Nicole's Nook Technology as Therapy

Nicole’s Nook: Reading Made Easier with Tablets

kids-playing-with-ipadReading on an iPad (or tablet), versus traditional paper or books, can be a much simpler and more enjoyable process for many people. Specifically, iPads have numerous features incorporated to assist those who experience visual, auditory and other processing issues while reading.
Some of these assistive features include:

  • VoiceOver: speaks items on screen, gesture-based screen reader which is especially useful in iBooks
    • Go to Settings/General/Accessibility/VoiceOver
    • Tap a button to hear description
    • Double tap to activate
    • Once enabled, triple click home button to access
  • Zoom: allows you to magnify screen
    • Go to Settings/General/Accessibility/Zoom
    • Use three fingers to zoom by double tapping
    • Use three fingers to drag to move around screen
  • Invert Colors: creates contrast with black on white
    • Go to Settings/General/Accessibility/Invert Colors
  • Grayscale: shifts the entire display into shades of black and white
    • Go to Settings/General/Accessibility/Grayscale
  • Speech: can do Speak Selection or Speak Screen
    • Go to Settings/General/Accessibility/Speech Selection
      • Choose the Speaking Rate
      • Can highlight words
      • Text to speech feature
      • Allows you to highlight selected text, choose Speak to have it read
    • Go to Settings/General/Accessibility/Speak Screen
      • Turn Speak Screen on
      • Now you are able to swipe down with two fingers from top of screen to hear the contents of the screen
      • Can read text, names of buttons and other interface elements

Some other features which can be modified to further assist those with visual challenges include text size, text boldness, button shapes and degree of screen contrast. Additional hearing impaired assistance features include the ability to pair hearing aids with the phone as a Bluetooth device, and adjust the volume balance between left and right channels with the Mono Audio option.
When reading in Safari, click on the left end of the browser to enable a special reader mode that simplifies articles and extracts only the text. This is helpful in removing distracting ads or other information not pertinent to the article. You can then use Speak Screen to have the article read by swiping down with two fingers from the top of screen.
Try out these built-in features on your iPad to assist readers of all ages and abilities and improve their literacy.
Nicole Weckherlin, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist