Aiding learning from home

The sections below are hardware and software which may be useful when learners are at home.  For further advice or support please contact one of TechAbility’s Assistive Technologists techability@natspec.org.uk

SEND specific resources

Electronic Communication

If you use an electronic communication aid the best source of support for hardware and software issues will be the company who makes it.  The main companies are:

Smartbox (Grid 3 and Grid for iPad) – info@thinksmartbox.com 01684 578868

Liberator (Accent devices) – info@liberator.co.uk 01733 370470

Assistiveware (Proloquo2Go) – info@assistiveware.com

TherapyBox (Scene and Heard) – info@therapy-box.co.uk 020 8749 3474

If you have questions about the content of the language pack please try to get in touch with the learners’ Speech and Language Therapist.

Barnsley Hospital have put together a set of videos on using AAC equipment – electronic and paper-based – for anyone who might be struggling.

Paper-based Communication

Boardmaker

Used for making visual guides and social stories. 30 Day free trial available.

SymWriter 2

Symbol supported word processor.  To be used either by learners who need reinforcement of symbols when typing. Or for creating resources. 21 Day free trial available.

Please don’t just type and use all the symbols!  Just key words – some guidance on how to use symbols here.

Online Software

HelpKidzLearn

Engaging games and learning activities accessible by touchscreen, switch or mouse. Most also work on iPad – look for the iPad label on the game logos. 14 day free trial available then subscription is £72 per year.

SENict

Loads of free, engaging activities for switch, mouse, touchscreen and eyegaze. The SENict portal is here.

There is also a SENict subscription site which now has a 30 day free trial.

TarHeel Reader

A collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. Each book can be speech enabled and accessed using touch screens, mouse switches.

TarHeel Gameplay

Free, easy-to-play, and accessible games. Each game is speech enabled.

You can create your own games using videos from the huge collection at YouTube.

Downloadable Software

Grid 3. (PC only).

This is a fairly complex piece of software, but has many pre-made activities within it. Importantly there is a full functional 60 day free trial.  Most activities can be accessed with mouse, touchscreen or switches.

Clicker 8 and DocsPlus.

Literacy based activities, many pre made or make your own. Clicker 8 and DocsPlus are freely available for home use while the CoronaVirus exclusions are in place. Colleges need to contact Cricksoft to get a code they can share with learners for a free installation.

Switch Use

Before you start switching…

  1. Read this great switch progression guide.
  2. If you need any assistance or advice email techability@natspec.org.uk

Switch Driver

If you have a switch and a switch box (interface) you will need this software to make it work with the online software mentioned above.  Switch Driver is free and a user manual for Switch Driver is available.

If you don’t have a switch or interface get in touch on techability@natspec.org.uk and we can give you some tips about other ways to access.

iPad and Android Apps

Pictello. (iPad) 

Great for making social stories, guided activities, instructions and loads more.  Will read out any text you put into pages. Really simple to use but does cost £18.99

Our Story. (iPad)

Create social stories, guided activities, instructions etc. This app is free but you will need to record any speech output and it is a little harder to use than Pictello.

Inclusive Technology Apps (iPad and Android)

Wide range of apps at a basic access level – many of the apps are free.

Sensory App House (iPad and Chrome)

Loads of free apps aimed at sensory learners.  Also can be run in Chrome Browser if you don’t have an iPad.

App wheels

These posters show a range of apps which are available for learners with Additional Support Needs.  Including:

  • iPad Apps for Learners with Complex Additional Support Needs
  • Android Apps for Complex Communication Support Needs
  • Android Apps for Learners with Dyslexia / Reading and Writing Difficulties
  • iPad Apps for Learners with Dyscalculia/Numeracy Difficulties

Computer, Tablet and Phone Accessibility

Office 365 Learning Tools

If you have Office 365 there are accessibility tools built in which can assist reading and writing. Anyone in full time education can get a free Office 365 account.

General guides to access

Short video guides to changing settings on computers, phones and tablets.

Windows Accessibility

General guide to making changes in Windows 10 which may improve access. 

Mac Accessibility

General Guide to making changed in Mac OS which may improve access.

General

ALN Home School

This is a growing resource of links put together by the Assistive Technologist at Bridgend College. Loads of links to software and guides which may be useful.

Accessible Teaching in the Time of COVID-19

Basic IT Skills

Guides from BT explaining how to conduct basic practical skills online for anyone who might be doing it for the first time.

Transitioning to Home-Schooling

A set of resources from UCL’s Centre for Inclusive Education about adjusting children and young people with SEND to a new, home-schooling routine.

General Resources for everyone

Online Meetings

Microsoft Teams

Live captioning in Microsoft Teams.

Remote Working

2 weeks in: what we’ve learned about remote work

An Article from Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, on how they’ve transitioned to remote work.

General Guides to Online Teaching

The following are general guides on advice for teaching online:

Jisc resources