20+ New Ways Students With Special Needs Can Use iOS 5

iOS 5 has arrived and rather than rattle off the list of new features, I thought it might be helpful to understand how the new operating system for Apple’s mobile devices can help students (and others) with special needs.

iOS 5 features a new resource called Assistive Touch. It essentially streamlines more than 20 of the most-used processes for the device.It can help you do just about anything from having a custom lock screen to creating custom gestures that help you send mail. Assistive Touch is a big step forward for everyone with special needs. I suggest you check it out even if you may not think you’d benefit as it could actually help just about anyone looking to customize their experience a bit.

How Assistive Touch Works

The Assistive Touch Interface on the iPad

With Assistive Touch, an overlay menu is displayed that presents the user with commands that usually require certain physical actions, such as rotating the screen or shaking the device. This new feature allows for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touchto be more accessible to those who may not be able to accomplish these tasks.

Using Assistive Touch, users can just tap the onscreen controls using just one finger. Doing this will tell the operating system to do gestures that would usually require the user to do a more complex task, like use two or three fingers.

Other available commands include locking the screen, adjusting the volume and finger-based gestures like pinch and swipe.

Users can also create custom gestures, tracing certain patterns or movements with their fingers on the screen to accomplish some tasks that may be difficult. These gestures can then be given a name and accessed from the Assistive Touch menu.

Getting Started

You can access to Settings > General > Accessibility > Assistive Touch to enable it, and a semi-transparent square button will appear at the bottom of the device. With a click on the button, you will be able to perform actions like Shake, Pinch, Lock Screen, Rotate Screen, etc.

Custom Gestures

If you tap into Settings > General > Accessibility > Assistive Touch > Custom Gesture, you get an option to create and save your own version of custom gesture. The gesture will be saved into the Favorites section of the Assistive Touch, and it will do exactly what you’ve done in the recording session. It’s clear that the custom gesture is created as a macro shortcut to do certain task easier, so be prepared to use this convenient feature after you get iOS 5.

Assistive Touch In Action (Video)

iPhone Gallery

iPad Gallery

The Assistive Touch Interface on the iPad