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Friday, January 31, 2014

iOS Accessibility: Solutions for Individuals with Learning Disabilities

What is iOS?

iOS is a mobile operating system that was created by Apple.  It was originally released for
the iPhone in 2007 and is now available on iPods, iPads and second-generation Apple TV.  iOS offers a range of free assistive features that can help individuals with learning disabilities.

What Are Some Useful iOS Features that Accommodate Individuals with LDs?

1.    Speak Selection: When Speak Selection is turned on, text can be read aloud by your device using one of numerous voice options.  In addition, the reading speed can be adjusted and a word highlighting option can help readers to follow the words across the text. This can be very useful when editing your emails, texts and more!

·     How to Access: Settings > General > Accessibility.  You can also ask Siri to turn this feature on or off.
·      Demonstrationhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECvd87xfVjA

2.    Dictionary:  Quickly define any written or spoken word. 

·     How to Access:  This feature is built into the device.  You can ask Siri to define a word or hold your finger on a word to reveal the dictionary option.  As an added bonus, you can even ask Siri for a synonym.
 ·     Demonstrationhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBn7WUyJkZc

3.    Dictation: This feature offers speech to text.  Simply tap on the microphone icon, express your thoughts and the needed punctuation, and watch the sentences appear on your screen.

 ·     How to Access: This is automatically available wherever you see the microphone icon on the keyboard (next to the spacebar) – email, texting, documents.
 ·     Demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6z1k0EO0hA

4.    Change Text Size:  It’s easy to change the text size.  Simply pinch your thumb and pointing finger and place it on the screen.  Now drag your fingers apart on the screen to make the words and images larger.  Pull your fingers back together to make it smaller again.  You can also adjust the text sizes permanently in settings.

·      How to Access: Settings > General > Text Size
·      Demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OlZ-nydctg

5.    Speak Auto-text: This feature will enable the device to automatically speak aloud any auto-corrections.

·      How to AccessSettings > General > Accessibility
·      Demonstrationhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kghLq26RMhA 

6.    Voiceover: If you have trouble seeing or reading the screen, voiceover will guide you with words that describe what you are doing.  Once this feature is turned on (see below), all you have to do is, tap once to select an item, tap twice to activate the item, and swipe three fingers to scroll.  Also if you use Maps with Voiceover – it will verbalize your location as well as the directions.

·     How to Access: Settings > General > Accessibility.  Here you can also alter the voice and change the speed.
·     Demonstrationhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sukZIHJrHNc

How Can I Stay Informed?

To stay abreast of apples iOS features, be sure to Bookmark their accessibility page:

Other Cool iOS 7 Features:

·      Demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i2RRQUZE1E
·      Demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7Ea-72I8QY

I hope you found this helpful. 

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She isalso the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.
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