iPad AccessibilityThe KNFBreader is an expensive app, and worth every penny. No more will you need to be frustrated by PDF files which you can’t read. Open the file in KNFBreader and press the “recognize text” button. Each page takes about one second to recognize, on an iPhone 5s, and the OCR is really good. I’m so impress that I’m showing this app to all my clients and their Voc Rehab counselors.
If the $99 price is too high for you, try TextGrabber Translator, which has the same OCR engine. You can’t import PDF files, but you will be able to take a picture of a document and have it read back to you.
There is magnification software built in, too. When it is turned on, just three finger tap and push up to zoom in, down to zoom out. Move around the screen with three fingers while in zoom mode. White text on black background is a choice, too.
Youtube app: Once you choose a video, it will start within a few seconds. Tap with two fingers to pause or resume the video. The back button is at the upper left corner of the screen, and can be activated by the four-finger scrubbing motion. There is a search area on the upper right side, which you can also find by using one finger to flick right or left. This is like pressing the tab key on a regular keyboard.
Some apps are only partly accessible via VoiceOver. Apple's News app is fully accessible. In addition to a screen reader and magnification, the iPad has closed caption for those with hearing loss. It is also usable by those with minimal hand movement. Knuckles work just as well a fingers to touch the screen, even the chin can be used. A mouth stick can be made from an aluminum arrow and an inexpensive stylus.
I found some very useful iPad software which cost almost nothing. Please check the AAC software page for my suggestions.
- Spell better - a free version works well, and the $9.99 version which I’ve not tried.
- Speak It -app speaks anything you put on the screen, can type or cut and paste from email or other apps. $1.99
I now personally know four people who have switched from a Dynavox for AAC to the iPad. Several people have posted questions about a way to mount the iPad to a wheelchair. Here is one good answer. ram-mount.com has a chair mount. It’s really meant for mounting to a motorcycle handlebar or something like that, but a bar attached to a wheel chair will work the same way.
ProtectionAs more and more families are getting or considering getting an iPad for AAC, I’ve been asked many times about the durability of the iPad. While the iPad seems to be quite hardy, it was not designed specifically for use as a device for people with disabilities. Therefore, I suggest that people get an extra warranty from either SquareTrade or from your home owners insurance company. Get one that covers drops and spills. My State Farm policy covers three laptops with a zero deductible for about $61 per year. Lastly, check amazon.com or your local Apple dealer for a protective case. Otterbox iPad Defender available from amazon.com for $48 looks very rugged, though it seem seems heavy.
Griffin Technologies has a great cases. In one video, they drop an ipod touch, in the Survivor case, from the top of a three story building onto the parking lot, and it still works. This should survive whatever a child might do to the iphone or ipad.