Student Project


How does speech (voice) recognition software assist the disabled?

In the "modern" computer age people are communicating, consuming, working and being entertained at faster speeds each passing day. However, many employees or home users are hampered by something many of us take for granted: the use of their hands. Computer software that interprets the sound patterns created by our voices has started to bring some equality to computer users. Speech Recognition software is not only becoming more affordable but also more practical due to continuing advances in technology. The potential need for these tools appears evident when simply paired with the fact that nearly half of all adults with disabilities who use the Internet are reporting much greater quality of life than those with out disabilities (Taylor).

Armed with a microphone and a computer trained to recognize their voices, people can now dictate letters, write novels, navigate the internet, and even command household or workplace devices. Speech Recognition has come a long way from being simply a special feature in science-fiction stories to real world employment in households and offices around the world. While it may not yet be as powerful as those in the stories of the future world, but it has made a difference for many who might otherwise be unable to sieze newer opportunities.


Search Terms
speech recognition
voice recognition



Cleere, Sue and Jacki Rudd. "Don't Type? Simply Talk to Your PC." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 11 June 2000: P1. InfoTrac Full Text Newspapers. GaleGroup. Skyline College Library. 6 Nov. 2004. <>.

Cleeton, Lorraine and Gilbert Cleeton. "Using Snapout With Visually Impaired Users to Introduce Speech Recognition Training." Technology and Persons With Disabilities Conference. Mar. 2002. California State University Northridge. Mar. 2002. Center On Disabilities. 23 Nov. 2004. <http://ww>.

The Cleetons both have doctorates and are very active in their field. Lorraine is Assistant Professor of Special Education at St. Bonaventure University's Department of Special Education in New York. Gilbert is Director of Adaptability with "Adaptive Technology For Individuals With Disabilities" in England. The Technology and Persons With Disabilities Conference is hosted by California State University Northridge in conjunction with the Center On Disabilities. This conference is attended by numerous doctors, medical professionals, academics, etc. The conference is referenced by many disability web sites and organizations, including the Bridge School and thus appears to have quite the reputation.

Gilman, Dan J. "Description of Speech Recognition." Ability Hub. 23 Nov. 2004. <>.

Hard y, Michael. "Agencies Keep Assistive Tech at Forefront: New Ways to Help Disabled Federal Workers Do Their Jobs." Federal Computer Week 26 July 2004: 40. InfoTrac OneFile. GaleGroup. Skyline College Library. 1 Nov. 2004. <>.

Governme nt Computer News (GCN) is the technology newspaper for the government, providing news and reviews of IT products and applications. GCN was the first government IT publication to have an on-site test lab. GCN claims to be the technology periodical for federal, state and local government. While this may be marketing speak, they certainly focus their articles and research on the target audience. Governmental computer use is fairly strictly regulated and they appear to have established a trust in this niche market.

Jablokov, Igor. "From Unique to Universal: Speech Technology Goes Mainstream." Bank Technology News June 2004: 56. InfoTrac OneFile. GaleGroup. Skyline College Library. 1 Dec. 2004. <>.

LaFleur, Jennifer. "Technology Helps At Home, On the Road and At Work." St. Louis Post-Dispatch 4 Sep. 2000: A8. InfoTrac Full Text Newspapers. GaleGroup. Skyline College Library. 6 Nov. 2004. <>.

Lazzaro, Joseph J. Adaptive Technologies for Learning & Work Environments. Chicago: American Library Association, 1993.

Muldoon, Katy. "Voice-Recognition Software Gives Disabled 5-Year-Old Chance to Tell Her Story." Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News 2 Apr. 2003: ITEM03092012. InfoTrac OneFile. GaleGroup. Skyline College Library. 1 Nov. 2004. <>.

Taylor, Humphrey. "How the Internet Is Improving the Lives of Americans With Disabilities." Harris Interactive: The Harris Poll. 7 June 2000. Creators Syndicate, Inc. 2000. 1 Dec. 2004. <>.

The Harris Poll is one of the largest, well established and widely cited reputable pollsters in the nation, if not the world. Harris is used for a vastly diverse array of topics including: economics, entertainment, foreign affairs, healthcare, political issues, science and sports.

Vicente, Kim. The Human Factor: Revolutionizing the Way People Live With Technology. New York: Routledge, 2004.


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last revised: 12-7-04 by Eric Brenner, Skyline College, San Bruno, CA

These materials are copyrighted, but may be used for educational purposes if you inform and credit the author and cite the source as: LSCI 106 Computerized Research. All commercial rights are reserved. Send comments or suggestions to: Eric Brenner at