Commonly Assigned Accommodations

Disability Services offers a variety of accommodations for students to have an equitable college experience.

The following are typical accommodations offered to students at Occidental College. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list. Please contact the Disability Services Office for more information.

Testing Accommodations

  • Extended time
  • The use of a computer or assistive technology
  • Reduced distraction testing environment
  • The use of a calculator
  • The use of a spell checker

Classroom Accommodations

  • Notetaker - If you have a letter specifying you receive Note-Taker accommodations click here to submit your request for note-takers
  • Printed material in alternate format
  • The use of a tape recorder during lectures
  • The use of a computer during class sessions

Other Accommodations

  • Alternative courses for College requirements
  • Reduced courseload
  • Housing
  • Access to facilities and programs

Supportive Technology

Software for Dictating

Dragon Speaking Naturally 10 (for Windows with a Vista operating platform/program): Dictates 140-160 words per minute. It responds to a list of basic commands for punctuation and grammar.

Read Please!: A free text-into-speech software program for Windows, available online: It reads text via Windows Clipboard from any program.

Software for Reading

Natural Reader 10: A free text to speech software available at

Victor Reader: A program that reads aloud; textbooks that have been scanned onto CDs are available on the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) computers.

Scan & Read Pro: This program enables textbooks to be scanned via Microsoft Office Document Scanning, then copied and pasted into Microsoft Word.

Learning Ally (RFB&D) Subscription (Reading for the Blind & Dyslexic): Textbooks made available for listening on CD, enabling students with learning or print (visual/physical disability that inhibits effective access to printed information) disabilities to access the very same textbook version that their classmates use. Requested books are read by volunteers and burned onto CD. Students will need to visit the CAE and use a special device that is provided by Learning Ally (RFB&D) that is required to play the CDs.

Premier Literacy Suite 12: A package of multiple software programs that are accessible online, including but not limited to:

Universal Reader Plus (network version): This program is a talking pointer, that reads email, Microsoft Word documents, and web pages by selecting what the user wants it to read and clicking on the floating toolbar to start reading. The talking pointer works by using the mouse cursor to point at any text on the internet that the user wants to read and it also translates the text into to several different languages -- English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German -- by pressing "control-F6."

Talking word-processor: This program has text-to-speech capability that converts electronic documents into a portable compact audio file. It is compatible with all standard word-processor files including the latest versions of Microsoft Word, standard text, and Rich Text Formats (WordPerfect); talking grammar check; text-to-audio; Scan & Read Pro.

E-Text Reader: This program is a reading tool that opens and reads any document on the user's computer. Users can read at any speed and make notes into the document they are reading. Additionally, it allows users to cut and paste from any program on the computer. The E-Text Reader can read any document in Standard Text, MS Word, RTF ("Rich Text Format") and HTML formats.

Information Summarizations

Talking Dictionary: This program contains over 250,000 words, terms, jargon, and proper nouns that are read aloud to the user.

Talking checkbook: This program functions as a "talking calculator" for basic math functions and can be used with or without a screen reader. This user-friendly system has large keys and contrasting colors. It has multiple display areas so users can see the numbers being entered, the current total, any numbers in memory, and the history of the calculations for the current process.

PDF Equalizer: This program allows users to access, read, and alter/edit PDF files. It also has the ability to translate languages. For more information, please visit

Software for Writing

Inspiration 6: This program helps with outlining, pre-writing, and diagramming written assignments.

LiveScribe Pen: This pen records what users are listening to and links it to what they are writing. This system allows users to go back to the specific place in the lecture, speech, etc., and fill in information they missed while taking notes. The program requires use of special paper that accompanies the pen. For more information, please visit


Last updated: May 12, 2015