Control attention on the iPad using Guided Access

Guided Access

There are many iPad and Android apps that can be used as tools to help parents interact with children with challenging communication, attention and behaviour needs that may be associated with conditions such as ADHD or Autism. This interaction can help develop appropriate social skills and can be leveraged to include academic skills such as reading and writing, maths, and shapes and colours. iPads can even be used to encourage improvements in hand-eye coordination.

Identifying an activity that involves a single app, and sticking to it for the duration of an activity, is an important to ensure that your activity has beneficial outcomes. When using the iPad it is easy to purposefully or accidentally switch apps, return to the home screen, or open up system menus and other features which distract from the planned activity. Attention for the intended activity is easily lost. Guided Access fixes this problem and has been part of the Apple iPad and iPhone operating system (iOS) since version 6,  released in 2012.

Guided Access is also an important consideration if an iPad has been designated as an AAC device. In some instances it is better that only the AAC app should be available to the user, and Guided Access can be used to lock the iPad to a single app.

How to configure an iPad or iPhone for people with attention difficulties

iPad Guided Access Configuration Steps
Configuring Guided Access on the iPad (iOS 10). Photo by Screenshot by Charlie Danger/BLTT
  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPad or iPhone
  2. Scroll down and select the General option
  3. In the General page select the Accessibility option
  4. At the bottom of the the Accessibility page select the Guided Access option
  5. Slide the Guided Access switch to the On position
  6. Also slide the Accessibility Shortcut switch to the On position

Using Guided Access

You can launch Guided Access any time by pressing the Home button three times in quick succession. This triple-click can be quite difficult and may need some practice – you’ll need to press the button three times in less than a second for it to work!

  1. Launch whichever activity app you want to use
  2. Triple-click the Home button to enable guided access
  3. Press the Start button
  4. You may be asked to set a new passcode. Choose one you’ll remember but that the user won’t guess!
  5. To finish Guided Access triple-click the home button again and enter your passcode
  6. Press the End button
  7. Press the Home button to return to the home screen.

Touch ID

The Touch ID fingerprint sensor is available on iPhone 5S and newer s iPads since iPad Air 2. The advantage of using Touch ID is that you will not have to enter a passcode to end the Guided Access and therefore you reduce the chances of the user seeing the code and taking control of the system.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPad or iPhone
  2. Scroll down and select the General option
  3. In the General page select the Accessibility option
  4. At the bottom of the the Accessibility page select the Guided Access option
  5. Select the Passcode Settings option
  6. Slide the Touch ID switch to the On position

Finishing an Activity – Time Limits

Many caregivers experience difficulties in ending the activity session if the person using the iPad has become fixated on their activity. This is common for young people with ADHD and Autism. While it is good that they are engaged in the activity for practical reasons it does need to end at some point. Learning to stop an activity can be part of the learning outcomes for which we are applying the iPad as a tool. To make this easier it is possible to set the iPad to automatically end the activity and lock itself after however many minutes we feel is best for this activity. Touch ID does not work when time limit has been reached but will work if the caregiver wishes to interrupt the activity.

  1. Launch whichever activity app you want to use
  2. Triple-click the Home button to enable guided access
  3. Select Time Limit Options*
  4. Slide the Time Limit switch to On
  5. Select the amount of time required for the session
  6. Tap on Time Limit Options
  7. Press the Start or Resume button

These settings are stored automatically for each app on the iPad. Once you have set the settings for each app Guided Access will bypass the options screen. * If the app launches without displaying the options screen then you will first need to end Guided Access (triple-click Home screen)

Adding Sounds or Speech to the Timer

An automated sound can be added to the iPad to prepare for user that the session is coming to an end soon. Either an alert tone or speech can be used to indicate the time left.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPad or iPhone
  2. Scroll down and select the General option
  3. In the General page select the Accessibility option
  4. At the bottom of the the Accessibility page select the Guided Access option
  5. Select the Time Limits option
  6. Tap on the Sound option to select an Alert Tone
  7. Slide the Speak switch to the On position for spoken alerts

What about Android?

Android tablets from Lollipop (version 5.0) onward have a Pin Screen option which allows apps to be locked in a similar manner as Guided Access, but without any of the additional features.

 


Featured image: Charlie Danger/BLTT

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