Speak Selection – you just have to know about this!

photoSpeak Selection is one of the most exciting and useful accessibility features on the iPad. It has been around for a while now, since iOS 5 in fact, but has continued to improve with time. We had mentioned it in Accessibility Settings in iOS: access to i-devices explaine d but since this time there have been more features added to make it even more functional, and now we think it deserves its own post.

Well, what does it do I hear you ask? Once speak selection is turned on in the accessibility section of the general settings app, it will speak aloud text that is highlighted in some apps such as Notes, Safari and iBooks. This text-to-speech feature is great for some of the students with diverse learning needs that we support who comprehend the written text better if it is spoken aloud, or for people with a vision impairment who need this support feature to access text at various times as their fatigue levels fluctuate.

It is simple to activate, when you highlight text in an app such as the ones mentioned above, as well as the standard copy, select all and define buttons that appear you will also get the option to speak. Press this button and voilà!

As I mentioned, it does depend on the app whether or not compatibility with this function has been included as part of the development, which is why it is available with many of the Apple native apps. But it means at the very least you can read any note, webpage or ebooks with the support of text to speech.

Additional options that you now have with this feature include the ability to change the rate of speech, the dialect (including Australian English) and the highlight words option that provides an additional visual cue as each word is spoken aloud.

photoJust a side note too – ever wondered why you get a reader button in the web address bar sometimes? When you press this it strips away the unnecessary navigation information and just provides the content, as seen in the picture, which of course can then be read aloud using Speak Selection!



We would love to hear your successes with using speak selection, share them with us here.

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About Katie Lyon

Katie is a speech pathologist and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) consultant who has been working with young children and adults with complex communication needs for the past 13 years. She has had worked in various roles including Coordinator of the Non-electronic Communication Aid Scheme and Regional Communication Service in Victoria as part of the state-wide Communication Access Network. She has a keen interest in supporting families, teachers, direct support workers and therapists to access information about AAC and assistive technology through education and training. She currently works part-time with Spectronics and part-time with the Communication Resource Centre at Scope in Victoria.

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