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CWU Senior Creating a Buzz With Program to Help Visually Impaired Students

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A senior at Central Washington University has created a computer program that will make life a lot easier for those who have reading difficulties with documents on a computer.

Spencer Graffe, a computer science major, has developed Central Access Reader (CAR) which is a free text-to-speech reader program.

Created with the help of Marshall Sunnes, Central Access program coordinator, and Wendy Holden, Disability and Accessibility Consultant, the program is designed to help students with visual impairments, dyslexia or other conditions understand difficult documents that other text-readers cannot handle. It especially focuses on those documents with equations or symbols.

Graffe originally undertook this project as a senior capstone, but was eventually hired by the school to finish his work.

According to a press release, the program uses an intuitive interface, while allowing for customization to help the user, especially when it comes to math-related documents.

CAR is able to read documents that contain symbols from geometry and trigonometry, linear algebra, calculus, math, logic, or statistics.

Both Mac and PC users have access to CAR at the school which prides itself on helping students with disabilities.

The program has also received national attention with other institutions, including MIT and Harvard, inquiring about it.

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