Bye Bye Slideshow Maker

After hearing about the problems some colleagues have been facing when running the activities they have downloaded from my web site (need admin rights), I decided to move away from the open framework program I was using and write something new. All of my new ‘slideshow’ activities will be published in a new format which will make them accessible to pretty much everyone.


The new format has specific sections for switch users at cause and effect level with both auditory and visual prompts. A touch screen section puts large targets around the screen which students will need to find and touch. Mouse or other pointing device users get a section with a huge mouse pointer and targets that change colour when the mouse pointer is over them. Finally eye gaze users get their own section with large targets and a cross hair cursor to help them pin point the targets. (more…)

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Guided Access on the iPad: Step-by-Step

Guided Access on the iPad

Finally found a few spare minutes to make a short video and write a step-by-step guide to using Guided Access on the iPad. This accessibility feature has improved so much since its release with IOS6 back in 2012. I especially like the in-built timer function which will help those students who may have difficulties with sharing or those who like the iPad a little too much.

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Creating Switch Recipes in IOS 9: Step-By-Step

Switch Recipes IOS9

Apple made a few changes with IOS 9 including adding ‘switch recipes’ to the long line of accessibility features on their mobile devices. Switch Recipes has huge potential for special education, enabling us to make bespoke switch actions for specific apps or students. This will open up even more iPad apps to our switch users. I’ve put together an example using the app ‘Drawing with Stars’. The two minute video below shows the process and there’s also a step-by-step PDF if you need it.

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Appy Days: Autorap

Appy Days in ChristchurchIf you have ever attended one of Ian’s workshops or training days, you’ll know that we like to have fun while we are learning new skills. Recently Ian delivered training on the use of iPads and apps to support the needs of students with special needs at a school in Christchurch, New Zealand. One of the apps he showed was ‘Autorap’ from Smule.

Our students use the app to create simple ‘rap’ songs simply by speaking into the iPad’s microphone. We’ve made raps about Henry VIII, about counting, about crossing the road safely, and even about importance of brushing our teeth. (more…)

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Somantics App gets updated (finally)


Excellent to hear that Somatics app for the iPad has finally been updated for IOS8. I’ve shown Somantics pretty much since I started delivering iPad training. The touch activities are OK but what makes Somatics special are the cool camera effects such as painter and sparkles. Great for mirror work or better still, hook up the ipad to the projector and put the music on. (more…)

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iPads for Autism?

On Sunday, the US news programme ‘60 Minutes’ aired an article entitled ‘Apps for Autism’. As an assistive technology consultant it’s important for me to keep up-to-date with current practice in the use of technology to support people with disabilities. I watched it with interest.


Click the picture to watch the video

The article opens showing an Autistic young man who has no speech using an ipad with Proloquo to communicate with the interviewer. The young man is able to navigate through a series of dynamic menu pages to find pictures and symbols which correspond to the words and phrases he wants to use. The ipad partnered with Proloquo provides an affordable dynamic communication system which rivals devices such as those from Dynovox et al and for the young man featured in the article and hundreds of other speech impaired people, it is truly changing their lives. So why was I annoyed when I was watching it?


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