Resources for Disabled Staff

The following list provides details of supportive software and apps that can be used free of charge. In the first instance, try these out. If you find you need more support then contact Access to Work, (ATW is funding from central government to support disabled people in the workplace). ATW will send out an assessor to review your work environment and specific needs. To contact ATW you need to apply as an individual through your local Job Centre.

Thanks to the Manchester Met Disability Service for supplying this information via the Disabled Staff Forum.

Windows 7 Accessibility Features

The Windows 7 “Control Panel” contains the “Ease of Access Center”. This has many tools to help you change your computer settings so that the computer is easier to use. For example, you can make content on the screen easier to see, learn how to use the computer without a mouse or keyboard, and make the mouse and keyboard easier to use.
To access the “Ease of Access Center”

  • Click the “Start” button and select “Control Panel
  • Click the “Ease of Access” link
  • Click “Ease of Access Center” link

There is quick access to the common tools such as

  • The Magnifier,
  • Narrator
  • On-screen Keyboard
  • Set up High Contrast

There is also an “Explore all settings” section that contains links that will help you make changes to your computer settings so that pages are easier to see and use with a mouse or keyboard.
Changes that you make to the computer settings will be remembered so that next time you log in the computer will be easier to use.
You can also use these tools to undo any changes you have made and return to the original computer settings.

Ability Net provide factsheets to support you with changing the settings on your computer.

Time Management and Organisation

OneNote - OneNote is an online digital notebook provided by Microsoft. This is available by searching in the programs menu of your university computer.  Notes can be organised into sections.

Sticky Notes – Electronic post it notes for your computer screen. Is an app built into Windows 10. Search for sticky notes in programs search bar/menu.

Google Keep – This is an organisation tool which can be used to compile “to do lists”. You will need to sign in through Google to access this.

Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation

University of Bristol – Provide an on-line resource to develop your understanding of grammar and punctuation. Support is provided through a series of exercises. This is free to access: University of Briston Grammar Tutorial »

Grammarly – Software that finds and corrects grammatical mistakes, and helps to detect plagiarism. This is free to download on Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers from the  Grammarly website. Please contact IT Services if you would like this software installed on your university computer.

Screen Reading and Read Aloud Software

Texthelp Read and Write Gold – Has a number of useful functions, it can read aloud emails and documents and provide text prediction. It can be particularly helpful for proof reading. This software is already available through the university by contacting the I.T department.

NVDA (Non-visual Desktop Access) – a free screen reader available in 43 languages. The software reads the information on the screen out loud, enabling blind or visually impaired to access information on a computer screen. It can be downloaded to a PC or USB stick and is compatible with email, webpages, e-books, word, PowerPoint, excel etc. It can be accessed at NV Access website. Please contact IT Services if you would like this software installed on your university computer.

Coloured Overlays

ssOverlay - a freeware application developed by the University of Aberdeen designed to assist people with visual stress/scotopic sensitivity. It allows the user to alter the colour of the screen and is the electronic equivalent of placing a coloured overlay over a piece of paper. It can be accessed at the Software Informer website. Please contact IT Services if you would like this software installed on your university computer.

Mind Mapping Software for Planning Work

MindView - mind mapping software that allows you to visually brainstorm, organise and present ideas in the form of a mind map. As well as adding text notes, documents, videos, pictures and hyperlinks can also be added to your mind map. It is also possible to export information into a word document. This software is already available through the university by contacting the I.T department.

Storing Documents/Collaborative Working

OneDrive - One Drive allows you to store and share documents ‘in the cloud’ which can be useful for staff who need to work collaboratively on presentations or documents for example. Two people can work on a document at the same time and all changes will be saved. This is available on university computers as part of the Microsoft package.

Audio Recording

There are apps available on both android and apple devices that can be used as an alternative to a Digital Voice Recorder (DVR)  
Sonocent Recorder  – This is a iOS and android app that is free.