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I am confused also by how Jaws works.
If you put JEditorPane directly, maybe Jaws will read it's contents.
It seems that Jaws will read accessibleText returned by the component.
JScrollPane return a null while JEditorPane will a instance which contains the text ( by calling getAtIndex(AccessibleText.SENTENCE, 0) , you can verify :) )
Sorry for resurrecting this 4 year old thread, but I recently encountered the same problem and found a solution.
You need to
1. modify the accessible tree to skip the JScrollPane and JViewPort
2. avoid sending accessible property-changed events from the JEditorPane
Full details including an example here: [Stack Overflow|http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6684389/jeditorpane-jscrollpane-and-accessibility/6693843#6693843].
If anyone has any insights into why this works, I would very much appreciate hearing it.