This product is the premier on-screen keyboard software available and comes with a vast assortment of assistive technology tools (see the list of features below). It was designed to help a person use a computer more easily and augment their speech if that is needed. If you have trouble using a standard hardware keyboard but can use a mouse or other pointer, then you can use any of the numerous typing keyboards that come with REACH. Also, if you can use a single switch or two switches, then you can type using one of the REACH keyboards in "scanning" mode.
Runs on Windows®98, ®Me, ®2000, ®XP, ®Vista
Smart Lists™ Technology (Patent Pending) Add-On
REACH 4 serves as a platform for Smart Lists™ (Patent Pending), which is a new approach to typing. Smart Lists™ can significantly reduce the number of clicks you make while typing as well as increase your typing speed. This is especially true if you are using single-switch or dual-switch scanning input. Select the first letter (e.g., "k" in the example below), and the "k" key opens up, showing a list of options (the letters already typed and candidate "extensions").
REACH Sound-It-Out Phonetic Keyboard™ (Patent Pending) Add-On
REACH 5 also serves as a platform for a second innovative way of typing called the "REACH Sound-It-Out Phonetic Keyboard™" (Patent Pending). With the REACH Sound-It-Out Keyboard™, you can type a word by selecting the sounds in the word instead of selecting the letters.
You can try out this new approach with the demo REACH 5 program (which you can download from this web site or request AHF to send you a free CD). When running the demo REACH, select the "Pictures," "Standard," or "Star" Phonetic keyboards from one of the "Favorite Keyboards" keyboards). The demo is a fully functioning version. Select the first sound in a word and notice that "smart phonemes" (i.e., like "Smart Keys" but with phonemes) shows you the sounds that follow that sound in the current phonetic dictionary.
As you keep adding sounds, words are shown above the keyboard. Point at them and you will hear what that word is. If you hear the word you are after, click on it and it is typed for you. Words with yellow backgrounds have just been completed. If more than one yellow word is shown (homophones), then you can point at one of them and hear a short phrase using that word. Sound-It-Out has been shown to dramatically increase spelling accuracy in adults and children who have trouble with spelling.
New REACH Speech System™
REACH has an extensive speech augmentation system containing over 120 speech keyboards with dozens of possible messages available on each keyboard - click on "Speech Keyboards" key found on most Home keyboards. Below is the home keyboard for the new REACH Speech System™. If you purchase the Mayer-Johnson Picture Communication Symbols™ (PCS) add-on, then the keys will fill up with pictures as shown in the next section.
Mayer-Johnson Picture Communication Symbols™ "Add-On"
If you purchase the Mayer-Johnson PCS™ add-on , the keys on the new REACH Speech System™ keyboards will load up with pictures (see picture below and compare it to the picture in the previous section). In addition, you will have all 6,000+ pictures to choose from if you want to add one to any key on any REACH keyboard.
Improved Keyboard Themes
Different "Keyboard Themes" are available; some based on aesthetics and some based on function (e.g., scanning themes for persons using scanning and high contrast themes for persons with low vision). Select a high contrast theme and the major keyboards are changed to larger font and colors with high contrast. Go to the typing keyboard, and REACH speaks the keys and word-prediction words when you point at them, the REACH Zoom window is automatically launched, and REACH resizes the application so that none of the words are hidden behind REACH or the Zoom window
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