I have long been a champion of using an Apple iPad to facilitate learning. Apple has some great built-in accessibility features to make reading, typing and navigating the iPad easier and faster. Some of my favorite features are highlighted below:
SPEAK SELECTION: Text to speech; words can be highlighted as they are spoken aloud. This works with built-in apps and also some third party apps.
- Go to SETTINGS/GENERAL/ACCESSIBILITY/SPEAK SELECTION
- Turn ON
- Options include selecting dialect, speaking rate and highlighting of words
- Get out of that screen; open Safari, Notes or Email app
- Highlight text, select SPEAK and it will read aloud
SPEAK SCREEN: Text to speech; words can be highlighted as they are spoken aloud. This works with built-in apps and some third party apps.
- Go to SETTINGS/GENERAL/ACCESSIBILITY/SPEECH
- Turn Speak Screen ON
- Now you are able to swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen to hear the contents of the screen
- This allows reading of text, names of buttons and other interface elements
- This is different from SPEAK SELECTION
Speak Selection and Speak Screen are both useful tools, even for those students who are functional readers. Having the option to have both auditory and visual feedback while reading is very powerful and can help with processing, comprehension and learning retention.
SIMPLIFY READING IN SAFARI:
- To EXTRACT JUST THE TEXT of an article, click on the left end of browser (you will see 4 horizontal lines). This is extremely helpful in eliminating extraneous information and other distractions such as advertisements, links to other sites, graphics, etc. It helps to zero in on just the article needed. From here, you can swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen to utilize the Speak Screen feature.
ADD PHOTOS TO NOTES OR EMAIL:
- Photos or sketches can be inserted into the NOTES app
- Photos or attachments from another source or app can be inserted into the MAIL app
- When in note or email, double click where you want photo to go.
- Select INSERT PHOTO and then choose from PHOTO app.
MAKE YOUR OWN APP OR SAVE A WEBSITE TO HOME SCREEN:
- When on a desired web page, select (arrow in box) icon on the bottom of the screen. Select ADD TO HOME SCREEN. Name/title the “app” and select ADD. This creates a shortcut to frequently visited websites.
Have some fun and try out these helpful and unique built-in features. To learn more about these and other accessibility features built into iOS, visit http://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/.
– Nicole Weckherlin, OTR/L, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Occupational Therapist