Nicole’s Nook: iPad Accessibility Features

switch control

With each new operating system release, iPads have become increasingly more powerful, yet have also remained extremely user-friendly. Adults and children alike are able to browse the web, access content, play games and more through a simple swipe, pinch or tap. With a pinch in different directions, the pressing of a button, rapid double-tap or press and hold, users have complete control over the device. But what if you are physically unable to execute all of those gestures? What if your fine motor skills prevent you from performing the actions that many of us take for granted?

Apple has always strived to make the iPad accessible to everyone, even those with motor impairments, and their recent operating system releases don’t disappoint. With the switch control feature, users can utilize an external switch or even the iPad itself to make choices, open apps and navigate their iPad. Bluetooth wireless switches are available to use, or you can use a Bluetooth switch interface. Some of my recommendations include:

Bluetooth Switch

Switch Interface

Once you have the Switch, you must first pair the Switch with the iPad. To do this, go to Settings, then select Bluetooth and select the device. After connecting the Switch to the iPad, you will need to turn on Switch Control and add the Switch.nicoles nook switch

  1. Go to Settings, then General, then Accessibility
  2. Select Switch Control (do not turn Switch Control on yet)
  3. Go to Switches, Select Add New Switch, Select External
  4. Activate Switch by pressing it
  5. Name the Switch
  6. Choose the Switch Action (typically Select Item)
  7. Go back to Switch Control and Turn On
  8. The iPad will now begin Auto Scanning, use the Switch to select when it is highlighted.  It will also give you other options to choose from.
  9. To Turn Switch Control Off, Triple Click the Home Button
  10. You can also Triple Click the Home Button to Turn On Switch Control.

-Nicole Weckherlin, OTR/L

YOU’RE INVITED: Club NF Plays at the Lodge!

The Washington University NF Center, in collaboration with the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation, is pleased to announce our upcoming August 2015 Club NF event – Club NF Plays at the Lodge!

Please join us at The Lodge Des Peres in Des Peres, MO on Saturday, August 1, from 9:30 a.m. – noon for an action-packed morning of indoor sports and gym activities. During this event, children will participate in a variety of motor activities led by St. Louis Children’s Hospital therapists, Courtney Dunn, PT, DPT and Amy Westfall, ODT, OTR/L. While the children are working on their motor skills, parents will learn about utilizing technology for increased productivity in the classroom from Occupational Therapist, Nicole Weckherlin, OTR/L.

After the event, families will receive day passes to enjoy the Lodge’s aquatic center with indoor and outdoor pools, so be sure to bring your swimsuits, towels and sunscreen! To learn more, check out our flyer, or contact Kirsten Brouillet at Be sure to RSVP by Friday, July 31 to save your spot!

The Washington University NF Center, partnering with the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation, is proud to provide Club NF — a FREE, bi-monthly, play-based therapy program for children with NF1 in kindergarten – 8th grade. Our St. Louis Children’s Hospital therapists directly interact with the children and use everyday activities to work on skills often delayed in children with NF1. From swimming (motor skills) to theatre (attention skills), Club NF is designed to give children with NF1 the tools they need to be successful.