyone up to date on
the latest happenings in the Podiobooks world. This is free but they do ask for
• SimplyAudio Books allows you to download free digital audio books and listen on your
favorite MP3 player, computer, or simply burn the audio books to a CD. There are over
6,000 audio books, lectures, radio shows, and more.
• Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audio book) format. You
can: Download the files to your Mp3 player and listen on the go, Listen to the Mp3 files
on your computer, View the text on a webpage and read along as you listen, Print out
the stories and poems to make your own book.
There are many programs on-line to add variety and visual interest to cursors. Here are a few
that might help with visual tracking:
• Stardock's CursorXP is a program that lets you use and create incredibly cool looking
Windows mouse cursors. It does this by taking advantage of the new visual effects
features of Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Add shadows, trails, explosions and other
animations to your cursors, or choose something a little more sedate just easier to see.
• Super Cursors is a free utility lets you color your windows cursor.
• These are very large and colorful cursors. Downloads and software from Tucows the
largest online software download site.
• Sib Cursor Editor - 2.0 provides a means for creating images of cursors of your own.
You’ll be able to create and edit static/animated cursors. A multitude of special effects
will give cursors as much eye-candy as you wish.
• ArtCursors allows you to edit static and animated cursors in color depths up to 32-bit
True Color. You also can search files and folders for cursors, import and export cursor
images and create cursor libraries for better and more efficient storage. (Windows)
(Electronic Text) free books and text online - Electronic text provides access to digital materials
for students with learning, sensory and physical disabilities. The Internet provides many sites
for gathering e-text. Here are some links to explore e-text further (not just classic books…
explore further!) There are many sites out there, this will provide you with a taste.
• Literature, reference, fiction, non-fiction, verse… Bartleby provides students with access
to books and information on the web in a friendly searchable database. There are
several sites like this, this is just one of them…
• Giggle Poetry provides 100’s of funny poems to read and explore for children.
• ChildrenStory offers Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes, interactive stories, and holiday stories.
Some in audio format.
• Indian Child provides great tongue twisters for kids.
• Wowio: Free Books, Free minds. Selections provided by category. Readers have access
to a wide range of offerings, including works of classic literature, college textbooks,
comic books, and popular fiction and non-fiction titles.
• Gamequarium has a great list of on-line magazine sites that are very motivating for kids
to use with text-to-speech software.
• Google has a book search in their search engine now. Go to Google and then go to
“More”. Type in what you are looking for and voila! You just might find it.
• Children’s Storybooks On-line offers illustrated and animated storybooks for young,
older and young adults. Some with the audio component too. Wonderful format.
• Children’s Digital Library Foundation is to “excite and inspire the world's children to
become members of the global community – children who understand the value of
tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas -- by making the best in
children's literature available online.” The ICDL Foundation's goal is to build a collection
of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from
throughout the world. Ultimately, the Foundation aspires to have every culture and
language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of
children's literature from the world community.
Pictures are used to support students with communication devices, to use with picture
schedules, to support reading and comprehension and to enhance presentations. Here are a
few ways to tap into graphics on the Internet:
• Microsoft clipart provides all kinds of graphics, photos, animations and sounds that will
be downloaded right into your clipart library. Good source that is often forgotten.
• Google images are wonderful but beware of copyright laws when using Google!
Select the “Image” tab and type in your image search request. To copy just hold down
the mouse on the graphic and there will be a little pull down menu that has Copy to
Clipboard as an option. Select that and return to your document and select Paste. You
can also select to download the image to a disk or your desktop and then insert picture
from the pull down menu.
• This site includes “copyright friendly images for education” including American Sign
Language. The Pics4Learning collection consists of thousands of images that have been
donated by students, teachers, and amateur photographers.
• Beyond Autism PECS Pictures/Icons Pages includes pictures that you can use for
communication systems. May be used with Boardmaker or on its own by using a cut and
paste method. Includes real pictures of many items, such as food, fast food places,
• Discovery School makes it easy to add graphics to your next project, whether its for
home or school. Choose from hundreds of original clip art pieces, including animations.
• Educational coloring pictures and photos... Free coloring pictures for primary school. On
this site you can find educational coloring pictures to color and print.
• Just something to be aware of… Google has a video library. Go to Google, go to “more”
and you will see Video: Search TV programs and videos. Great for adding a little visual to
presentations! This may be a good source for students who can’t go out and take their
own. (Beware of copyright rules!) And of course, there is YouTube!!
• PictureSET is a collection of downloadable visual supports that can be used by students
for both receptive and expressive communication in the classroom, at home, and in the
community. This searchable database allows you to find a wide range of useful visual
supports for different curriculum areas, activities, and events.
• TeacherVision provides Math Graphic Organizers, All-Subject Graphic Organizers,
Problem and Solution, Venn Diagrams and Webs, and Language Arts Graphic Organizers.
They are in PDF format.
• A wonderful site for an abundance of pre-made PDF graphic organizers is the Education
Place by Houghton Mifflin. (These are also available in Spanish!) They are in PDF format.
• ReadWriteThink Webbing Tool provides a free-form graphic organizer for activities that
ask students to pursue hypertextual thinking and writing. Students can drag the circle or
box shapes representing their ideas to arrange any layout and relationship that they
want. Each layer on the chart will have a different color border for the shapes that you
• Education Place provides PDF files of many graphic organizers. With the hit of a button
they are available in Spanish also!
• Gliffy allows you to use diagramming in your web browser without downloading
additional software. You can create many types of diagrams such as Flowcharts, UI
wireframes, Floor plans, Network diagrams, UML diagrams, or any other simple drawing
• Cmap download is an alternative to Inspiration that is totally free. Doesn’t have some of
the supportive options that Inspiration has such as text to speech and wonderful
graphics but the CmapTools program empowers users to construct, navigate, share and
criticize knowledge models represented as concept maps.
• MindMeister supports all the standard features of a classic mind mapping tool - only
online, and with as many simultaneous users as you like. The basic version is a free
• Another on-line collaborative mapping program is FreeMind which is written in Java.
• VYM (View Your Mind) is a tool to generate and manipulate maps which show your
thoughts. Such maps can help you to improve your creativity and effectively. You can
use them for time management, to organize tasks, to get an overview over complex
There are endless amounts of math support on-line. These are some of my favorites. I hope you
find them useful but do know that I have not included all the resources available. It is a start.
• Calculator Home Page for Windows high functioning calculator. Free download.
• MiddleSchool.net offers a wide assortment of all types of calculators, ranging from 1885
Felt & Tarrant “Comptometer” Adding Machine and a Vector Calculator to an
Astrophysical Calculator and a Linear Algebra Matrix Calculator.
• National Library of Virtual Manipulatives encourages active engagement in
mathematical thinking and learning – helping students visualize relationships and
• MathFlash! Provides a flashcard interactive program with a choices of the 4 operations
or mixed of all 4, easy to difficult, game or practice modes and in 1, 2 or 3 minutes
• Graph Paper- never buy it again! There are many sites that offer free graph paper or
programs to develop your own. Great to use with students who struggle lining up their
problems. Try Mathmatics Help Center or varied forms of graph paper at Print Free
• Incompetech offers on-line graph and grid paper in PDF format. There are various links
from this site to support your graphing needs.
• Talking Calculator by Premier Assistive Technology, offers a free full functioning "talking
calculator" that can be used with or without a screen reader. Every button and edit area
talks. It has large keys with contrasting colors. When students are required to show their
work, they can simply cut and paste the steps into a document.
• Edmark Algebra Calculator - Download a free algebra calculator which shows its work as
it solves its problem. Other on-screen calculators are available also.
• For a list of accommodations from Created by Teachers can be used during team
meetings for later referral when writing the I.E.P. It's a quick, easy reference that can be
filled out at the team meeting with input by all the service providers.
• From the A.D.D. Center this list contains a sampling of classroom
modifications/accommodations for students with ADD/ADHD.
• ToggleMouse lets you assign a keyboard action to anything the mouse does, so you can
point and click with your keys. It also lets you change your pointer and it hides the
mouse pointer while you type. You can record a mouse click and assign it to a keyboard
stroke-- you could even surf the Web or use Microsoft Word without ever touching your
mouse. It has many, many features for controlling mouse function. Programming the
“Panic Stopper” will allow you to ignore those repeated little mouse clicks some
students insist on. Do a search to find this Freeware as it is available but the company
has quit producing it.
• BabyMouse and BabyBoard - 3.30 Block right mouse click menus, wheel scrolls,
windows key, alt tab, etc. BabyMouse is runs in the background and catches all right
clicks, mouse wheel scrolls before they reach the program you are working with. Merge
all mouse buttons to one!
There is an On-Screen Keyboard bundled in with Windows XP. There are limitations however. If
you need more than what it can offer, you might try one of these:
• Dasher is a text-entry interface, driven by natural continuous pointing gestures to be
used when operating a computer one-handed, by joystick, touchscreen, trackball,
mouse, by head-mouse or by eyetracker, or on a palmtop computer.
• Click-N-Type is an on-screen virtual keyboard designed for anyone with a disability that
prevents him or her from typing on a physical computer keyboard. As long as the person
can control a mouse, trackball or other pointing device, he or she can send keystrokes to
virtually any Windows application or DOS application that can run within a window.
Click-N-Type is a 32-bit application that requires Windows 95 or later. Freeware
• KeyStrokes for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X is a fully-functional advanced virtual on-screen
keyboard that allows you to type with a mouse, trackball, head pointer or other mouse
emulator to type characters into any standard Macintosh application. Demo version
Not everyone can afford MS Office. This is a wonderful alternative!
• Open Office is a multi-platform office productivity suite. It includes the key desktop
applications such as a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation manager and drawing
program with a user interface and feature set similar to other office suites.
Sophisticated and flexible, it also works with a variety of file formats, including those of
These are a few of the sites available to help learn sign language. There are more out there…
worth searching through.
• For $5 a month you can have access to Hand Speak with over 2,150 signs, Baby Sign,
International Sign, Stock Trader Sign, Animal Sign sections and Sign Stories Articles.
• Want to learn how to finger spell quickly. This site will provide a word, you type in the
answer and check to see if you are correct. Great practice if you already know your
• ALS Lesson Tutor will help students or staff to learn American Sign Language (ASL) and
Signed English (SE) by working through lessons.
• A Basic Dictionary of ASL Terms offers a few American Sign Language terms to help
those of you who are trying to communicate with a person who signs. Also included is
the basic alphabet and numbers 1-10.
• www.symbolworld.org has many on-line stories, some recipes, poetry, news stories, etc.
written and supported with picture icons. Wonderful!
• www.imaginesymbols.com is designed for communication use and as clipart for
worksheets or wherever you may need visual support. They advertise to have 4000
• www.dotolearn.com has printable resources for schedules, picture cards and activities.
There are many developed resources ready to be printed for your use.
• www.usevisualstrategies.com/pictures.html has pictures available in the following
categories: hygiene, housekeeping, schedule cards and emotions & self management.
These are realistic pictures that would be great to use with older clients.
• Tinsnips is a special education resource that strives to share a variety of specialized
teaching tools, techniques, worksheets, and activities with teachers of students who
have autistic spectrum disorders and related developmental disabilities. Many of these
activities may be appropriate for Pre-K and Kindergarten children.
• Tangible Symbol Systems were designed for people who are unable to understand the
meaning of the abstract symbols used in formal language systems.
• Carbon Lehigh Intermediate is a great resource. Go to “Launch Assistive Technologies
Resource CD” then to “PowerPoint Ideas”. There are several already made PowerPoint
presentations designed for switch users. (Many other great resources available here
also.) This is a free resource.
• On the ARCESS.com site, by signing up, you may download 3 free accessible games.
• On this site you will find various links, many directly linked to switch activities. A good
site to explore further.
• This site was designed by a mom… Hiyah is used to express greeting of another person
and is the name of her site. This educational software is made for children 18 months to
4 years of age (or higher for children struggling with language delays due to autism or
• Please Read 2003 English, Spanish, German, French, UK English for Windows
95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP Freeware. Works in word processing programs and in e-mail.
• BrowseAloud by TextHelp reads web pages aloud for people who find it difficult to read
online. Reading large amounts of text on screen can be difficult for those with literacy
and visual impairments.
• Convenience Ware introduces GhostReader is a multilingual speech solution for Mac OS
X that allows you to listen to your documents with naturally sounding voices in a
language of choice. Or use it to create your own personal podcasts or your own audio
books by exporting to iPod ready iTunes tracks. Or just use it to speak selected text in a
handy reader window with play, fast forward and rewind functionality. It even allows
you to listen to text by just pointing your cursor at the text as you sit back and relax
while TextParrot reads the text under the cursor.
• Talk-To-Me for Windows. Will read your E-Mail, Instant Messages, web pages, letters
and documents. Send Animated Messages to friends. Greet you daily with the date,
time, and a personal message and set alarms to remind you of events. www.talk-to-
• Mac Users try Text-Edit Plus is a styled text editor that fills the gap between Apple's bare
bones SimpleText and a full-featured word processor. (Shareware)
• Natural Voice Reader - software that converts text into voice. Reads text directly from
other applications, without copying or pasting. Can also convert text files into MP3 or
WAV files for use on portable devices like iPod, CD players and PocketPCs.
• CyberBuddy at has Microsoft Agents that are animated characters that can move
around the screen and talk to you. Keep reminders and get your attention when a
reminder is due, Instant Message (like ICQ) with speech and animation, Send Voice
Messages and more.
• WordWeb is a Thesaurus and dictionary for Windows which includes a comprehensive
English thesaurus and dictionary, and can be used to look up words from within most
programs. WordWeb works from a small icon in your system tray. To look up a word in
almost any program just double-click on the word to select it, then click the WordWeb
icon or use the keyboard shortcut. If you are editing a document you can select a
synonym and replace the look-up word.
• Fact Monster is an on-line Atlas, Almanac, Dictionary, and Encyclopedia.
• With Google Calendar, you can see your friends' and family's schedules right next to
your own; quickly add events mentioned in Gmail conversations or saved in other
calendar applications; and add other interesting events that you find online. Go to
Google and then to more and to Calendar.
• There are several desktop clocks and alarms available. More than anyone ever thought
• Child Control 2005 is an optimal parental control for all Windows-PCs (incl. XP). Set time
limits for the PC and/or the Internet and block/filter unwanted Internet contents. Limit
access to internal Windows components and personal folders.
• Adobe Reader with the Read Out Loud component feature reads aloud the text in a PDF,
including the text in comments and alternate text descriptions for images and fillable
fields. Read Out Loud uses the available voices installed on your system. If you have SAPI
4 or SAPI 5 voices installed from text-to-speech or language applications, you can
choose them to read your PDFs.
• Although Adobe Reader is a free download, Adobe Writer is not. CutePDF Writer is the
free version of commercial PDF creation software. CutePDF Writer installs itself as a
"printer subsystem". This enables virtually any Windows applications to create
professional quality PDF documents .
• Bavisoft has changed the computer gaming industry. In place of graphics, audio games
are powered purely with sound imagery, opening a world of entertainment for the blind
and visually impaired. Bavisoft provides game players with music and sound quality,
creating a gaming experience.
• There are many magnifying software programs available that are completely free. Each
one is a little different and the descriptions are pretty good. You can also break it down
for Mac, PC, Lenux or Palm OS.
• Lens - Magnifying Glass 1.5 is a free tool enhances Windows built-in zoom feature by
magnifying anything on your screen up to 64 times. The cleverly designed interface
looks exactly like a real-world magnifying glass and lets you zoom in or out by clicking an
icon or pressing a hot key. However, you ll need to right-click to access some of this
application s settings; we would have preferred a button on the main window. In
addition to the default look, Lens - Magnifying Glass also comes with several skins,
including one with huge controls that some folks may find easier to use.
• Magnifying Glass 1 is a simple utility which zooms region of screen under mouse cursor.
Magnifying Glass useful for PC connected to TV-set or to the monitor with old phosphor.
This utility differs from many others by set of unique features various contrast modes,
various position modes, transparency. Platforms: Windows 9x/2000/XP.
• BlindSoftware offers free activities of several programs. Example: Funk in the Trunk is a
free full-version download of a virtual car stereo, which teens will love.
• Perky Duck is a computer based Perkins Brailler emulator. It is designed to be used for
distance education programs, particularly Internet-based situations. It allows Windows
and Macintosh users to create electronic Braille files on their computer through six key
input. These Braille files can then be printed, embossed or emailed to an instructor,
proctor, etc. for examination and grading. Perky Duck has no translation capabilities and
very little formatting -- essentially space bar, back space, and return key.
Don’t forget that each operating system comes with its own supports, “To enable people and
businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.” To learn more about the built-in
solutions that is available on your computer:
www.microsoft.com/enable/products/default.aspx for PC computers using Microsoft products.
www.apple.com/disability for Macintosh users.
Final, Final Word… Other links for AT Freeware
If this didn’t give you what you need, try the following (these are great resources!):
Macintosh - trace.wisc.edu/world/computer_access/mac/macshare.html
Windows - trace.wisc.edu/world/computer_access/win95/win95sha.html
For even more: http://adaptech.dawsoncollege.qc.ca/fandi_e.php