Special Stories User Guide - Switch Control | Special iApps Skip to main content

Special Stories User Guide - Switch Control

Back     Contents

Options for Using Switches

Special Stories can be controlled using switch access scanning, with 1, 2 or 3 switches connected to the tablet, phone or computer via a Bluetooth switch interface.

Alternatively, USB switches can be connected to the device's USB port.  In the case of an iPad or iPhone, Apple's Camera Adapter can be used to connect USB switches to the device's charging port (although you may need to connect via a powered USB hub).

  • Using the support provided by Special Stories

    This provides simple switch access to turn the pages and play the sounds within a story, requiring very few presses. It is available in all editions of the app, on all devices.

This is designed for where the switch user (typically a child) will control the activity, but another person (usually an adult) will support the user by starting the app and selecting the activity using the touch screen.

  • Using the support built into the operating system

iOS, macOS and Android provide switch support, allowing full control of many apps, and the ability to access the home screen and to switch between apps, etc.

This option requires more presses, and is generally suited to adult users with no intellectual disability.

Apple's built-in support is enabled or disabled in the iPad or iPhone's Settings, or the Mac's System Preferences, under Accessibility > Switch Control. Note that you must turn this off to make use of the switch facilities provided by Special Words.

Android built-in support is enabled or disabled in the device's Settings, as documented in Google's Instructions. Note that you must turn this off to make use of the switch facilities provided by Special Words.

The rest of this chapter describes the support provided by Special Stories. To use this, firstly ensure that any Switch Control in the device's Settings is turned OFF.

 

If you wish to use the support built into the operating system, there is a blog by Jane Farrall with videos that you may find helpful.

Special Stories doesn't have a scanning mode for use with switches, but you can turn the pages of a story using 1 or 2 switches connected to the device via a Bluetooth switch interface.

To make use of this feature, you need to have already enabled Bluetooth on your Apple device, and have paired it with the switch interface. The first switch must be configured to act as a space key or the sequence of two keys ~1, and the second switch (if used) to act as an enter key or the sequence of two keys ~3. Unlike with our Special Words app, you do not need to configure Special Stories to tell it how many switches you have.

Clicking the first switch turns to the next page, as if you had tapped the blue right arrow. If viewing the last page, clicking returns to the first page.

If you have a second switch, you can use it in either of two ways, in conjunction with the app's Using Sound settings:

  • To play sound

    Clicking the second switch will play the sound for the current page if the app's Tapping Pictures setting is ON. If you only want the sound to be played when the second switch is clicked, and not when turning pages with the first switch, then turn OFF the Turning Pages setting.

  • To turn back

    Clicking the second switch will turn back to the previous page if the app's Tapping Pictures setting is OFF. In this case, you probably want to have the Turning Pages setting ON, or the sounds for the pages won't be played at all. When viewing the first page of a story, the second switch will do nothing.

Refer to Chapter 7 for more information about settings.

special-stories-ios-switch.jpg

We have tested Special Stories using the APPlicator switch interface and Smoothie 75 switches manufactured by Pretorian Technologies Ltd. Other switches and interfaces should also work provided they emulate a Bluetooth keyboard with space and enter or ~1 and ~3 keys. In fact, you can also use any standard Bluetooth keyboard that works with your Apple device, by pressing its Space Bar and Enter keys.

If you have any difficulty getting your switches to work, check whether they generate any input with other apps on your device, e.g. Notes, Pages or Safari. If the switches are connected and configured correctly, then you should be able to use them to input space and enter or ~1 and ~3 key-presses in these apps, without the on-screen keyboard appearing.

If you have problems caused by switches unintentionally being pressed multiple times or being held down, you can alleviate this by adjusting the options in Settings app > Accessibility > Keyboards > Key Repeat (in iOS 13 and later) or General > Accessibility > Keyboard > Key Repeat (in iOS 9 to 12).

See Also

Using Switches with Special Words

Using Switches with Match & Find