Assistive Software in English: Knowledge and Terminology


Assistive software plays a crucial role in enhancing accessibility and inclusivity for individuals with disabilities. This article aims to provide an overview of different types of assistive software in English and the corresponding terminology used to describe them. The content structure will include a brief introduction to assistive software, followed by a categorization of various types of assistive software, and finally, a discussion on the terminology associated with them.

I. Introduction to Assistive Software:

Assistive software refers to computer programs or applications designed to assist individuals with disabilities in performing various tasks. It can help individuals with visual impairments, hearing impairments, physical disabilities, cognitive impairments, and learning disabilities. Assistive software often incorporates features such as screen readers, text-to-speech converters, magnifiers, voice recognition, alternative input methods, and specialized educational tools.

II. Categorization of Assistive Software:

1. Screen Readers:

Screen readers are software programs that convert on-screen text into synthesized speech or Braille output, enabling individuals with visual impairments to access and interact with computer systems. Popular screen readers include JAWS (Job Access With Speech), NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access), and VoiceOver.

2. Text-to-Speech Converters:

Text-to-speech (TTS) converters are programs that convert written text into spoken words. These software applications are beneficial for individuals with visual impairments or reading difficulties. Examples of TTS converters are NaturalReader, Read&Write, and Balabolka.

3. Magnification Software:

Magnification software provides the ability to enlarge on-screen content, making it easier for individuals with visual impairments to read and navigate. Popular magnification software includes ZoomText, MAGic, and SuperNova.

4. Voice Recognition Software:

Voice recognition software enables users to control their computers or perform tasks using spoken commands. It is particularly useful for individuals with physical disabilities or those who have difficulty using traditional input devices. Prominent voice recognition software includes Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Windows Speech Recognition, and Google Voice Typing.

5. Alternative Input Methods:

Alternative input methods refer to software or hardware solutions that provide alternatives to standard keyboard and mouse input. These methods can include on-screen keyboards, eye-tracking systems, head pointers, and sip-and-puff devices. Examples of alternative input software are Dasher, Click-N-Type, and Tobii Dynavox.

6. Specialized Educational Tools:

Specialized educational tools are assistive software designed specifically to aid individuals with learning disabilities or cognitive impairments. These tools often include features such as text-to-speech, word prediction, mind mapping, and organizational aids. Notable specialized educational tools include Kurzweil 3000, Read&Write for Education, and Co:Writer.

III. Terminology Associated with Assistive Software:

1. Accessibility: The degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is accessible to individuals with disabilities.

2. Inclusivity: The concept of ensuring equal access and opportunities for individuals with disabilities, promoting their full participation in all aspects of life.

3. Assistive Technology: The broader term encompassing any device, equipment, or software used to enhance the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

4. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): Systems and tools that assist individuals with communication disabilities in expressing themselves, such as text-to-speech software, communication boards, and speech-generating devices.

5. Universal Design: The design of products, environments, and systems that are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.


Assistive software plays a vital role in promoting accessibility and inclusivity for individuals with disabilities. By understanding the different types of assistive software and the associated terminology, we can better comprehend the tools and technologies available to support individuals with disabilities in their daily lives.