Physical Accessibility on iPad in General, for People with Fine Motor Difficulties

When I decided to buy the iPad I only knew for certain that I would manage Proloquo2go with the option for larger buttons as I had no idea what the rest of the Menu’s were like. So it was a bit of a gamble,  but I was fairly sure the iPod Touch was going to be too small for me to manage to use Proloquo2Go to communicate alot with,  going on how difficult I found it just send a simple text message on my Blackberry. I thought it may have some accessibility settings that may allow me to adjust the size of the icons/menu’s.

However the only menu’s in accessibility show Voice over,  Zoom,  White on Black,  Mono Audio,  Speak Auto-text and Triple Home click.

There does not appear to be any options to make the general menu’s any bigger or font’s any bigger,  unless you used the Zoom feature to do this.  This is ok if you have sight difficulties but my sight is fine,  I like to see the whole screen at once but fine-motor co-ordination is an issue for me.  There are also no settings for screen sensitivity unlike on the Blackberry Storm,  nor in-built ability to predict or offer shortcuts (abbreviations)  for entering text.

It does offer a word completion but I have yet to manage to hit this and it complete the word for me,  so I usually find its just easier to type the whole word out on the keyboard.  Landscape mode offers the biggest keys and this is easily manageable for me.

iPad keyboard in landscape mode

If this offered word prediction and abbreviations accessible in every app it would be great.

However there is an App called Zentap Pro which does offer abbreviations and word prediction, the text you write in there can be sent to clipboard,  directly into mail or safari.  I found it most useful for sending quick email from iPad.

Zentap Pro App has Word prediction and Abbreviation-Expansion

Proloquo2go is easy to make bigger buttons to tap with thumb or bottom of hand if you have a really shaky index finger due to intention tremor

P2G can be easily adjusted for bigger buttons

… but in general settings the menu’s are closer together and smaller to hit.  I came up with idea of putting my Pogo Sketch stylus into a weighted utensil holder (the gap was too tight to actually fit my fork into) and this makes an ideal pointer which works with both my iPad and my Blackberry Storm for texting.  The additiional weight helps to steady my hand whilst I aim.

adapted weighted holder with Pogo Sketch stylus

my weighted pointer makes it easier to select in smaller menu's

Overall I am really glad I bought it,  whatever communication aid I used I would have issues hitting the keys with and unfortunately its impossible to adapt the whole word of technology to solve my co-ordination issues!

The iPad will go a way to helping some of my issues with consumer technology though,  for example when the  Red Eye dongle is released in UK later this month I will also be able to use my iPad as a jumbo touchscreen TV remote and end my daily battle with the tiny buttons on TV/DVD remotes.  So I am planning to buy this in a few weeks and add it to my iPad.

There are also more advanced Environmental Control systems available when needed such as Control4 and X10 (I need to save up again first though!)  that can also control lights,  thermostats,  doors,  blinds.  I don’t feel I have reached the stage I need these yet but it’s good to know I can also control all those from my iPad if I was bedbound or unable to use my arms to do those things.

For now I am enjoying discovering the world of Apps and finding games I can play on them which I consider as part of my ‘training in Multi-touch gestures!!’  :)

The Scrabble and Broken Sword games I am finding particuarly enjoyable along with some classic simple games like memory match and ‘Simon’ (remember that from the 80’s?  – match the colours).

One game that hasn’t worked for me so far is Uni Sudoku, I thought you would get a number pad to press to select which number you want in a square (as you with DS)  but it doesn’t work like that, each square has a tiny area to activate each number as you are working out which number to put in but then you have to trace the shape of the number into the square to draw it in.  Even using stylus in weighted holder I found this extremely difficult to physically manage,  so I’m now looking for a version of sudoku with a large number pad at side to select numbers.  If anyone knows of one please leave a reply on here,  to tell me which one!

Apart from wasting a few pounds on the sudoku game I have managed well with the iPad and feel it has been worth the money. I like that its multi-functional so even if I don’t have opportunity to use it as a communication aid everyday,  it will still get used especially once the IR remote app is installed, even after the novelty with the games have worn off!


14 thoughts on “Physical Accessibility on iPad in General, for People with Fine Motor Difficulties

  1. Note that you can accept the iPad’s built in word completions by pressing the spacebar when you see one – you don’t have to touch the word on the screen. That might help!

  2. ah right it did happen once but I didn’t make connection between the space bar just assumed I had managed to hit the little box.

    Thanks, that should speed things up! How you doing with the VRT and wii fit?

  3. Pingback: proloquo2go and the iPad « N0thingbuteverything’s Weblog

  4. A pingback means somebody else wrote a post and linked to your post. If you click on the link at the top (where the name would be if it was a regular comment) it’ll show you the post 🙂

  5. Pingback: iPad For Users With Disabilities | ATMac

  6. Hi Kati, I’ve seen you post many times on the AAC forum and just by chance I came across your blog today.
    One thing jumped out at me
    Red Eye dongle is released in UK later this month
    Do you know when and where it will be available and price?
    Regards, Mike

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