Making the iOS Device Accessible
Many students who are blind or visually impaired will need instruction in strategies or the use of software to access a computer and navigate the computer without a mouse. Additionally, some students will need instruction in assistive technology devices that are specific to individuals who are blind or visually impaired including video magnifie and braille notetakers.
By: Carmen Willings
iOS devices are wonderful tools for allowing students to access information, music, videos, books and more. For universal accessibility in the iPod, iPod Touch (32GB & 64GB); iPhone 4S (16GB, 32GB, 64GB); iPad2 (3G service 16GB, 32GB, 64GB) turn on the following features by going to "Settings", then selecting "General", and "Accessibility":
Basic Multitasking Gestures
When the iPhone is used with the VoiceOver, it will operate differently than without.
Siri is Apple’s intelligent assistant. It helps you complete everyday tasks. Hold the home button and when prompted ask a question or request help. Siri can send messages, place phone calls, schedule meetings, and even turn on and off VoiceOver, Guided Access and Invert Colors. And because Siri is integrated with VoiceOver, you can ask where the nearest gas station, restaurant, or other location is and hear the answer read out loud.
If you have a hard time reading the text on your iOS device, use Speak Screen to read your email, iMessages, web pages, and books to you. Turn on Speak Screen and swipe down from the top with two fingers, or just tell Siri to Speak Screen and have all the content of the page read back to you. You can adjust the voice’s dialect and speaking rate and have words highlighted as they’re being read.
Dictation lets you talk where you would type. Tap the microphone button on the keyboard, say what you want to write, and your iOS device converts your words (and numbers and characters) into text making it easy to type an email, note, or URL — without typing at all.
Zoom is a built-in magnifier that works wherever you are in iOS, from Mail and Safari to the Home and Lock screens. It also works with all apps from the App Store. Turn Zoom on for full screen or picture in picture mode, allowing you to see the zoomed area in a separate window while keeping the rest of the screen at its native size. You can adjust the magnification between 100 and 1,500 percent and access multiple filter options in either mode. Double tapping with three fingers zooms in 200%, and you can adjust the magnification between 100% and 500%. This creates 20pt to 56pt text. While you’re zoomed in, you can still use all of the familiar gestures to navigate your device. Additionally, Zoom works with VoiceOver, allowing the user to see and hear what’s happening on the screen.
When you activate Larger Dynamic Type, the text inside a range of apps in iOS 8 including Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Messages, Music, Notes and Settings, and even some third-party apps, is converted to a larger, easier‑to‑read size. And you can choose bold text to make the text heavier across a range of built‑in applications.
Invert Colors and Grayscale
If a higher contrast or a lack of color helps you better see what’s on your display, iOS lets you invert the colors or enable grayscale onscreen. Once you set your filter, the settings apply system-wide, even to video, so you get the same view no matter what you’re seeing.
iOS devices are remarkably intuitive and easy to use. And AssistiveTouch lets you adapt the Multi-Touch screen of your iOS device to your unique physical needs. So if you have difficulty with some gestures, like pinch, you can make them accessible with just a tap of a finger. Or create a custom gesture. And if you have trouble pressing the Home button, you can activate it with an onscreen tap. Gestures like rotate and shake are available even when your iOS device is mounted on a wheelchair. And iOS devices also support a number of third‑party assistive devices that help you interact with your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Guided Access helps people with autism or other attention and sensory challenges stay focused on the task (or app) at hand. With Guided Access, a parent, teacher, or therapist can limit an iOS device to stay on one app by disabling the Home button and limit the amount of time spent in an app. You can even restrict access to the keyboard or touch input on certain areas of the screen. So wandering taps and gestures won’t distract from learning.
We all learn in different ways. Some of us learn better when more than one sense is engaged simultaneously. If you have a learning disability like dyslexia, Speak Screen can help with reading. Turn on Speak Screen and swipe down from the top with two fingers, or just tell Siri to Speak Screen and have all the content of the page read back to you. You can also have words highlighted as they’re being read, so you can follow along. Even the voice’s dialect and speaking rate can be adjusted to suit your needs.
Say you’re reading an article on astronomy and are stuck on some terminology. Just look it up — dictionary definitions are integrated into iOS. Get quick access to definitions and commonly used phrases to help with spelling, pronunciation, and grammar.
For some students, navigating the web can be a sensory overload. Safari Reader reduces the visual clutter on a web page by removing distractions. It strips away ads, buttons, and navigation bars, allowing you to focus on just the content you want. And Safari Reader works with Speak Selection and VoiceOver, to provide auditory reinforcement for what you're seeing.
Braille Display & Braille Commands
Braille display can be used with the iOS device. Many Bluetooth wireless braille displays work right out of the box with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. I have created a two-page printable list of common braille commands for VoiceOver navigation. You are welcome to print it for easy reference.
Although I'm not sure you could completely replace an electronic magnifier (CCTV) for a student, the SHARKK Apple iPad Keyboard is an AWESOME device with great potential to act as a portable CCTV! It features a Bluetooth Keyboard Case with a stand that rotates 360 degrees. It can be positioned to lay flat above a page or tilted. The case is a ClamShell which provides some protection. With a magnification app, this has great potential!
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ECC Complete Set Bonus Pages
Purchase the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC Complete Set and immediately unlock the pages within the ECC Complete Set Bonus including bonus printables, interactive sensory stories, interactive matching activities, interactive choice making activities, job task box activities and MORE! This is my way of continuing to support you and say "Thank you!" for choosing to purchase the Complete Set.
TVI's Guide Complete Set Bundle + BONUS Resources
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The TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC Complete Set includes the following:
The LOTTO Cards Grab and Go Supplement includes 37 theme related unit cards along with activity suggestions that support activities within the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC.
On My Way File Folder Cards
Print and use these cards to represent locations the student may visit that are related to the current thematic unit. Use these with the On My Way File Folder Game outlined in the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC p. 27.
NEW! Access to TVI's Guide Bonus Membership Pages
Bonus pages include tutorials, printables, interactive sensory story downloads, and interactive choice making, matching and visual discrimination computer games (PowerPoint based interactive games), and job task activities.
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Apple Accessibility offers information on the accessibility features built into Apple products. Areas include vision, hearing, physical & motor skills, and learning & literacy.