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Student Resources

There is a wide variety of resources at NOVA designed to assist students with disabilities.  NOVA has a variety of assistive technology, including software and hardware, and lists of apps and websites that students may find helpful. All of the assistive technology solutions listed are available at NOVA campus libraries, testing centers, and at many of the other NOVA labs (computer, math, tutoring, etc). Contact your local NOVA Campus to learn about hours and availability. You can also contact a NOVA Disability Services counselor to get information about how to request accommodations.

NOVA’s Definitions of Accommodations provides faculty, staff and students with guidelines for some of the most common accommodations provided by NOVA that are listed on the Memorandum of Accommodations (MOA).

Request for Math Substitution

NOVA rarely grants a substitution in transfer (AA/AS) for the math requirement for many reasons (there is more flexibility in AAS/AAA degrees because the minimum degree requirements state that a student must have math or science and it’s up to the faculty to decide which is more appropriate for a particular curriculum in those degrees).

NOVA’s minimum degree requirements include math because they reflect both SACS and VCCS standards. When senior institutions consider NOVA students for transfer, they assume the integrity of our degrees because NOVA made that promise to them in policy and in practice. Many of the senior institutions won’t accept NOVA’s graduates without math. George Mason is very specific about this. No math equals no admission, regardless of the reason. Failure to meet NOVA’s degree requirements voids the guaranteed admission agreement for those students.

Even though NOVA understands that many students have been exempted from math in the K-12 system, when we review the psychoeducational evaluations, we often see that the evaluator said that "math will be difficult for the student and that she/he will need additional support". NOVA can provide that support through tutoring, math centers and reasonable accommodations. Also, many evaluators report that the student is unable to do higher-level math. MTH 151-152 is not classified as higher-level math, and that is the required sequence in many transfer degrees. Where higher-level math is required, it's an essential element of the curriculum (such as engineering or computer science) and no substitution is possible.

Students can petition for a substitution and the committee will consider the request carefully based on each student’s individual needs. Students must provide supporting documents, including current psychoeducational evaluations, that clearly outline a math disability with recommended accommodations.

For students, staff or faculty needing Read&Write, send an email with your name, ID number, campus, email address and computer platform (PC or Mac) to disabilityservices@nvcc.edu to receive a take-home version.

For students needing alternated formatted text, please fill out the Request for Alternate Format Form 125-011 and email it to disabilityservices@nvcc.edu with your counselor’s name and a copy of your receipt.

For students needing note taker/reader/scribe services, please read the Volunteer Student Note Taking Services Policy and sign the Notetaker/Reader-Scribe Service Agreement Form 125-351. To learn about who could be a good reader or scribe, pelase take a look at the "Desirable skills fo ra good reader/scribe."

For students needing the support of a personal care assistant, please fill out Personal Care Assistant Agreement.   This form must be signed by the PCA and bought to the Disabilities Counselor at the campus they attend. The Disabilities Counselor will explain every responsibility to make sure that both the student and the PCA understand what their role is when helping a student with a disability.

NOTE: All requests must be from your student, staff or faculty NOVA email address. Requests from alternate email addresses will not be processed.


Apps for College Students

All Platform Apps

LiveSafe Mobile Safety App

App NameBrief Description
Adobe Reader View and interact with PDF files, including annotating, form filling and signing.
Anki App and computer program using friendly, intelligent flashcards with 6,000+ existing decks to learn.
AudioNote Synchronized note-taking and audio recording with ability to share files.
Blackboard Mobile App version of Blackboard.
d2u Dictation and Transcription Create and edit a digital recording then transcribe to a digital file (for iPhone and Blackberry devices).
Daisy Apps Apps for eBooks in DAISY format (and sometimes other file types).
Dictionary.com App Dictionary and thesaurus with voice-activated search.
Dragon Apps Apps using the Dragon Naturally Speaking software, including searching, texting and accessing other apps on your mobile device.
Google Translate Translate languages from around the world with voice-input, text-to-speech and dictionary options.
Kno All-in-one textbook app with over 70 features to study smarter.
myHomework Keep track of homework, projects, schedules and sync to all devices.
OpenDyslexic Multiple free apps and a downloadable font to make reading easier for people with dyslexia.
Overdrive On-the-go access to eBooks and audiobooks from your public, school or college library.
SaveMeeting Record any meeting, lecture or interview, use audio marks for important details, share the files and transcribe audio files.
SimpleMind Mind mapping tool that turns your phone or computer into a brainstorming, idea collection and thought structuring device.
Skitch Uses annotation, shapes and sketches to communicate visually with others.
STUDYBLUE Mobile and online flashcards.
TED Hundreds of talks from worldwide innovators.
TextGrabber + Translator Accurate text recognition from printed sources or images that allows the user to edit, search and share the information.

Android Apps

App NameBrief Description
Algeo Graphing calculator for Algebra and Calculus.
AnkiDroid Flashcards Create your own flashcards or download existing decks to learn on-the-go.
Calculus Quick Reference Calculus formulas and evaluation techniques.
CapturaTalk Optimal character recognition combined with text-to-speech and a dictionary improve understanding of written materials.
Cool Reader eBook reader with text-to-speech function.
Everstudent Student planner compatible with Evernote.
Extensive Notes A note-taking app full of over 50 features.
Note Everything A text-, voice-, and paint-notebook that allows organizing, deleting, sharing and many other customizations.
SoundAMP with Rec Customizable sound amplifying app with the ability to record and label each recording to find the one you need.
Spell Checker (+ voice input) Spell checker with a variety of languages and optional voice input method.
StayOnTask Random timer that ensures you are getting your work done.

iOS Apps

App NameBrief Description
AppWriter US AppWriter has many assistive features. including word prediction, text-to-speech and the special Dyslexie-font.
Brevity An ultrafast text editor and word predictor.
Fast Finga Converts hand written notes into text.
Formulas HD for Calculus A simple, easy to use, easy to navigate collection of the most important formulas and topics for college students.
GoodReader Super robust PDF reader for iPad.
Graphing Calculator Turns iPhone into a graphing calculator.
Hidden Curriculum for Adolescents and Adults Helps those on the autistic spectrum and those interacting with them learn how to deal with the hidden curriculum.
iAnnotate Read, annotate and share PDFs. Improve your productivety and organization.
iBooks Great way to download books from the iBookstore.
IdeaSketch Draw a diagram - mind map, concept map, or flow chart and convert it to a text outline.
inClass Organize your schedule, courses and semesters.
iThoughts Mind mapping tool for iPhone and iTouch.
Learning Ally DAISY reader that works with Learning Ally.
LookTel A variety of apps designed to allow users with visual impairments or blindness to identify money, identify everyday items or leave breadcrumbs along a travel route.
Noteability Integrates handwriting, PDF annotation, typing, recording and organizing to take notes your way then sync with Dropbox or Google Drive Sync.
PaperDesk Interactive notebook for typing, writing, recording and images.
Popplet Brainstorming, mindmapping, collaborating
Quick Voice Full-featured voice recorder that allows multi-tasking to record and use other apps at the same time.
Read 2 Me Full speech synthesis for a complete library of texts using the *.txt file format.
Read2Go eBook reader that works with Bookshare.org.
soundAMP Amplify sounds discreetly with this customizable hearing app.
Speak It! Text to speech for emails and other documents.
SpellChecker Spell checker with a variety of languages with English thesaurus.
Talking FlashCards Use while driving, running, walking to capitalize on down time.
TextMinder Schedule SMS text reminders to be sent to you at the times you specify, repeating as often as you choose.
Typ-O Powerful word prediction software that learns how you misspell words, correcting even the worst typos.
vBooks Voice Readers Reads uPub audiobooks and mobile PDFs outloud, including the use of the dyslexie font.
VisionAssist Video magnifier with ability to connect to larger monitor for people with vision impairments.
Voice Dream Reads text from a variety of files with universal access including Dyslexia font, Focused Reading Mode and customizable options for the visually impaired.
ZoomReader Magnify and read printed text.
Helpful Websites
Site NameBrief Description
Affordable Colleges Online An organization dedicated to providing free higher education tools and information for current and future college students and their families.
Anki App and computer program using friendly, intelligent flashcards with 6,000+ existing decks to learn.
Android Accessibility Features Guide to accessibility options and programs for Android platform devices.
Apple Accessibility Features Guide to accessibility options and programs for your Apple devices, including OS X and iOS systems.
Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities COSD focuses on improving the employment rate of college students and recent graduates with disabilities.
ConnectorR A mobile phone holder that can be worn on your arm, belt or mounted in your car.
Dept. for the Blind & Vision Impaired Provides services and resources to individuals who are blind, vision impaired or blind to achieve success in education, employment and personal independence.
ELIfe The NOVA blog for our Extended Learning Institute that includes reminders and tips helpful for any NOVA student.
Evernote Stay Organized-Take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders, searchable.
Google Accessibility Features Guide to accessibility options and programs for Google products, including options in the Android platform.
Google Docs Equations Easily insert mathematical equations into Google documents, Gmail and more.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN) JAN provides free consulting services for individuals with limitations that affect employment.
Kno All-in-one textbook app with over 70 features to study smarter.
MacKichan scientific programs Three different programs to create, edit and typeset mathematical and scientific text. Work with Dragon Naturally Speaking.
MathCast Equation Editor A mathematics equation editor. Type in equations then add to documents, emails, etc. Simple graphical interface, MathML support and more.
MathPlayer Math-to-speech technology with thousands of specialized speech rules to make the math sound more natural in 15 languages.
Math Talk Speech-to-text technology for mathematics that works with Dragon Naturally Speaking.
myHomework Keep track of homework, projects, schedules and sync to all devices.
National Federation of the Blind An organization that develops programs to provide the blind and those losing their vision with the tools they need.
NCWD Youth National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability (NCWD) provides information about employment to youth with disabilities.
NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) A free, open source screen reader for Microsoft Windows that can be used from a USB drive.
oh, don't forget… An online tool that sends a text reminder at a specific date/time for due dates, appointments and more.
OpenDyslexic Multiple free apps and a downloadable font to make reading easier for people with dyslexia.
Overdrive On-the-go access to eBooks and audiobooks from your public, school or college library.
pepnet2 An organization for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing that provides resources during postsecondary education and into the workforce.
PTSD Coach Tips on how to manage symptoms after trauma.
SimpleMind Mind mapping tool that turns your phone or computer into a brainstorming, idea collection and thought structuring device.
Skitch Uses annotation, shapes and sketches to communicate visually with others.
STUDYBLUE Study tools for computers and phones that includes a searchable library, flashcards, a digital backpack and the ability to sync with Evernote.
Taking Notes: Detailed Ignore the blog title, this entry is detailed with taking notes on a computer and paper, different methods, what to do before and after taking notes and more.
Taking Notes: Quick Five main points to take notes by hand.
TED Hundreds of talks from worldwide innovators.
Video Magnifier (IPAT ND) How to turn your iPad (or tablet!) into a high-end video magnifier.
VA DARS Consumer VR program VA's Vocational Rehabilitation program assists people who are having trouble getting or keeping a job because of their disability.
Viscardi Center Provides a lifespan of programs and services that educate, employ and empower people with disabilities.
Windows Accessibility Features Guide to accessibility options and programs to make it easier to see, hear and use your PC.
Livescribe Smartpen

This smartpen can substitute as a tape recorder. Its features include a built-in speaker and microphone, memory storage and a small display to navigate its applications. It works with specially-designed paper that allows you to link recordings with bookmarks and save files to a livescribe connect and to your computer.

For more information, please click here.

For information on how a livescribe smartpen can help you in college including video tutorials and FAQ click here.

To print additional livescribe dot paper go to the livescribe page.

For support, please click here.


Read&Write (R&W) is a program designed to help challenged readers and writers to improve reading fluency and comprehension. It offers features such as text-to-speech software that helps you read text while listening with each word being highlighted. You can select your preferred voice, pitch, speed and volume to suit their individual needs. Other reading support features include a pronunciation tutor, dictionary and a screenshot reader that facilitates access to external applications or PDF files.

R&W supports study skills by offering Fact Finder, a feature that can help you find information on the Internet by highlighting a word in the text. All information gathered from the Internet can be saved in a special folder, automatically producing a bibliography of information sources, allowing you to add date, author, and category name for future use and proper citation. This program also comes in a mobile mode using a flash drive.

R&W has video tutorials and information on their websites.


To request support, please call R&W Tech Support Phone: 888.248.2479 or email them at:

Support Inquiries: us-support@texthelp.com
General Inquiries: u.s.info@texthelp.com

Screen Readers

Screen readers are computer programs that allow blind and visually impaired users to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output or by a Refreshable Braille display. It uses keyboard commands and gets confused if a user tries to use the mouse.

JAWS or Windows-Eyes are installed on select computers throughout campus. One of the programs is installed on one computer in the library, testing center and the main open computer lab. Others are installed depending on student need, for example, math labs, tutoring and learning centers. Students should address concerns to their Disability Services’ Counselor if it is not available, and faculty and staff need to contact HR for employee computers.

The JAWS screen reader provides access to software applications and Internet sites for students with visual impairments. JAWS supports standard Windows applications and uses speech synthesizers in 24 languages. It comes with an audio installation option, making it easier for users who are blind to install the software without depending on IT support. It is fully compatible with MAGic screen magnification software and supports use of dual monitors.

Window-Eyes is a stable, secure and customizable screen reader. It features comprehensive support and enables individuals who are blind or visually impaired to be completely independent on a PC and be more successful and productive at school and in the workplace.

Most blind and visually impaired students have a better understanding of screen readers than sighted people. If a student does not have an understanding of a screen reader, please tell them to contact their Disability Services’ Counselor. If they get stuck, use the following to get help while using either screen reader program:

  • INSERT+H: keyboard commands
  • F1: general help
  • >Arrow keys
  • Enter+F6: opens the topic
  • F6: goes back
  • ALT+F: opens the main file
  • For more specific help: 
    • INSERT+F1: information for the specific page
    • Double-click INSERT+F1: information for the specific application

For JAWS technical support, call 1.727.803.8600, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time or use the email form:http://www.freedomscientific.com/forms/Contact_FS.asp?ID=TECHNICAL-SUPPORT.

For Windows-Eyes technical support, please read over the Additional Free Resources on their Web page. Since NOVA does not pay for Windows-Eyes, we do not have a support contract. http://www.windoweyesforoffice.com/Support/

ZoomText Magnifier

ZoomText is a screen magnification tool that enlarges everything on your computer screen making it easy to see and use. The latest version comes with a Web camera that allows you to see everything from magazine articles to medicine labels on your screen. You can switch between full and split screen and select full and high-contrast colors based on your specific needs.

ZoomText Magnifier Reader lets you listen to documents, websites, email, etc. in an audio format. It comes with NeoSpeech Synthesizer voices that closely replicate natural, human voices. ZoomText Reader can be used as a screen reader since it reads all program controls, including menus, list views and messages on your screen.

For more information, please click here.

ZoomText offers in person classes called ZoomText University and webinars, as well as a YouTube page and blogs.  For information, please go to http://www.aisquared.com/learning.

For help, please go to the ZoomText support page at http://www.aisquared.com/support/. There is not a contact number for ZoomText.


Apple Keyboard LogicSkin
The Apple Keyboard LogicSkin is designed to convert your current Apple or MacBook keyboard to extra-large print for easy viewing. It features the largest print available for key size, is fully washable and comes in white or black. The ultra-thin high grade silicone material fits perfectly over MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air 13 and the Apple Wireless Keyboard.
i-loview Video Magnifier

The i-loview by Ai Squared is a handheld video magnifier. It has a 4.3 inch screen, weighs 8 ounces, and can hold up to 2GB of images. There are four levels of brightness, 16 levels of contrast adjustment and six color modes. In addition, it includes a cable to connect to a TV, CCTV or computer for a larger view and to save images.


NaturalPoint’s SmartNav is a reliable and accurate, hands-free mouse alternative that allows complete control of a computer by naturally moving the head.

For more information, please click here.v

Victor Reader

Download your favorite books and MP3s on your Victor Reader Stream Daisy MP3 Player and leave home with your library in the palm of your hand. This versatile, powerful DAISY-MP3 and NISO player lets you read and navigate through complex books, such as reference manuals and school books, as well as novels and magazines. You can also use its built-in text to speech to read books in text format such as Bookshare. There are many more functions, including an integrated microphone to record voice notes. 

For more information, please click here.

ZoomText ImageReader

The ZoomText ImageReader is a software and camera solution that makes printed text accessible to people who are visually impaired -- including books, documents, articles, tests and more. Place the printed item underneath the included document camera, snap a picture, and a few seconds later the text appears in large, high-contrast font and is read aloud in natural-sounding voices. In addition to printed text, ImageReader can also capture and read text from image files, the Windows Clipboard or right off of your computer screen. It's perfect for reading graphical text from electronic documents and Web pages.

For more information, please click here.

ZoomText Large Print Keyboard

Designed for anyone who struggles to see the lettering on their keyboard, the ZoomText Large-Print Keyboard makes typing fast and easy. Each key and button label is easy to see, even in low light, with a 36-point text and choice of high-contrast color schemes: Black on Yellow or White on Black.

For more information, please click here.