I recently worked with a family that utilized “JAWS” computer software and thought I would share the information since several people are unfamiliar with the JAWS program and asked “What is JAWS?” I assure you it is not associated with the movie that produced the infamous line “We are going to need a bigger boat….”
JAWS stands for Job Access With Speech. It is a Microsoft program that allows blind and visually impaired users to read a computer screen with a text-to-speech output or by a refreshable braille display. The program is great but it requires training provided by someone who has experience using the program. JAWS is produced by the Blind and Low Vision Group of Freedom Scientific. JAWS converts a computer into a talking computer. It reads out all the matter that is on the computer’s screen through the computer’s sound card, providing access to a wide range of informative, educational, and job-related applications. This program makes it possible for the blind or visually impaired user to independently use the computer in many forums including school, college, university or the workplace. More information on the JAWS software may be found at www.freedomscientific.com
Some insurance companies and waiver programs have historically covered the cost of the software but families need to be sure to ask carriers whether the plan will cover the training. The training is an important aspect to successfully utilizing the software. I would be interested in hearing from individuals who have utilized JAWS.