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CNIB Foundation releases The ABCs of iOS manual to level the playing field for children with sight loss

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The ABCs of iOS Manual gives parents and educators the information they need to successfully, independently, and purposefully interact with an iPad using VoiceOver. 

"The iPad is an incredible educational tool, but, more often than not, children with sight loss are not introduced to modern technology until much later than their sighted peers," says Suzanne Decary-van den Broek, Executive Director, CNIB Foundation Ontario South (GTA). "By introducing technology to children at an earlier age – and providing them with the skills and training to operate it – we're empowering children to thrive developmentally and academically." 

The front cover of the ABC's of iOS manual. An illustration of cartoon stick people standing on top of the text "ABC's of iOS." Byline "A VoiceOver manual for toddlers and beyond!" The manual incorporates accessible apps with progressive educational content to help prepare children to be successful in mainstream classrooms. It specifically addresses age-appropriate VoiceOver skills for children, ages 3-8, who are or may become braille readers, dual media, or auditory readers. 

Developed in collaboration with Diane Brauner, Educational Accessibility Consultant, the yearlong project involved creating the manual and piloting it alongside children with sight loss, educators, specialists, and family members in the Greater Toronto Area and United States.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

"We heard from a mother who had been struggling to get her child interested in braille," says Suzanne. "Some of the accessible apps featured in the manual include educational braille games, and in learning how to use voiceover on the iPad, the child developed interest braille." 

The ABCs of iOS manual ensures educators and family members have the required tools to teach a child who is blind or partially sighted how to use iOS. 

"We know that accessible technology is transforming the lives of people who are blind or partially sighted, so we want to introduce it to children as early as possible."

Educators and family members will learn how to:

  • Encourage children with sight loss to explore and interact appropriately with an iPad;
  • Introduce and teach age-appropriate VoiceOver gestures, Bluetooth keyboard commands and refreshable braille display commands;
  • Incorporate teaching strategies which address the unique needs of children with sight loss;
  • Nurture young children with sight loss to become confident and independent with age-appropriate iPad skills;
  • And, provide information about age-appropriate accessible apps and activities for educational purposes.

For more information or to download the manual, visit 

Read more articles from the September 2019 issue of Equalize:

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