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Apps Assisting Children with Special Needs

Updated on July 8, 2011

The interest in iPad downloadable applications (apps) for children with development disabilities is increasing in large numbers and for good reason. Not only are they inexpensive and fun tools in comparison to other communication devices, they are versatile and engaging due to the large array of apps available. Parents, teachers, and doctors have praised many apps for the social, communicative, and fine motor skill improvement they have seen in children. Categories for apps can range from specialized disabilities to ‘autism-friendly’ and everything between, and the list continues to grow.

Thanks to sites like, you can easily search through their recommended list of apps in eight different categories for the android, iPad, or iPod. is the originator when it comes to informing others of the benefits of having special needs children use specialized apps. The organization grew from a fewHoustonparents comparing notes on the apps they found to be beneficial to their children into a website and monthly meetings that include parents, therapists and teachers from all over. If you would like to join their organization, you can register here. has recently joined with Easter Seals Greater Houston (non-profit corporation serving those with disabilities), which will help them reach and inform more parents and teachers of special needs children.

The site is a great start for browsing through apps that may be beneficial to you and your child. Here are a few highly recommended apps from parents, teachers, and doctors:

iReward Chart; iEarned That: These two apps allows you to upload a picture of child’s desired reward and the app will convert it into a 3D interactive jigsaw puzzle. Set a goal for a child, once accomplished they earn one piece of the puzzle. Once the puzzle is complete, they earn the pictured reward.

iCommunicate for iPad: Create pictures, flashcards, storyboards, routines, and visual schedules and record audio in any language.

Grace; TapToTalk: Allows non-verbal people to communication their needs by building sentences from relevant images. Pictures can be uploaded to build their personal vocabulary or use preset pictures.

I Communicate: similar to iCommunicate for iPad, but this app features pictures and words (both written and spoken).

Speech with Milo: Verbs; ArtikPix: Flashcard and matching activities apps designed for children with speech sound delays. Apps can be easily used by children in conjunction with or without their parents or speech-language pathologist’s assistance.

In My Dreams; Sentence Builder; Story Builder: These apps specialize in the promotion of literacy and grammar in young children and special needs children. These apps each focus on improvement of integration of ideas, paragraph formation, improvement of high level abstractions by inference and sentence structure in their own entertaining ways.


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