Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Disabilities becomes abilities with the iPad's Accessibility features

I attended the iPad feedback session from the Apple Accessibility Conference in Berlin, presented by Karen Hart at the iStore on Sandton Drive yesterday. I am struck that the word "disability" is not the choice word when discussing special needs . It is now only about "accessibility".

With three clicks the iPad changes into an accessible tool that changes learning for special needs' kids completely. The software has been built-in from the start and developed for 25 years.

It addresses vision, hearing, physical and motor skills, as well as learning and literacy.

The following quotes comes from a video about the use of iPads in special needs education: The link is here, and if you have seven minutes, it is really worth seeing: http://t.co/dVs54lRpmb
  • iPad makes learning so much easier!
  • When learning is fun, it has a bigger impact on the child!
  • The focus is on the abilities rather than disabilities!
  • The use of iPads open up new ways of looking at the world!
  • Independence is very important to learning, and the iPad makes it possible.
  • It motivates teaching!

A breakdown of the Accessibility features can be found here:
iOS. A wide range of features for a wide range of use 

The in-built features on the iOS devices:

I am only going to name them, because it can all be Googled to learn how to make use of it!


- VoiceOver
- Speak Screen
- Siri
- Dictation
- Zoom
- Font Adjustments
- Invert colours and grayscale
- Braille displays are also available


- FaceTime video calling
- Unlimited texting
- Closed Captions to watch movies, television, and podcasts
- Mono Audio helps with adjusting stereo to mono, or diverting sound to one ear.
-Visibility and vibrating alerts
- Works with hearing aids

Karen Hart demonstrating her Picster Book apps that specifically addresses South African sign language for English and Afrikaans users. She also demonstrated this at the Berlin Conference. The Picsterbook apps are all available for free download on the iTunes Store.

Karen Heart with her Picster Books 

Physical and motor challenges

- Assistive Touch - the screen can be adapted to unique physical needs, such as not having functional arms.
- Siri
- Switch Control
- Dictation
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Predictive text
- Support for Third Party Keyboards

Karen Hart demonstration of using only head movements to
operate the iPad

Attention, Cognitive and Learning challenges (including autism)

- Guided access
- Speak Screen
- Dictionary
- Safari

Karen hart discussed a few presentations that caught her eye during the Conference, including the story of Srini Swaminathan who uses the iPad as teaching tool in the slums of India.

Responses on the Instagram photo:

I was inspired as always, and wish we can have this technology in every child's hand!

Related posts:

- iPad learning for special needs - Autism #iPadlearningZA

iPad in Education at Sacred Heart College #iPadLearningZA

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