What is Screen Access Software?
Screen reading software
Translates accessibly-coded digital information (both text and alt text) into both speech and braille. Speech access requires speakers or other audio output. Braille access requires a connection with a refreshable braille display.
Screen magnification software
Allows the user to magnify the computer screen. More advanced software allows the user to magnify the mouse pointer and cursors, change color schemes, split the screen and pinpoint what is magnified, highlight text where the cursor is, and other functions.
Freedom Scientific® Screen Access Software
Freedom Scientific offers high-quality screen access software. Here are its three offerings:
JAWS® screen reading software
JAWS is screen reading software that is both rich and robust. Freedom Scientific provides a wealth of resources for JAWS users. (I’ll send an updated list soon.)
ZoomText® screen magnification software
ZoomText is powerful screen magnification software with many advanced features that put you, the user, in control of what the computer screen displays and how you navigate it. Additionally, ZoomText has some basic screen reading capabilities.
Fusion® screen reading AND screen magnification software
Fusion combines both JAWS and ZoomText to provide access to both screen reading and screen magnification. Many resources for Fusion are found in the JAWS and ZoomText sections above.
Obtaining JAWS or ZoomText for qualifying students under Federal Quota
- JAWS from APH (APH Catalog number D-11002-ED: $99 per year)
- ZoomText from APH (APH Catalog number D-11003-ED: $89 per year)
Individual purchase of annual licenses
- $15 membership in the NOPBC (National Organization of Parents of Blind Children)
- Automatically includes FREE Freedom Scientific software, an annual home license for JAWS, Fusion, or ZoomText (U.S. only). Exclusive to NOPBC members, this free license is worth $85-170, depending on software chosen.
- This annual license may be used on up to three devices (Windows OS laptops or computers)
Other JAWS Features
JAWS Voice Assistant
In addition to keyboard commands, one can control JAWS with voice commands using the JAWS Voice Assistant. Find out more in the Bridges Resource Library’s JAWS Voice Assistant Information entry.
J-Say software offers a great option for using speech-to-text software with JAWS screen reading software.
- However, it is not terribly user-friendly.
- J-Say may be a good option for some students, but note that it might not be appropriate for students new to JAWS.
Reach out to the Bridges Helpdesk for more information and assistance.
Contact the Bridges Helpdesk for More Information
- Our Accessible web form
- Email: Helpdesk@imagemd.org
- Text: Send to: (410) 357-1546
- Voice mail: Call (410) 357-1546, leave a voice mail message, and we will return your call
This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.
Updated as of September 29, 2023.