iPad Accessibility

Check This Out!!!

We have created an iPad Accessibility Training Tool that teachers can use to help set up their student’s iPads with important accessibility features such as text-to-speech, speech-to-text, and word prediction. This training format is called ThingLink and includes a series of videos that teachers can display on their laptops through the projector. We are using ThingLink to help engage our students and provide a format that is supportive. Students can follow along on their iPads while watching the videos on the projector. They will be given opportunities to practice using the tools. After opening the link below, select the #1 tag for more instructions:

Click the image

iPad Accessibility Videos -Quick links

***SLIDESHOW*** Student Accessibility with iPads and Educational Materials*** –Click here


Reading SupportText-to-speech (TTS) can be helpful for a number of emerging readers. It can support students with visual impairments, learning disabilities, motor challenges, and it can build reading skills

  1. Set up built-in text-to-speech (TTS) features
    1. PDF Instructions (with embedded videos) -Updated
    2. video
  2. Use TTS features on an iPad
    1. PDF Instructions (with embedded videos) -Updated
    2. General –video
    3. Seesaw –video
    4. Canvas –video
    5. Peak/Fuel Ed –video
    6. Florida Virtual –video
  3. Set up text-to-speech in multiple languages to have text read aloudvideo
  4. Google “G” App -The Google app can capture images of paper documents, signs, handwriting, and other text and read them aloud. It can also translate the text to another language and read it aloud. –video
  5. 8th Generation  iPads: These new iPads have the capability to read the text  from paper handouts that have been photographed using the camera app.  video (see writing section to see how the gen 8 iPads can also include typing onto a photo)
  6. Claro ScanPenThis simple app allows a student to take a photo of a worksheet, textbook page, or any other typed text and convert it to digitized -OCR- text to then be read aloud with TTS in 3 quick steps. Easy to use. –video
  7. Bookshare -Bookshare is an organization that offers students with “qualifying disabilities” alternative formats to access assigned novels and some textbooks. Books can be read on the website or downloaded and then put into a text reader  app on the iPad. Bookshare books are read out loud in a digitized voice -TTS. *click this link for more info*
  8. Voice Dream Reader app for iPad and iPhone -This is a very nice paid app that will read text in PDF and EPUB formats to students. It highlights each word as it is read. It also has a built-in OCR scanner that will digitize photos of paper documents. –video
  9. Translate webpages in the Chrome app –video


Writing Support –Dictation (speech-to-text), word prediction toolbar, and recording voice notes – all options are available on 4J iPads.

Dictation can help students express what they know. Allowing students to submit their ideas using their voice can be a great 1st step in the writing process and can help students to get their ideas into written format.

Here are a few tips when using this tool:

  1. Rehearse a given thought/idea using slow & clear speech for practice.
  2. After activating the dictation microphone, wait 1 second before speaking.
  3. Dictate punctuation/endmarks.
  4. Start/stop the microphone between thoughts/ideas, unless capable of clearly speaking multiple sentences with endmarks and without long pauses or excessive background noises.
  5. Look away from the screen while dictating to reduce distractions and increase focus on the intended speech.
Word prediction can support students with spelling, reading, and motor challenges.  It predicts word choices and completes word spelling based on phonetics and context.  It can help build spelling skills and increase the use of vocabulary. Students with motor challenges and learning disabilities can type out more words with fewer keystrokes.
Click the resources below for support with writing accessibility:
  1. Updated PDF Instructions
    1. iPad Dictation (speech-to-text)
    2. Read&Write Word Prediction
  2. Set up built-in iOS features -dictation and word prediction –video
  3. Set up dictation in another languagevideo
  4. Set up the Read&Write predictive keyboard for robust word prediction –video
  5. Use built-in iOS and R&W features for dictation and word prediction –video
  6. Use the Easy Spelling Aid app as an alternative to iOS dictation –video 
  7. Use the Markup tool to annotate/draw over a photo of a worksheet. Newer 8th-9th gen iPads can have text in the photo read aloud.
    1. Step-by-step PDF instructions –Printable PDF
    2. Video instructions –Video
  8. Use the Notes app to scan worksheets and annotate with iOS MarkupInstructions
  9. Use SeeSaw to complete a writing assignment with dictation, word-prediction and voice recordings – video
  10. Use the Notes app to use multimedia tools to produce a written task – video
  11. Use the Canvas app with multimedia tools to adapt a writing assignment –video


Wit and Wisdom curriculum

Much of the online version of the curriculum is accessible with the screen reader built into iPads, but the handouts and some other materials are not. This is a workaround to address this.  This video shows staff and students how to access the student handouts while in the online version of  Wit and Wisdom.      https://youtu.be/6T0UAqFa-AI 

For students who are not using the online version of Wit and Wisdom, visit the 4J Learning Hub to learn how students can access digitized materials and use accessibility tools:  https://sites.google.com/4j.lane.edu/4j-instruction-and-curriculum/home.  

The Wit and Wisdom section of the  Learning Hub contains this Google Doc. It explains all of the processes of sharing digitized PDFs with students and how students can interact with the PDFs.  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ur1TZ7s5HKOQhZTU5WmPcQyjdtuDKw2k9TgoLt4s-gU/edit?mode=html#


PDF Accessibility –It may seem complicated to access and complete PDF assignments using reading and writing accessibility features. Fortunately, all iPads have the Books app. This app makes it easy to put it all together.  There are other apps and online tools that can accomplish this as well.

Sometimes PDFs are assigned without having first been digitized to make them accessible with text-to-speech. PDFs should be digitized first then assigned. For information on how to scan and convert paper document to digitized PDFs refer to our blog page -UDL/AEM. 
  1. Use the Books app to annotate/draw and read PDFs with accessibility features –video
  2. Use the Books app to complete and submit PDFs assigned in Seesawvideo
  3. Use the Books app with Canvas PDFs in the Chrome Browser –Students can access a Canvas PDF assignment in the Chrome Browser and then open the PDF in the Books app. After reading and writing in the PDF using accessibility features like text-to-speech, dictation, and word prediction, students will save the PDF in their “Files” app. When ready to submit the assignment, students will upload the PDF to Canvas from the “Files” app. –video
  4. Canvas PDFs from the Canvas App –Using the Canvas App for PDF assignments is less complicated than the above strategy. However, many schools are not using the Canvas App widely due to known glitches and instability. In some cases, students may be asked by their teacher to use this method for PDF assignments only. –video
  5. Book  Creator – great app for making creative books that can include text, drawing, photos, videos, and more. (free for lite version) –video 
  6. Claro PDF Pro -When approved by the AT specialist, this paid app can be provided to support both reading and writing accessibility with paper worksheets.  -Instructions



Using an iPad in a Foreign Language

iPads can be set up to offer support in various languages. They can read Spanish text aloud and allow students to dictate words and sentences in French, for example. 

Open this Google Doc for instructions:     Foreign Language iPad tools


Organizational Accessibility and Resources

There are several apps and strategies that can assist with scaffolding and organizing tasks. Students who use accessibility features and/or alternative inputs have many great options on the iPad. 

Voice Notes are a great way for a reluctant writer to show the teacher what they know by recording their thoughts and answers to questions on an assignment.  Students can listen to their voice notes/memos to help organize their ideas for writing tasks.

 Here are some ideas to help with organization:

  1. Create a school planner or task tracker using the Notes app –video
  2. Take notes using Voice Memos and other media in the Notes app –video
  3. Use multimedia tools in Notes to assist with the writing process – video
  4. Graphic Organizers
    1. Use the Books app to annotate/draw over PDF graphic organizersvideo
    2. Graphic Organizer Documents/PDFS:
      1. This website has some great GOs –https://my.hrw.com/nsmedia/intgos/html/igo.htm
      2. Who, What, When, Where, How, Why
      3. What I learned
      4. Cornell Notes
      5. Five-Paragraph Essay
      6. Brain Storming Web
      7. Opinion Essay -Outlining
      8. Opinion Essay -Strong Writing Support
      9. Story Map
      10. Story Starter Sentences
    3. Inspiration Maps app -Build beautiful diagrams, graphic organizers, and outlines with ease. –video
      1. How to use Inspiration Maps –video