Learning difficulties

Access for all

Here are some tips for choosing a phone if you have learning difficulties. When choosing a phone, make sure that it has the features you need before you buy - not all features are available on every phone.

You may want to look at phones that:

  • Are light and easy to grip, or where you can add an easy grip case
  • Have a touchscreen -  can activate most of these with one finger
  • Come with a physical keypad with large well-spaced buttons
  • Are specially designed to be easy to use, such as the Doro

Voice activation

Most smartphones (Apple iOS, Android and Windows phones) either have built- in features to enable voice control, such as Siri for Apple iOS, or you can install an app to do the same job. These can help you:

  • Call someone in your phonebook just by speaking their name
  • Search the internet using voice commands
  • Dictate text messages and email messages
  • Open applications using your voice
  • Use your voice to record notes for reminders or to send as messages

General settings

  • Set up your phone for speed or one touch dialling so you only have to press one button to call
  • Attach a photo to a number so you can easily see who is calling
  • If you use a particular message often, then save it to your phone so you can resend it easily
  • Use the camera's pinch to zoom feature to make an area on the screen larger
  • Use your phone's alarm or calendar for reminders
  • Use your phones calendar or a dedicated app for saving notes

Accessibility settings

Most smartphones have a section in the settings called Accessibility where you can find some helpful features which allow you to:

  • Change your phone's default text to larger size
  • Improve the screen contrast by changing the colours or fonts – this can be helpful for people with Dyslexia
  • Switch on text to speech output Switch on Voiceover in Apple iOS or Talkback in Android to have the phone speak to you. This might be particularly helpful for reading books or large pages of text on the internet

For more information:

Ofcom has published an easy to read guide to mobile phones for people with learning disabilities