Software and Hardware


  • About Software and Hardware
  • Special Equipment Amount – SEA
  • Kurzweil Home Install Options
  • WordQ
  • Read and Write for GAFE

WCDSB -  Software for All

The following software is installed on all school desktop computers, both elementary and secondary and is available to all students that require access to these assistive technology programs.  Students have access to this software without needing SEA funded computer equipment. Please contact your son/daughter’s Special Education Teacher.

  • WordQ Ministry Licensed Software (OSAPAC)
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking Ministry Licensed Software (OSAPAC)
  • Smart Ideas Graphic Organizing Software Ministry Licensed (OSAPAC)
  • Read and Write App for GAFE (Google Apps for Education)

WCDSB -  SEA Funded Software

The following software is available for students with SEA funded laptops requiring text to voice software

  • Kurzweil Web License for Students with SEA Funding

Audiobook Links for All Students

Using a public library card you can access audiobooks from Overdrive Media and play them on your personal devices.  Using your WCDSB school library card you can also access and download audiobooks from Overdrive Media as well. 

E-Textbooks from Alternative E-Text Repository of Ontario

Each Special Education Teacher at your son/daughter’s school has access to the the Central Ontario Repository for E-text funded by the Ministry of education for students requiring alternative access.  Most textbooks and novels are available in either Kurzweil or PDF format.  As a parent you can browse the catalogue.  Contact your son/daughter’s SET for more information. 

What is SEA?

Specialized Equipment Amount (SEA)

  • Provides funding to school boards to offset the costs of equipment essential to support individual students.
  • This need must be recommended by a qualified professional (Teacher of Blind and Low Vision, Occupational Therapist, Psychologist, Speech Language Pathologist, Medical Doctor, Audiologist etc...)
  • The equipment is to provide students with accommodations essential to access the Ontario curriculum and/or Board-determined alternative program and/or to attend school.

Board/School Responsibilities

Specialized Equipment purchased through a SEA claim is for the use of a student but remains the property of the Board so the Board and school will:

  • ensure that students have access to equipment necessary to attend school and learn (whether or not it is equipment purchased through a SEA claim, SEA Per Pupil Amount, or other Board monies)
  • to protect, maintain and manage Specialized Equipment purchased through a SEA claim as a public resource 
  • ensure that the equipment is functioning properly and is meeting student needs
  • ensure that the equipment is shared with other students
  • ensure that equipment is transferred to another student when it is not required by the student for whom it was purchased.


Before a SEA claim is started, it is important to determine:

  • The essential nature of the equipment to enable the student to access the curriculum
  • How this equipment will be used to access the curriculum and how it will be integrated in the student's learning environment
  • The readiness of the student (i.e. The student is receptive to sharing equipment already in the school, has used software, is familiar and interested in using computer programs to access the curriculum, etc.)

Who determines whether SEA equipment is essential?

The benefits of specialized equipment for the student may be noticed by school staff, an outside agency, parents or Student Services department staff but the need for specialized equipment must be supported by a letter, an addendum or a report written by a relevant qualified professional, which states that the equipment is essential in order for this student to attend school or access the curriculum. This letter will begin the process but does not guarantee an outcome.  
Professionals who are qualified to write the  letter to support the SEA claim:

  • Psychologist or psychological associate
  • Physician
  • Social worker
  • Audiologist
  • Speech-language pathologist
  • Augmentative communication therapist
  • Optometrist / ophthalmologist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • orthopédagogue (Quebec registered) 
  • Itinerant Teacher for Blind/Low Vision
  • Certified teachers from provincial schools are also acceptable for equipment required to support deaf and deaf-blind students.

SEA Claims-Based Funding:

  • Should the claim be approved, the School Board pays the initial $800.00 and the balance is covered by the Ontario Ministry of Education.  Claims under $800.00 are typically not processed through SEA.  

SEA Per Pupil Amount:

  • Should the claim be approved, the School Board will pay the entire amount.  The funds are provided yearly by the Ontario Ministry of Education based on a funding formula.

Click here for the Government Guidelines for SEA

Kurzweil – text to voice software

Kurzweil is a comprehensive software package that provides reading of text, study skills including highlighting, writing tools and much more.  It can upload pdf and word files and converts them to a readable Kurzweil document.  Textbooks, class worksheets, tests and other documents can be brought into this program for students to listen to and respond to the text. 

The Kurzweil network license is found on all school computers, both at the elementary and secondary level for all WCDSB students to access as needed.

Kurzweil Home Access for individual Students with SEA claims

Students who have met the criteria for a SEA computer equipment and who have Kurzweil and/or text to voice accommodation needs as indicated on his/her IEP would have one of the following Kurzweil licenses for home install.  They also have the option for ‘take home rights’ for their SEA LD laptop as required to complete work assignments (please contact your SET)

  • Kurzweil stand license (please contact your SET)
  • Kurzweil web license
    • Install version 14 Web License for the full version of Kurzweil
    • Students use their Kurzweil Web License login to access the program
    • A ‘lite’ version of Kurzweil is available which is web-based for your ipad, tablets, other computers…via

Please note that ALL students have text to speech options via the Read and Write app that has been purchased for GAFE. 
How to Video’s for Kurzweil

E-Textbooks for use in Kurzweil

Students requiring e-textbooks and e-novels as noted on their IEP, have many of the common textbooks already available to them via the Alternative Education Resources of Ontario, funded by the Ministry of Education.  Please contact your SET.  Parents may ‘browse’ the catalogue to see what is available. 


WordQ – Ministry Licensed version 3

WordQ, version 3, is available on all school computers and available for home install.  Version 3 can be obtained, via CD, from your school’s library technician. 

WordQ provides students with word prediction as they type as well as allowing text to be read back to students.  From the first letters a student types, WordQ generates a possibilities for the word.  It uses phonetic spelling, and grammatical context to generate a word list.  It speaks predicted words and completed sentences. 

WordQ home install is version 3; Windows XP/Vista/7

A more current trial version or a fully purchased version can be purchased directly from 

How to Video’s for WordQ

Word Q quick Reference Documents

Read and Write for GAFE – WCDSB Purchased

Read and Write for GAFE (Google Apps for Education) is an app that has been purchased by WCDSB and applied to all student ‘GAFE’ accounts.  The Read and Write App opens in the GAFE environment on a variety of devices including school chromebooks, laptops, desktops, and tablets.  As GAFE is web-based the Read and Write app will also open on home computers, chromebooks and tablet devices. 

The main features of the Read and Write app include:

  • Google Docs – word prediction, text to voice, picture dictionary, highlighting……
  • Web Browser – text to voice, dictionary, highlighting….
  • PDF Reader – text to voice; students who require e-text as noted on an IEP can have their e-textbooks uploaded to GAFE and use the PDF Reader feature of Read and Write to listen to their textbooks

Read and Write Home Access – All WCDSB Students have Home Access

  • Students simply log into their ‘GAFE’ account and the WCDSB Read and Write purchased app will appear as a pulldown tab. 
  • Remember that you need to be using the ‘Chrome’ browser in order to access GAFE.  Note that students need to be logged into both Chrome and GAFE.  For additional trouble shooting tips open attachment

How to Video’s for WordQ

Word Q quick Reference Documents



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