Introduction to iPad Accessibility Features for Blind and Low Vision Students iOS 9.2

Every iPad has numerous built-in accessibility options for students with visual impairments and blindness.  The Introduction to iPad Accessibility Features for Blind and Low Vision Students manualdescribes and teaches the various accessibility options,low vision options and educational low vision apps, VoiceOver and VoiceOver Gestures, and has a brief introduction to pairing and using a refreshable braille display.

Four year old blind student using the swipe gesture on the iPad.This manual is the first manual in the iPad Accessibility series; also available are the Bluetooth Keyboard Commands with VoiceOver on the iPad and Using a Refreshable Braille Display manuals.These manuals are written specifically for teachers of the visually impaired as they instruct academic students with visual impairments to successfully and efficiently use an iPad in mainstream classrooms. Each section of the manual contains information about the task, teacher hints and teaching strategies, and step-by-step activities that can be used with students. The activities build on each other, creating a strong iPad accessibility curriculum.This manual was written to accompany the corresponding Introduction to iPad Accessibility Features for Blind and Low Vision Students workshop.  For information about the full-day iPad accessibility workshops, please contact

The Introduction to iPad Accessibility Features for Blind and Low Vision Students manual, written by Diane Brauner and Ed Summers, is being shared on the Paths to Technology website with permission from SAS Institute Inc.  Introduction to iPad Accessibility Features for Blind and Low Vision Students © 2016 SAS Institute Inc. Cary, NC, USA. All Rights Reserved.

The manual is organized into the following four chapters.  Under each chapter are links to the accompanying videos, Paths to Technology posts, VoiceOver gesture command chart and worksheets.  In addition to the attached documents, you will need three free iBooks to complete the activities: The Very Wimpy Kid, Edwin the Super Duper Otter by the Seattle Aquarium and Reach for the Stars: Touch, Look, Listen, Learn.

00 Introduction

The Introduction includes terms used in the manual and the Table of Contents.

01 Settings

The iPad has numerous general features and accessibility features to enable users to customize the iPad for a specific user.  The Settings chapter explains the various options and provides information to help you determine which options are best for you/your student.

02 Low Vision

Students in a classroom viewing presentation on the screen; student with albinisim accessing screen with Join.Me app on his iPad.This chapter focuses on how to use the iPad's built-in low vision features, including Zoom, Zoom Window, text size, color contrast and more.   Apps used by low vision students in the classroom, such as screen sharing apps and annotation apps are also discussed.

03 VoiceOver

Student making the rotor gesture on the iPad.This chapter is an introduction on how to use VoiceOver, the iPad's built-in screen reader.  VoiceOver uses simple gestures to interact with items on the screen and to drive the iPad. Teaching strategies for common issues are embedded throughout the manual - especially in this chapter.  A brief introduction on how to pair a refreshable braille display and how to get started with a braille display are included at the end of this chapter.

For an overview about teaching VoiceOver on the iPad, view the Getting Started with VoiceOver on the iPad post.

Working with preschoolers or young students with visual impairments and blindness?  Check out the Starting Blind Toddlers and Preschoolers on an iPad post.