Technology to support dyslexia and/or visual impairment

including free webinar from AbilityNet on accessibility, dyslexia and technology

Source: Wendy, Sight and Hearing Rehabilitation Officer

This month’s accessibility spotlight is on built-in accessibility options.

There are different options depending on the type of device you have and which platform they use; iOS (for Apple Devices) or Android (for all other makes and models).

We will start with iOS on Apple devices where you can get your iPhone or iPad to read the text on the screen to you by turning on the ‘Speak Screen’ feature on in Settings and then Accessibility. This YouTube video from Apple Support gives a good overview of this feature.

There is also a more powerful built-in screen reader called ‘VoiceOver’, which has been designed specifically for people with very low vision or who are blind.

You can also dictate, rather than type, text using the dictation button. You find this button to the left of the spacebar on your keyboard – just press on the microphone and speak! There is also a more powerful tool to dictate and edit text on your device using your voice, however, it will probably take some practice to use. Again, here is a good demonstration video from Apple Support.

Android devices also have similar functions. There is something called ‘Voice Assistant’, which you can turn on in Accessibility. In addition, there are also options to speak different parts of the screen. The equivalent to VoiceOver on Android is called TalkBack and again can be turned on in Accessibility.

This video from ‘The Blind Life’ gives an overview all of these functions. It is more difficult to pinpoint how they work on Android devices, as there are so many types of makes and models.

Lastly, AbilityNet (a charity that supports disabled people with technology) has a great web page on dyslexia with lots of information about apps, built-in accessibility on PCs as well as mobile devices and even a free webinar on Top tips for dyslexia and technology.