UPDATE! The ABC’s of iOS manual is available FREE for everyone!
Are you a parent or teacher of a toddler, preschooler, or kindergarten student who is visually impaired or blind? Are you wondering how to introduce your child to technology and what accessible educational apps are available for your child? Are YOU familiar with VoiceOver gestures and the unique tech concepts that students who are visually impaired need to learn? Is your early elementary student independent with his/her iPad? The ABC’s of iOS: A VoiceOver Manual for Toddlers and Beyond! is for you! Designed for educators and family members, this user-friendly manual provides step-by-step instruction on how to introduce a young child with visual impairments or blindness to intentionally and purposefully interact with an iPad and/or iPhone using VoiceOver. The manual incorporates accessible apps with progressive educational content to help prepare children to be successful in mainstream classrooms.
Students start at their current level and move through the activities and levels at their own pace. Using age-appropriate activities and apps, the manual is designed to introduce VoiceOver (Apple’s built-in screen reader) to students 3 to 8 years old with little or no tech experience. Levels are organized by skills with various activities appropriate for different ages/abilities. Multiple apps with repetitive gestures/concepts are used to teach and practice each skill.
Chapter 1 starts with fun, musical apps that encourage the little ones to simply touch and explore the screen to hear fun sounds. Students can interact with multiple fingers – no isolated finger movements or gestures required! Lots of fun repetition through multiple apps with similar activities. Students move through the lessons at their own pace. The manual then introduces 1-finger gestures along with basic tech skills such as spatial relationships, mental mapping, listening skills, and earcons, before systematically introducing 2-finger gestures, then 3-finger gestures. The content of the apps and activities also evolves to include educational content appropriate for this age group. There is also a section with content geared for a slightly older student who has not learned the basic VoiceOver gestures. In each step, students are introduced to the unique tech concepts that lay the foundation for accessing digital content using a screen reader.
As students move forward, basic refreshable braille display and/or Bluetooth keyboard commands are introduced. For emerging readers, activities include fun reading and writing activities, paired with accessible educational apps. The ABC’s of iOS teaches numerous tech skills that lay ta strong foundation for life-long use of assistive technology.
“In one week, our 3 ½ year old has gone from continually hitting the screen, pushing the home button, putting the iPad in her mouth to tapping and swiping, showing us where the Home button, the bottom and top of the screen is located, sitting up and enjoying it! We are so over joyed by the difference!” – parent
“I never knew that introducing VoiceOver to a preschooler was so easy!” – Early Intervention Teacher of the Visually Impaired
“I had no idea how many tech gaps my students and I had! Through the ABC’s of iOS manual, I learned about the drag and split tap gestures, earcons, spatial concepts, and so much more! No wonder my students used to struggle with their tech skills!” – Teacher of the Visually Impaired with students in Kindergarten and 2nd grade
“Our goal is to level the playing field for kids with sight loss so they have the same access to information as their sighted peers at the same time. We believe this manual will play an important role in doing just that.” CNIB Foundation
With COVID-19 school closures, technology has become an integral part of remote instruction. Access to 1:1 technology and technology skills have become even more critical for students in K-3rd grade.
CNIB Store: “As we all practice self-isolation, we would like to make the ABC’s of iOS available as a free tool. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, please reach out to our Customer Care centre directly either via e-mail at: [email protected] or via telephone: 1-866-659-1843.”
Note: You can download the ABC’s of iOS manual from the CNIB Store website.
By Diane Brauner