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Central Access

Products and Services

What We Do

Central Access has been in the business of producing alternate formats for almost 30 years. Technology and methods have changed numerous times and we have always strived to not just keep up with this changing technology, but to be leaders in the field. We are dedicated to producing high quality alternative formats no matter what it is.

Central Access specializes in producing accessible science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) content for students who have print-related disabilities, including specialized materials for students who are blind.

Wendy Holden, director of Disability Services said in a press release “It’s difficult to produce accessible math and science materials, so this is generally what other schools outsource to us. Central Access creates high quality tactile graphics, raised line images that convey complex diagrams, maps or illustrations."

Services Offered

Central Access is happy to work with you to meet your needs. This includes producing a wide variety of formats. You simply send us the materials you need converted and we will work with you and do all we can to meet your needs. These formats include everything from edited word documents, to tactile graphics, our format list includes: 

Other resources

We have developed several resources to assist in producing and utilizing alternative formats. These include the following:

Format Options

Tactile Graphics

 Tactile graphics are used to convey non-textual information such as graphs, diagrams, maps or illustrations to visually impaired students. Specially trained technicians use Adobe Illustrator to create the graphics.  Tactile graphics are printed on thermoform 'swell' paper. 

Nemeth Braille

Nemeth Braille is a specialized code developed to reflect the appearance, presentation, and syntax of mathematics. Nemeth is used for transcribing mathematics, science, and most other STEM material to Braille. It is a separate language from Unified English Braille (UEB) and not all students who use UEB are fluent in Nemeth.

Edited Word Documents

Edited Word Documents are plain text versions of textbooks with all formatting removed. Word documents can be read by the Central Access Reader.  Image descriptions (tags) may be provided for students with visual impairments. Edited Word documents are also an ideal format for blind students (who use JAWS*). They can be easily converted to HTML or MP3 files.

Math Accessible Word Documents

Similar to edited word documents, math edited word documents include proper formatting so that math equations, chemistry symbols, computer coding, and other special symbols are read properly with screen readers and text-to-speech programs. They can be easily converted to HTML or MP3 files.

Unified English Braille (UEB)

Unified English Braille (UEB) is the standard format for transcribing printed material using the six-dot Braille alphabet. One page of print takes about 3.5 Braille pages, therefore a single textbook may require several volumes when translated into Braille. UEB is the new national standard, replacing Literary Braille.

Resource Details

Central Access Reader (CAR)

Central Access Reader (CAR) is free, open source, text-to- speech application designed specifically for students with print-related disabilities.  CAR reads Word Docs and pasted text using the voice installed on your computer. This includes the ability to read math documents based on the library you select; this means you can tailor it to read statistics, logic, calculus, and more. It can also convert Word documents into HTML and MP3 files. CAR has an intuitive interface and many customizable features. CAR is compatible for both Windows and Mac systems.

Downloadable links are included below.

For Windows (64-bit only)

Central Access Reader (CAR) Check

An application that runs in the Microsoft Word environment to ensure that your documents are accessible for students. The CAR Check ensures that all images have alternative text descriptions, all formatting and spelling are correct, footnotes are in order, and all inaccessible elements of the document have been removed.

Download CAR Check 

Central Access Toolbar

Each client needs something different out of alternative media. The Central Access Toolbar (CAT) was developed to aid in the process of alternative media conversions. CAT can be directly added to your Microsoft Word toolbar!  Features include:

  • Repairing paragraphs
  • AddingTranscriber notes
  • Highlighting equations
  • Styling page numbers
  • Image description editor
  • Conversions for large print
  • Preparation for braille conversion
  • Computer code formatting
  • A built-in "Guide Me" function for creating accessible documents

More information on the Central Access Toolbar.

Click the following link to Download CAT.

Contact Central Access

Central Access
Central Washington University
400 E University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7582

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