Stop what you are doing and read this! It will help you tremendously in therapy and/or with your students that use AAC for their voice!
This year I was asked to attend a PD opportunity about iPads and Special Needs. Unfortunately, I knew much of what was talked about and ended up being the token “share” person to talk about how I was using my iPad with students with special needs. However, there was one thing that I learned about that has so helped me! It made missing and making up those 3+ hours of therapy sessions completely worth it! It’s called “Guided Access” and it’s amazing!
How many times have you started working on a therapy app and the student exits the app and brings up a more preferred activity in about 2 seconds while you were jotting down some notes? How about the AAC user who would rather watch videos or play Angry Birds than utilize his iPad as his voice? I have several of these students this year. It’s amazing what they know and how they use that knowledge to start a speech session mutiny.
So, here’s how I’ve curtailed that and have increased the language and speech production of my AAC users at the same time!
Guided Access is an accessibility feature on iPads and iPhones (I assume iPods too?). It allows for the locking of apps and parts/features of apps while they are in use. Here’s how to set it up and how I utilize it:
Select Settings –> General –> Accessibility
Guided Access –> Enable Access switched to green –> Set a passcode –> Accessibility Shortcut switched to green (Time saver but is optional) and bam… it’s ready for you!
When in an app that you’d like to use GA with, simply triple-click on your home button to bring up this view. From here you can select specific areas that cannot be accessed (the greyed out portions seen above). They will still be visible but will have a light grey box/circle over them indicating that they are no accessible (above right photo). If you simply want to keep the student in the app but don’t need to limit areas of the app, you will not select areas but will simply click “begin” on the top right corner. You can also turn off the touch of the iPad, motion, and hardware buttons. These are nice if you need to keep the student from changing volume or changing the orientation.
Once GA is enabled, you are basically “locked in” to the app. To end GA, simply triple-click the home button again and enter your passcode. The screen will look like the picture above on the right again. You can then adjust the greyed portions, other options, or end GA.
It’s that simple! Guided Access has been a lifesaver for me. Here’s a few ways I’ve utilized it:
~ Keeping students IN the app. In particular, we’ve used it to keep a student’s AAC app up and running and keeping them from exiting their voice to play games. It has also helped to keep these students utilizing their AAC app throughout the day and encourages their paraprofessionals to utilize the app more!
~ De-activating the “repeat”, “finish”, and “record” functions in some speech and language apps when they aren’t being used.
~De-activating the edit and change vocabulary functions in AAC apps to keep students from deleting and changing their app without assistance.
~De-activating the address bar in internet browsers to keep students on one pre-determined web page.
Overall, this feature is one of my FAVORITES! It has allowed me to concentrate on therapy when using an iPad rather than policing what my students are pressing while in apps. It has also decreased frustrations and temptations with our students that utilize their iPad for AAC. We were routinely taking the iPad, changing it back to their AAC app, and giving it back to the student only to have to do it again when they decided that PBS Kids was more fun than talking or doing their work (weird, right?). Now they know that when an adult decides that they can utilize their iPad for recreation, the passcode will be entered and they will be able to exit the AAC app.
So, check it out! I hope this helps you as it has me!