James Edwards from Sitepoint.com looks at AJAX and Screenreaders:

There doesn’t appear to be any reliable way to notify screen readers of an update in the DOM. There are piecemeal approaches that work for one or more devices, but no overall approach or combination that would cover them all.

The Mozilla Developer Center offers some information on the work IBM is doing in this area: Accessible DHTML. Also the W3C is working in a design for making dynamic web content accessible one day.

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