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We’ve made it easier for you to choose a Home Access package with Assistive Technology to support learning at home – and help to keep your family safer online.


So what makes these computer packages different?

All Home Access computer and internet packages are pre-loaded with:

  • guidance and tutorials to make it easier, and quicker, to get started
  • a suite of Assistive Technology software designed to improve literacy and make it easier for learners to record and present ideas
  • office productivity applications which allow learners to create and edit documents, spreadsheets and much more
  • pre-set parental controls to help keep children safer online. This means unsuitable content is blocked from the first time you turn it on, anti-virus software and firewall.

To ensure that families are provided with the support they need, all Home Access packages come with:

  • the right additional equipment and hardware, tailored to the child’s individual needs where extra support is required to access a computer and the internet
  • one year's technical support, including a local rate phone number
  • manufacturers warranty in the event of a fault
  • re-instatement service, so you’re covered if the device breaks or is stolen

Ensuring that all learners can access a computer and the internet is vitally important to their educational progress. All Home Access packages are designed and built with every child’s need in mind, including those with profound disabilities or special educational needs that may need additional hardware or software.

To see the benefits of Assistive Technology, a film about the Assistive Technology offering can be viewed here.

These are the kinds of technology which may be included in your personalised package depending on the child’s needs:

Mouse alternatives

Some people find that the standard mouse is difficult to use due to their disability. There are a range of alternatives that allow the user to carry out the same actions using devices that are an alternative to the standard mouse to control the pointer on the computer screen.

Ergonomic mice - There are a range of specially designed mice that more closely fit the shape of the person's hand and come in a range of sizes and shapes. These can be easier to use and reduce strain.

Trackball mice and pointing devices - A trackball is basically an upturned mouse. Unlike the mouse, the device stays still and the screen pointer is controlled by moving the ball on top of the trackball. This can be done using the palm, thumbs or foot.

Joystick mice - Commonly used with computer games systems, these devices also work in much the same way as joystick controls on a wheelchair. By pushing the joystick the mouse pointer moves faster. The advantage is that less control is required than with a traditional mouse and the stick can be moved with different parts of the hand or arm.

Switches - A switch is typically a button which, when activated, sends a signal to the computer - typically replacing a keyboard press or mouse click. They come in a wide variety of forms and sizes so young people with physical disabilities and/or learning difficulties can use them (can be operated by any controlled movement of the body). Some switches can be activated by motion, breath or muscle movement. They are used with switch operated software - see below. 

Specialist keyboards

Ergonomic keyboards - Where a young person relies heavily on the keyboard for recording (typing rather than handwriting) an ergonomic keyboard is helpful, particularly for those who touch type and need to reduce the risk of strain.

Mini keyboards - As the name implies, these are small keyboards, which are lighter, can be more easily positioned and used where less hand/finger movement is an advantage for the user. They are also often well suited for use on a standard wheelchair. Their small size also makes them ideal for users with limited movement and reach, as well as for younger children.

Enlarged and big keys keyboards - Keyboards with larger keys means that less accuracy is needed in locating or pressing the keys. Colour is often used to focus on the main keys or different layouts may be used depending on the young person’s need. Some come with built in key guards (see below).

Key guards - These metal or plastic guards have holes in them so that the young person can more reliably select a single key, thus reducing/eliminating the risk of pressing multiple keys. They can also be used to rest the hands without pressing the keys.

Assistive keyboard devices (keyboards with touch sensitive grids) - These touch sensitive devices can be used instead of a standard keyboard. They usually come with a range of printed sheets and associated software that covers the device and when an area is pressed this results in an action on the computer. The advantage is that a large area or a small number of areas can be defined with letters, words or pictures on them, matched to the young person’s needs and abilities.

Touch screens - Touch screens allow direct access to the content that can be viewed on the computer screen. This direct access as apposed to the use of a keyboard or mouse is of significant benefit to some young people with learning difficulties as they find it hard to relate the movement of their hand on the mouse to the movement of the cursor on the screen. 


Screen Magnification software - As the name implies this software enlarges the image on the computer's screen. It can be used in conjunction with screen-reading software.

Screen readers - Screen readers let blind people access information on the computer screen by having it read out using a synthetic voice. This provides a means of navigating around the content on the computer screen (including files and the Internet) using the keyboard.

Symbol or image supported reading and writing software - This type of software provides a way in which symbols or images can be associated with text as a means of supporting understanding. Sometimes in the form of a grid writing frame (such as on-screen keyboards or grids that contain images/text maybe with associated spoken words). This provides significant support where text alone has little or no meaning for the learner.

Voice recognition software - Voice recognition software can provide both a means of creating text on the computer and for navigation around the computer using just voice. It helps where typing is difficult or impossible and has the advantage of producing correctly spelt words.

Switch access software - This software works with switches and provides meaningful and stimulating cause, effect and choice activities for learners who are in the process of developing the core skills required to support computer and internet access.

On-screen keyboard - As the name implies, rather than a physical keyboard this provides a keyboard that can be used by someone using an alternative means of accessing the computer. The on-screen keyboard will work with a mouse, trackball or a switch. The keyboard can be used to create text or interact with the computer.

Touch screen cause and effect software - This software works with a touch screen computer and provides meaningful and stimulating cause, effect and choice activities for learners who are in the process of developing the core skills required to support computer and internet access.

Prediction software - This software reduces the number of keystrokes required to type a word and can be used to speed up writing where there is a physical access problem.

Access to sound from the computer for young people with hearing impairments - This low-cost device links the sound that is produced by the computer to hearing aids, often making it easier/clearer to hear.

The application process

The application process is very simple and further details are included within the application form.
Once it is complete, the applicant must also send evidence of the learner’s needs; by either sending in their current Disability Living Allowance (DLA) letter or Statement of Special Educational Needs. For those without either of these, a signed declaration on the application from their Special Educational Needs Coordinator/senior teacher or an appropriate local authority representative can be used instead.

Home Access packages with Assistive Technology are tailored to the child’s individual requirements. A specialist evaluator will contact the parent, guardian or foster carer to discuss the most suitable Assistive Technology, and once agreed, the equipment will be delivered direct to the family’s door and installed.

The Home Access programme aims to level the playing field for every young internet user. With a combination of the right hardware, software and focused online resources, Assistive Technology can help to ensure that learners with profound disabilities or special educational needs are brought not only online with other learners, but in line with them as well.

Please remember packages are limited and are available on a first come, first served basis.


Home Access

  • Get help

    Want to find out more about the support and training that’s available in your area, or get ideas on good websites to visit? You can find it all here.

Home Access packages include