Tech News - JAWS

Written by Becca Wells

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It is wonderful how easy it is to do our Christmas shopping online. Now days everything is at your fingertips, from paying your bills to your grocery shopping. Things cannot get any easier. We love using our computers, tablets and smart phones for everything in our daily lives. Technology is a great tool that has helped our ever increasingly chaotic lives become easier. Why go to the store when you can order it online and have someone deliver it to you. It is like our lives have become a pizza delivery service.

Now just think if you did not have sight, how would one locate everything online? Would it be confusing, causing frustration and a feeling of defeat? We know from experience helping those who have visual impairments or reading difficulties to operate a computer or to navigate the internet is difficult. The free navigation software that comes with most computers are not adequate for those we help and can be confusing for the staff helping them. It is not bad software, it is just not helpful for those we support at Aspire. We have discovered a program that works amazingly well for us…but it is quite expensive. The program is called JAWS (Job Access with Speech). JAWS is a computer screen reader program for Microsoft Windows that allows blind and visually impaired users to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output OR by a refreshable Braille display! It is easy to use and allows a person to be able to utilize their computers like any other person. People are then able to pay bills, shop on Amazon, browse Facebook or even complete their grocery shopping and have it all delivered.  This will make any task easy and accessible.

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If you have a loved one that you feel could benefit from this program and are thinking about assisting them in purchasing it, consider having the whole family pitch in to alleviate the expense, since it costs $900 per computer.

If you are interested in helping Aspire be able to purchase JAWS programs for their computers, check out Aspire’s Wishlist or contact our Foundation Development Director, Janae Hamilton at jhamilton@aspiresd.org or 605-229-0263 ext. 1007.

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