More Usage Scenarios
Simply stand the tablet, with the keyboard in front of it, and let the child drag the card by pressing and holding the arrow or number keys. Alternatively, on a Chromebook, let the child use the built-in physical keyboard in the same way.
Assisting a Switch User
The keyboard can be used alongside switch interfaces. Scanning and selecting can be emulated using the keyboard's Spacebar and Enter keys.
Any external keyboard that works with built-in apps on the Android tablet or Chromebook can also be used with Special Words. You can use the same keyboards with an Android phone, although the smaller screen may pose challenges for some children.
Simply pair the keyboard with the device, from the Bluetooth options in the Settings app, and it is ready for use.
To connect a USB keyboard with a standard cable and USB-2 plug, you will typically need an adapter or extension cable with a USB-2 socket at one end and a plug matching the USB/charging socket on your device. Older devices usually have a micro-USB socket, newer ones often have a USB-C socket instead).
Note: Most PC keyboards can be connected directly like this, but those that draw a lot of power may need to be connected via a powered USB hub, as explained in Troubleshooting below.
An older keyboard with a round PS/2 plug (typically purple) will work, provided you have a compatible PS/2 to USB adapter. Connect the adapter to the keyboard's PS/2 plug, and then employ as for USB keyboards above.
Note: Small one-piece PS/2 to USB adapters do not work with all PS/2 keyboards. Adapters with two PS/2 connectors, one for keyboard and the other for mouse, are usually compatible, but only the keyboard half can be used with an iPad or iPhone, as iOS has no mouse support.
Apple's Smart Keyboard, and similar keyboards that attach to the magnetic Smart Connector on an iPad, cannot be used with Android. However, Apple wireless keyboards that support Bluetooth can be used to control Special Words on Android.
You may like to spend some time practising using a keyboard before trying alongside a child. The keyboard shortcuts are organised into key groups, depending on whether the Alt or Ctrl modifier keys are pressed at the same time. The roles of these groups are summarised below.
Dragging the card to match, reloading the current page, and emulating switches.
Alt + Key
Tapping the baseboard cards, playing sound, navigating pages and enabling or disabling the padlock.
The Alt key is labelled as Option on some keyboards.
Control + Key
Selecting another activity, adjusting volume, increasing or decreasing animation speed.
Note that volume adjustment only affects this app, and to allow a full range you should set the device's volume to maximum before opening the app.
Alt + Control + Key
Setting baseboard Cards Per Page (1 - 4), changing the Shuffle Cards setting, enabling or disabling Reward and Advancing to Next Page, selecting Capital Letters.
Numeric Keypad and Navigation Keys
If your keyboard has a numeric keypad, you can use this to drag, play sound, and adjust volume and animation speed. If it has navigation keys (Page up, Page Down, Home, End), you can use these for page-navigation.
These keys duplicate functions on the main part of the keyboard, but without the need for two fingers.
You can download a PDF keyboard map for Special Words Pro in English, Catalan, Dutch, French, German, Norwegian, Polish or Spanish. Note that these maps are based on an Apple keyboard layout as used with an iPad. However, the key mappings are the same when a keyboard is used with Android, except that (a) you need to use the Control key instead of the Apple-specific Cmd key, and (b) the "Padlock" key combination (Alt-Backspace) and the "More" (Tab) key have no effect.
We have listed some common issues and solutions here. For further help, please contact us.
To check whether the keyboard is working, open an app such as Gmail or Safari. If you can enter characters, the keyboard is connected.
If you have problems with a wireless keyboard, check the Android device or Chromebook has Bluetooth enabled and that it is paired with the keyboard (in the device's Settings). Don't forget to turn the keyboard on if it has a switch to do this. If your device cannot find the keyboard, see if it needs recharged or new batteries.
If a USB keyboard isn't working, check it with a PC or Mac, to be sure there isn't a fault with the keys or cable. If the keyboard draws a lot of power, you may need to use a hub (as described above).
Note that before you can emulate switches, you must tell Special Words whether to use one, two or three, as explained in Chapter 7.