Talk it Up with Speech Recognition Assistive Technology

Dragon Naturally Speaking
Dragon Naturally Speaking

Speech recognition programs convert spoken words into text.  They can also use voice commands to control computer applications.  This technology provides accessibility to anyone who may not be able to easily utilize a keyboard or a mouse.

As you might imagine, speech recognition is not always completely accurate.  It is important to remember when using such a program to be patient and consider all of the factors that could lead to mistakes.  For example, investing in a microphone that filters out background noise will help your speech recognition program identify your voice.

Realize that speaking to your computer is not the same as holding a conversation with another person.  It is imperative that you annunciate clearly and avoid mumbling or slurring your words.  In normal conversations, we take for granted our understanding of context, and will often leave out words and expect the other person to fill in the gaps.  Because softwares don’t share our common sense, they cannot interpret what you are leaving out.  AbilityHub suggests listening to newscasters to get a good feel for speaking clearly and naturally.

Dragon Naturally Speaking by Nuance is a popular speech recognition software used today.  With it, you can surf the web, write and send e-mail, and edit documents without ever having to touch a mouse or keyboard.  Interested in trying it out?  The INDATA Loan Library would gladly loan you a copy!  For more information, contact Carol Girt at cgirt@eastersealscrossroads.org.