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We are often asked about BJ’s iPad and mounting system for his wheelchair.  I thought it was time to share our experience and iPad access tips for people with additional needs.

Two years ago BJ received an iPad and accessories and joined the world of swiping.  We got off to a rocky start because his cerebral palsy means he has restricted hand function and uncontrolled movements.  Thanks to a tip from BJ’s Occupational Therapist and Speech therapist we found “guided access”.  “Guided Access” allows the iPad to be locked into a particular program which avoids the frustration of it swapping with unintentional touch.

BJ enjoying his new found skill of swiping.


It makes the world of difference to be able to lock a program while BJ is using it because iPad’s are so touch sensitive.

Here are the instructions to do it.

Go into “settings”
Choose “general”
Go to “Accessibility”
Scroll down to “Guided access” and turn it “on”

then whenever you want to lock an app do the following;

Go to the App
Press home button quickly 3 times
Put in code (you select a four number pin)
App reduces in size and the top bar shows “guided access”
select “resume” and the app will fill the screen and lock.

So when BJ is looking through his photos/video he can switch between albums etc but it keeps him in that app.


Press home button quickly 3 times
Put in code you’ve selected previously
App reduces in size again and top bar shows “guided access”
Select “end” and the app fills screen and it is unlocked and will switch freely through your apps.



Dassey mounting system.

We have been extremely happy with the Dassey mounting system which was purchased through Communicate AT.  We needed a robust and secure system for BJ who is rough on equipment.  The mounting bracket attaches to the wheelchair frame and remains in place whether the arm is in use or not.  When we want BJ to have his iPad we put the arm into the mounting bracket and secure it.  The iPad then attaches to the arm.  It is simple and quick to release both the iPad from the arm and the arm from the mounting bracket.  We all know too well, equipment does not get used if it is too complicated or time consuming.



iPad perspex guard.

Although guided access assists BJ with his swiping we still needed a way for BJ to access the Touch Chat communication program which we had purchased with the iPad.  An acrylic guard was designed to work with the cells of his Touch Chat program to help alleviate him touching the wrong cell by mistake.  This encourages him to target the cells with his fingers rather than a whole palm.  It also ensures that BJ’s communication partners are in no doubt of his choice.  We are still working towards using the Touch Chat program and have this as a goal for 2016. You can watch a You Tube introduction to Touch Chat here. 

We were extremely fortunate to receive funding to purchase BJ’s iPad and mounting system.  You can read about how we obtained funding here.

People who have been following along for a while will also know that I am obsessed with trying to improve BJ’s hand function and many activities over the years have helped him get to the point where he can swipe an iPad.  I’ve shared some of those activities in a blog post here.

Have iPad Will Travel – the iPad goes everywhere.

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