Accessories for Accessibility

There are a couple of great tools that make accessing the iPad easier for some people.  I plan to talk about two of these tools – first a bag that makes carrying the iPad secure, safe, and convenient and second a keyguard that can be used with a variety of apps for those who find it a bit tricky to access the right buttons without a guide.

We have found ourselves suggesting the iBackflip Somersault bag to many clients: http://ibackflip.com/shop/ibackflip-somersault/ – there are some great videos and more information at this link.  Note that this version will also accommodate a laptop computer, or you can purchase the ‘Slim’ that just has space for the iPad.

It’s a stylish over one shoulder bag that looks great, and has a devoted iPad sleeve that allows the wearer to use the iPad while it remains safely in the bag, and attached to them.  No need to take off the backpack and get the iPad out, just turn it from the back to the front and open the zipper. ibackflip

What we like – you aren’t showing everyone that you’re carrying around an iPad, it’s easy to access when needed (great if you use it on the go for reminders or a communication app), you can access all of the ports, and use the camera while the iPad is in the bag.  It’s very functional and well thought out.  It also fits all iPads so you don’t have to worry about getting a new case if you upgrade in the future.

The one thing that I would add is a screen cover or protection for when the iPad is in use, or in the event that a client decides to throw their keys in the same pocket as the iPad.  In order to decrease the chances of this happening we often install Zagg shields (the clear, stick-on screen protectors).

The bag makes the iPad a bit bulky, and it isn’t protected when it’s outside the bag, but I’d say if someone is out and about or walking around at school or work this bag could be the perfect fit.

Now for some information on the keyguards available for the iPad.  If you’re not familiar with keyguards they are often used with speech generating devices that have a touch screen to assist people with selecting buttons more accurately.  They are made of plastic or plexiglass and snap onto the device.  There are holes cut out of the plastic where the buttons are located.  The plastic overlay prevents the user from accidentally touching buttons with stray fingers that may be laying on the touch screen.  A company called Lasered Pics is now making these adaptive tools for the iPad – http://www.laseredpics.biz/servlet/the-Adaptive-Technologies-Supplies/Categories – there are many options based on the app being used, as well as the configuration of the app.keygaurdThe keyguards can be attached to the iPad in various ways.  Lasered Pics has made the attachments differently depending on the case that will be used with it.  They have clear guidelines about how to order the keyguard and how it will attach to the case/ iPad.  Another note is that if they don’t have what you’re looking for they may be able to make it, so don’t hesitate to contact them with your ideas or questions.

A quick note – some of the attachments include suction cups – they stick very well, but I know that for a few individuals this may not work.  Also, make sure to think about the configuration of the app that you are using to ensure that it will work with the keyguard.  The buttons need to be a uniform size to match with the holes in the keyguard.  Also, if you are using more than one app you will have to change keyguards for each app (and then take it off if you’re going to be working on it).

Hope you find these accessories as helpful as we do!
Sarah “Techimom”
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