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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Accessibility Tips and Tricks Using Apple's iOS

From NCLD.org - The National Center for Learning Disabilities

By Darla Hatton, Parent Contributor
March 17, 2013

Are you or your child iPad, iPod, or iPhone-crazy? If so, you’ll want to learn about the accessibility features built in to Apple’s iOS that might be particularly beneficial to people with learning disabilities (but worth noting for all).

Speak Auto Text

The "Speak Auto Text" feature allows the device to speak corrections and suggestions as you type. To turn it on:

  • Click the "Settings" icon on the home screen;
  • Under the "General" menu, select the "Accessibility" heading;
  • Toggle "Speak Auto Text" to "On".



Speak Selection

This feature turns on a “speak” button that will appear when you highlight text. When you select “speak,” the device will read back and highlight each word of the selected text in the dialect and speed you choose. To turn this feature on:

  • Click the "Settings" icon on the home screen;
  • Under the "General" menu, select the "Accessibility" heading;
  • Toggle "Speech Selection" to "On";
  • Select the "Dialect" and "Speaking Rate" desired and toggle "Highlight Words" to "On" (Please note that this feature may not be available within specific apps, but is still a great option to have available while texting, emailing, or surfing the web.)


With these two items turned on, you should manually turn down your device's volume to its lowest setting—otherwise, your device could get noisy while attending a conference, meeting, or class lecture. This is true even when "Mute" has been turned "On". Be sure to manually make the change.

Auto-Correct Features

Your device has the ability to capitalize letters, correct your spelling, and more. To turn these features on:

  • Click the "Settings" icon on the home screen
  • Under the "General" menu, select "Keyboard" and toggle the following "on":
  • Auto-Capitalization;
  • Auto-Correction;
  • Check Spelling'
  • Enable Caps Lock (double tapping the shift key turns caps lock on, tap once again to turn it off);
  • "." Shortcut (automatically double spaces after a period to start a new sentence).


Keyboard Shortcuts

This feature allows you to bypass typing common phrases. Instead, you can create a shortcut that will fill in the full text for you. To turn this feature on:

  • Click on the "Settings" icon on the home screen
  • Under the "General" menu, select "Keyboard";
  • Locate the "Shortcuts" section. For example, if you would like "Yours Very Truly" returned every time "yvt" is entered, under "Phrase" input "Yours Very Truly" and under "Shortcut" enter "yvt" and then press save. You can create a variety of shortcuts.


Gestures (for iPad Only)

The iPad's "Gestures" option allows for different ways to make seections and move items on the screen. To turn on gestures:

  • Click the "Settings" icon on the home screen;
  • Under the "General" menu, toggle the heading "Multi-Tasking Gestures" to "On".


Some multi-tasking gestures that have been added to iOS 5 and higher that may be beneficial include:

  • Five Finger Pinch: Place all four fingers and your thumb on the screen at the same time and with them all still touching the screen move them in toward each other until they touch to easily return to the Home screen.
  • Four Finger Swipe Up: To quickly view the multi-tasking screen you can place four fingers simultaneously on the screen and, while still touching the screen with all four fingers, motion up to reveal the multi-tasking screen. (Note: The opposite is also true. If the multi-tasking screen is currently being displayed, simultaneously placing four fingers on the screen, while still touching the screen with all four fingers and motioning them down will hide the multitasking screen.)
  • Four Finger Swipe Left/Right: To switch between your open apps, you can place four fingers simultaneously on the screen, and while still touching the screen with all four fingers drag your fingers left (or right) across the screen. Each time you Four Finger Swipe Left or Right, you can quickly move between your most recently used apps.

Split Keyboard (for iPad Only)

Splitting the keyboard on your iPad will allow you to type with your thumbs. To do this:

  • Click the "Settings" icon on the home screen;
  • Under the "General" menu, select "Keyboard";
  • Toggle "Split Keyboard" to "on".


When this feature is enabled, you can toggle it on and off using gestures. To split the keyboard, pinch the tip of your index finger against your thumb as you touch the middle of the keyboard. While continuing to touch the keyboard with both your thumb and finger, split them apart, which will split the keyboard for typing with your thumbs.

To revert back to the original keyboard display is just as simple. With your finger and thumb separated a few inches apart, have both simultaneously touch each side of the separated keyboard. While each remains touching the keyboard, pinch your thumb and index finger together until they touch to have the full keyboard reappear.

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