The iPad(new window) makes a fantastic Assistive Technology (AT) device for many different reasons, one being the multitude of apps that are available to assist with almost any task. But before we even get to the apps, the iPad itself has some fantastic features built right in. Some of our favorites include: Text to Speech or Speak Selection, Voice Recognition or Dictation, and of course, Guided Access. The beauty of these features is that they work within any app on your iPad or iPhone(new window) device.

Text to Speech or Speak Selection

As its name would suggest, this feature allows highlighted text to be read aloud. It is important to note that this differs from the VoiceOver function, which speaks everything you tap, allowing someone to navigate the iPad without seeing what is on the screen. Even once Speak Selection is turned on, it needs to be triggered each time.

After Speak Selection is turned on under the Accessibility Features, simply hold your finger down on the text you’d like it to read aloud. The copy/paste menu will pop up. Highlight the text, and in the text edit popup, select “speak”. Your iOS(new window) device will now read the text back to you.

a graphic image of a light bulbTIP: Did you know you can use SIRI as an electronic talking dictionary? Simply ask what is the definition of ___ and SIRI will tell you!


Voice Recognition or Dictation

This feature allows you to talk wherever you’re able to type. Turn it on under “Settings” and “Keyboards” and enable “Dictation.” Whether you’re writing an email, a text, or just browsing the internet, simply tap the microphone icon on your keyboard and your words will be immediately converted from voice into text.

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TIP: SIRI can remind you about appointments or due dates. Simply tell SIRI Remind me about ___, and a reminder will be automatically set.


Guided Access

An amazing tool for the parent, therapist, or educator; Guided Access allows you to customize the level of restriction on your iOS device in a few quick steps. Want to restrict access to only one app? Perhaps you’d like to impose a time limit on each task? All this and more can be easily accomplished with this feature. This can also be turned on under “Settings” and “Accessibility” down at the bottom.

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