Don’t pirate software, use free stuff instead

Thunderbird mail reader works well with Jaws 13 and above, and probably older versions, though I haven’t tested those earlier versions. Thunderbird works much like Outlook, but is free. Google docs, also free, works well with Voiceover on iOS devices.

Windows screen readers

Time to ditch JAWS. If you have been paying for the yearly upgrades for JAWS, this might be the time to quit. NVDA is now "ready for prime time". Non Visual Desktop Access is a free screen reader for Windows users. It works with anything from XP to Windows 10. The developers request a donation, and I highly suggest it you use NVDA, that you give them something. This screen reader has been getting better and better over the past 11 years, when I first tried it. You'll find that Firefox is the best browser to go with NVDA, and you can get a copy at It can also be installed on a flash drive to allow you a portable copy for use on any computer. There is nothing which gets installed in the system file, so NVDA doesn't interfere with Windows. The commands are very close to those for JASW and System Access.
The other free option is to use Windows 10 Narrator. Don't laugh, it is now very useful, but the commands are quite different than others you might have learned.
List of shortcuts for Narrator
JAWS, NVDA and Narrator can make use of the touch screen by using gestures to navigate.

I found something useful for cellphones

One of my friends has all the first joints missing from the hand which he holds his cellphone. He just got a HUGE phone, but it is very difficult and painful for him to hold. The device I found is called "Lazy Hands" It comes in a 2 or 3 loop version–available from amazon. You stick the device to the back of your phone, or phone case, and slip your fingers into the loops.

My Soap Box

I’m exasperated by the high price of specialized technology for people with disabilities, and frustrated because government agencies, at least the ones I know about, frequently recommend the most expensive of all the available options. So I want to show people how to have technology which can help them without it costing a fortune.

My specialty is teaching adults, though sometimes children, with disabilities how to use computers and other technology devices to better their lives and give them a chance of getting a job or going to school. I was, for nine years, the Technology Manager at a disability agency based in Nashville, TN. During that time I’ve had plenty of opportunity to explore various specialized devices and software for people with disabilities. While much of this software and hardware is very good, the cost is so expensive as to put it out of reach for the people who really need it. Even if the insurance company will buy the device, the family is left with the $500-800 a year repair contract. This brings me to the point of my site; a place to explain how mainstream software and devices can be used for those with disabilities without paying the exorbitant prices for specialty products.

Most of my students are blind or have low vision. Some have no speech, some have little or no use of their hands, while others have intellectual challenges. The thing that all these people have in common is that using a computer can help them communicate and learn in a way that was only a dream 10 or 15 years ago.

I’m available for speaking engagements.