A local government officer is completing analyses of both internal and external services - with the support of Read&Write software from accessibility experts Texthelp, Hands Free Computing and the government's Access to Work scheme.
Harper is a project officer, where she analyses the wide variety of services offered and provided by a diverse range of organisations.
Prior to joining the local authority, Harper studied for a bachelor’s degree in International Relations at Loughborough University. As an undergraduate, she often wondered why researching and writing lengthy essays seemed to take her longer than her peers.
At the recommendation of her tutor, Harper was assessed by the university’s student services in her second year and learned that she was dyslexic. The reasons behind her challenges with reading and writing text-heavy documents suddenly fell into place.
After graduating successfully, Harper continued her studies at Loughborough University, gaining a Master's degree in Marketing and Management. On starting work at the council she soon learned from colleagues that she was eligible for the UK government’s Access to Work scheme that offers grants to employees based on their additional needs.
Her Access to Work assessor put Harper in touch with assistive technology experts Hands-Free Computing, a leading supplier of Assistive Technology solutions to public organizations including the NHS and local government.
After evaluating Harper’s workplace needs, Hands-Free were quick to recommend Read&Write from Texthelp. Offering more than 50 different literacy support functions in an integrated, easy-to-use package, Read&Write offers a compelling, cost effective alternative to installing and managing several different AT programmes on employees’ laptops and tablets.
“We’re a one-stop shop, providing assessment, software, services and training for employees who qualify for Access to Work” explains Hands-Free Computing’s Jamie English. “In Harper’s case, we were very happy to recommend Read&Write from Texthelp as the ideal solution to support her in the workplace. The software is fantastic, and it’s been an invaluable addition to our own portfolio of Access to Work - approved assistive tools.
“Texthelp are also great partners to work with - there’s a genuine enthusiasm for supporting every individual’s literacy journey that goes far beyond choosing the right technology.”
Harper has been very satisfied indeed with Read&Write, as well as the face-to-face training and support provided by the Hands-Free team.
“I find Read&Write really helpful when I’m writing long, wordy reports on analyses I have completed. The screen reader function helps massively when I’m drafting a lengthy document. It’s great being able to hear a paragraph being read back aloud to me – giving me a lot more confidence that what I’ve written all makes sense!”
Harper also values Read&Write’s screen masking function that makes on-screen text easier to understand for users with various kinds of visual stress. “I get fewer migraines when I’m sitting in front of the computer, and I don’t get so tired when I’ve been typing and reading for a long time.”
Other features singled out by Harper include Read&Write’s dictionary, and on-screen highlighters that help when she is collating information from various sources for a report.
“Everything’s so easy to use with Read&Write”, she notes, “and the personal training I’ve received from Hands-Free has been amazing, too.”
Assistive Technology has been a transformative force for Harper, boosting her productivity and confidence in the workplace. It has also directly benefited her employer - in supporting employees’ well-being and driving the organisation forward to achieve its objectives with greater efficiency.
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