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You are in: Home > Articles > Switch Software Options

Switch Software Options

All of the software developed by Inclusive Technology contains options to enable you to tailor the way that the switch works to meet the access needs of the child. Here is an explanation of some of the more common options.

Number of switches
This allows you select the number of switches that can be used with the program.

Switch colours

Switch colour
This option allows you to select the colour of the switch prompt that is displayed on the screen. It is very important for some learners including many with Autism, that the switch colour displayed on the screen matches the colour of the switch they are using to operate the program.
This setting is also used for some two switch activities where the learner is required to press a specific switch in response to an on-screen prompt.

Press alternate/requested
Some programs, such as those in the SwitchIt! Extra series, have levels that are designed to develop two switch skills without using scanning. With these programs you can opt to have the user press each switch alternately or press a specific switch in response to an on-screen prompt.

Number of stepsNumber of steps
Some programs have ‘switch building’ levels where the learner must press the switch a number of times to complete a sequence. Each press of the switch builds up a picture, scene or story with the final press in the sequence triggering the animated reward. This option allows you to set the number of presses that are required before the reward animation appears.

Often described as a ‘pre-acceptance delay’, this setting determines the amount of time the switch has to be held down before the computer accepts this as a valid switch press. This is a useful feature for children who have spasmodic movements or tremors, as it helps eliminate accidental activation.

Scan box colour
When carrying out decision making activities using switches, a ‘scanning’ process is used. This involves the selectable objects on the screen being highlighted or ‘scanned’ in turn – either automatically by the computer, or by the learner using a second switch. If the switch is pressed when an object is highlighted, that object will be selected. The scan box colour option allows you to change the colour of highlight around the object. Evidence suggests that some learners will respond better when using a consistent highlight colour.

Scan speedScan speed
If a choosing program such as Choose and Tell: Nursery Rhymes is used with a single switch then the computer will automatically scan each of the available choices. This option enables you to match the speed of the scan to the ability of the student. For example, a child with severe motor difficulties might require more time to coordinate their movements and press the switch.

Auditory prompts
Some of our programs provide auditory prompts when on-screen objects are scanned. These prompts provide clues to what might happen when that object is chosen. Auditory prompts are especially useful for learners with visual impairment. 

Reward time
This option allows you to shorten or lengthen the reward time. Learners with profound or complex learning difficulties often need more time to process things. Short bursts of animation or music can be missed, especially if the pupil also has difficulties with looking at the screen while simultaneously pressing a switch.

Background options
Programs like Big Bang have the option to begin an activity with an on-screen prompt or to start with a blank screen. Which you choose depends on the needs of the child or the type of technology you are using. For many switch users at the cause and effect level, it is better to start with a blank screen. The animation will only start after the switch has been pressed. If you are using a touch monitor or interactive whiteboard, some children will respond better with a target to touch. The on-screen prompt can also help introduce simple targeting, i.e. “Can you touch the car?”

Reveal timeReveal time
Some programs like Switch Skills 1 help to develop timing skills. In programs such as these, an object will appear on the screen for a number of seconds, prompting the child to press the switch in response. ‘Reveal time’ is the length of time that the object will remain on the screen before disappearing. Children with poor motor control will need a longer reveal time to help them coordinate their movements and press the switch.


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