Switch access to the iPad has been available for some time, and while the addition of switching to iOS7 has opened the iPad to many, particularly experienced switch users, the use of third party Bluetooth switch boxes allow for a simpler access method to specified apps. This can be useful for those who require an easier row column scan or a simple scan pattern.
Samples of switch accessible apps are outlined below, which may help switch users access the iPad for leisure, education or communication apps.
Cause and Effect apps:
Apps such as Inclusive Technology’s Five Sharks Swimming, Five Little Aliens and Smarty Pants, as well as apps like Rad Sounds require a single switch hit to start an activity. Big Bang Pictures, Sensory iMeba and Sensory Magma are apps designed with individuals with visual impairments in mind, as the images are high contrast. Splodge is an app that splatters paint on screen with every switch press.
Switch Kids, TouchMe PuzzleKlick and the Sights and Sounds range of apps look at developing multiple switch presses to complete an activity.
Apps requiring timed switch activation:
Little Lost Penguin, Hurdle Champion, Jungle Adventure, Sensory Room and a personal favourite, Splat the Clown, all have elements of timing switch hits associated with them. Rather than “flyswatting” the switch, the user has to wait until an object is in position before hitting the switch. For example, in Splat the Clowns, you have to wait until the clown is in the target area before you throw a pie at him! Matching Cards-Snap and Memory Pairs require a switch hit when two matching cards are displayed onscreen. New Age Kurling, Switch Box Invaders and Space Shooter are addictive games suitable for older students, requiring some timed switch activations.
2Player switch apps
Bumper Cars and Shhhh! from Inclusive and Turn Taking – Switch and Touch Accessible bundles allow two switches to be used by two separate individuals to work together on an activity. Sensory Just Touch and Sensory FotoFrez can be used with up to four switches which each carry out a differing effect on a photo.
Catch the Cow is a simple scanning game that introduces more complex scanning patterns. Racing Cars allows you to select which car to enter in a race. Scan and Match also targets multiple choice scan to match to a stimulus at the top of the screen, as does Switch Accessible Matching app. Aunt Maggie’s Recipe allows users to select various potions to combine and then choose who drinks the concoction! Switch Accessible Puzzles provide a high tech version of form boards, where pieces have to be inserted into the correct slot. Treasure Island is a game where you have to visit differing sections of a map in order to find the treasure. Switch Trainer has a variety of activities that work from a cause and effect to simple scan level.
More complex scanning games
Train Tracker is a nicely designed game that allows you to set up a track for your train to travel along. Koppy Kattz requires memory skills in order to repeat a sequence of up to five locations. Switch Accessible Mazes has three different levels of complexity to challenge the user. ChooseIt! Maker3 can create activities on a variety of levels, but these must be made on a pc. Switch Trainer has a variety of activities that work for single switch simple scan up to a two switch scan pattern.
First Alphabet One Switch pro introduces the alphabet to switch users. Scan-a-word lets switch users work on letter matching skills, giving auditory feedback. Rather than moving across a set list of options, a target constantly changes in the one location.
ChooseIt! Literacy has approximately 250 activities that can be used to reinforce the curriculum, working on phonemic awareness, the alphabet and visual recognition of wards.
The Sentence Key and Sentence Match range of apps work on creating grammatically correct sentence structures
ChooseIt! Numeracy focuses on shapes, space and early number skills, while Tom’s times tables Pro allows users to practice their multiplication tables through multiple choice activities.
ChooseIt! Science contains over 160 activities based on the UK science curriculum, many of which would have relevance to schools here.
Switch accessible books
Books that are easily switch activated include the Adapted Play books – EIEIO!, Peanut Butter, Dirty Duds and Hurry!Hurry!. MyOwnBooks2Go is an app containing many easy to read books. Interactive books include I Can Help, A Leader Is and Recycle It.
There are many switch accessible communication apps available, so only a selection are mentioned here.
The TapSpeak range of apps, which includes the Button, Sequence and Choice options, allow communication from a cause and effect level to a choice making level, includes some options to customise how the switch works. Auditory scanning is also possible.
Alexicom is a subscription based app, where by you can create your own pages or purchase pre-made page sets.There is no message window to construct sentences, or text screen to spell out words.
GoTalk Now, an app version of the popular low tech AAC device, allows for linked pages with between 1 and 25 locations. There is no message window but auditory scanning is possible.
Scene & Heard, a visual scene display app, will allow users to select various hotspots with a picture to speak aloud a recorded message. Traditional Grid displays are also possible.
Sounding Board is a free app that allows for the construction of linked pages with between 1 and 20 locations per screen. Recorded speech is used and auditory scanning is possible too. TalkRocket Go is another similar app, where locations are presented in a list view.
PicBoard, which is a non-speaking communication app, and its counterpart with speech output, TalkBoard, are both switch accessible. Talkboard gives the option of auditory feedback and a message window to construct sentences.
One of the first AAC apps on the market, Proloquo2Go, is now switch accessible (version 3 and later). This has multiple scan types included to find one that best suits the end user.
TalkTablet Neo is on a similar level to Proloquo2Go, for those who want both symbol and text-to-speech options to construct their messages.
Predictable is a fully featured text to speech app, which is particularly useful for those who have degenerative conditions. It includes access to common social media to allow the user to post statuses and comments, along with some non speech vocalisations (i.e “Ahem”, cough and laugh)