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Special Stories User Guide - Switch Control

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Currently only available for iOS users

There are two options for using switches with Special Stories:

  • 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, and is designed for where the switch user will play the story, but another person (who doesn't need to use a switch) will support the user by starting the app and selecting the story. This works with all versions of iOS.

  • Using the support built into iOS

    Only available in iOS 7 and later, this more general switch support allows full control of the app, and the ability to access the home screen and to switch between apps, etc. This option requires more presses, and is suited to users who are able to navigate around the device more generally using 1 or 2 switches. If enabled (using Settings app Accessibility > Switch Control) this takes precedence over option 1.

The rest of this chapter describes option 1. To use this with iOS 7 or later, firstly ensure that Switch Control in the Settings app is turned OFF. If you wish to use option 2, 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 iPad, iPhone or iPod touch 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.


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