Learners with disabilities/learning differences have access to a range of software and hardware supports depending on their individual requirements.The Academic Resource Office provides individual and group training sessions throughout the academic year. For further information contact: aro@carlowcollege.ie

Text Help Read &Write Gold 11 is a ‘one stop solution’ which integrates reading, writing, studying and research support tools with common applications. It is a software package with a simple to use toolbar that ‘floats’ on top of any open application, including Microsoft® Word, Google Docs™, Mozilla Firefox®, Internet Explorer®, Google Chrome™, and Adobe Reader®, to make digital content accessible.  

Read & Write Gold features include:

  • Speech feedback, word prediction, phonetic spell checker and talking dictionary functions.
  • It can convert scanned paper documents into word files that can be read aloud and edited.
  • It can capture text or images (with their sources) from any application, including the Internet.
  • It can convert text into audio files for use on portable audio devices such as MP3 players or smart phones. 
  • Other advanced features include a pronunciation tutor for more accurate speech and pronunciation, and PDF Aloud, which facilitates speech with highlighting in PDF files.

Read and Write Gold 11 software is installed on all PCs in the college library. Further information is available, please click [here]


Dragon Naturally Speaking is a voice recognition software that is easy to set up and use. Particularly useful for learners with specific learning difficulties dexterity, mobility or memory issues, it can help you get more done in less time with 99% accuracy. 

Dragon Naturally Speaking software allows you to:

  • Train the PC or laptop to recognise your voice (practice required).
  • Use your voice to manage a PC or laptop.
  • Have complete hands-free control of a PC or laptop.
  • Dictate assignments and documents on to your PC or laptop rather than typing them.
  • Reduce the strain that using a PC or laptop puts on hands, eyes and shoulders.

This software is available as a single user licence.  For further information, please click [here]

Never miss a word™!

The Livescribe Smartpen allows you to record everything you write, hear or say with ease. The camera located at the tip of the pen tracks the exact location of the nib on the page and allows you to write digital notes. 

The Livescribe Smartpen allows you to:

  • Record audio files while taking notes simultaneously.
  • Write digital notes using special dot paper.
  • Replay your lectures by tapping on your notes.
  • Transfer your notes and audio to your PC or laptop via a USB cable.
  • Use Echo Desktop™ to store, organise, replay and share important notes.

Click [here] for further information on the Livescribe Smartpen and [here] for more on the Echo Desktop™ software.

‘I love my Livescribe pen, it has totally changed my experience of lectures, I’m not afraid of missing important information any more’ (Third Year Student)


‘Using Read and Write Gold to read my essay back to me has helped me to see mistakes and my writing has improved’ (Fourth Year Student)


‘I can finish my assignments more quickly using Dragon Naturally Speaking’ (First Year Student)


‘My favourite Read and Write Gold feature is ‘Speechmaker’ which converts text to audio files.  I can revise my notes while walking the dog!’ (First Year Student)


‘The Livescribe pen really helps me clarify my lecture notes’ (Second Year Student)


‘My experience using the Livescrive pen has been extremely positive. I found it easy to use & down load my files onto my laptop. When I listen back to the lectures, it jogs my poor memory straight back to what was been discussed. The help is a life saver.’ (Second Year Student)

What a current student has to say about ARO...

ARO helps students understand that even though they have a disability or learning difficulty they can still get through their studies like any other student – no other service in the college gives this kind of support!

Student of Applied Social Studies Year 2

The service does its best for each and every student, whilst striving to enhance and bring out the student’s ability and potential

Student of Humanities Year 2

ARO helps students to develop specific learning strategies to aid them throughout their academic years

Student of Humanities Year 1

The essay doctor service provides helpful advice and guidance to students on how to improve their academic work…it helped increase my confidence.

Student of Applied Social StudiesYear 1

The essay doctor clearly explained everything to me about referencing and structure and was extremely helpful.

Student of English & HistoryYear 4
What our past students had to say...
My studies in English and History have enabled me to appreciate and understand how world events have influenced literature and art. Art, literature and history help us make sense of how we live our lives. 

Bridget Flannery

English and History

The Citizenship and Community Studies degree provides an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of contemporary Ireland and welcomes those who wish to contribute to its future. Coming together in a caring group environment with class mates to share information, knowledge, skills and life experience is all part of the fabric of Carlow College. 

Niamh O'Sullivan

Citizenship & Community Studies 

The subjects all complement each other so you get a really good, all-round education. 

Rachel Nolan

I use the knowledge I gained on the MATCC course on a daily basis in my work as a Neuro-Development Practitioner and I believe that this course would be of benefit to anyone who works with very troubled children or adolescents. The course has inspired me to embark on a PhD programme this autumn. 

Mary O'Connor

MATCC Graduate
My experience here has been of laughter, friendship and learning. The programme has helped me to develop knowledge and skills that have helped me to grow as a person. The Catechetics programme has given me the opportunity to experience teaching first hand. Overall, it's a wonderful place. 

Sharon Connors

Exciting and challenging! I loved the programme. It has given me in-depth knowledge which has direct relevance to everyday life. 

Emily Hanlon

Citizenship & Community Studies

The programme is up-to-date and relevant and the placement element is great preparation for a career in social care.

Michael Lillis

Social Care
There's a lot of support given to students and it really helps to build your confidence when you're starting a degree programme. 

Jamie Lawlor

English and History

As a mature student I found the staff, my fellow students and the whole learning environment very supportive. I am so glad I chose Carlow College.

Jacinta Hayden

Social Care