9 Apps for Children with Special Needs

In recent years, software companies and parents have worked to develop many apps that utilize modern technology such as iPhones and iPads for the benefit of people with cerebral palsy. Technology is not a one-fits-all approach for all types of disabilities, but it can help some people with disabilities to better connect with the world around them. While there are thousands of child development oriented apps out there, finding one that fits your child’s specific needs can be difficult, especially when some apps can be pricey.

Mobile apps for people with speech-language disorders

1. Talkitt

  • Description: This speech-language app translates otherwise incomprehensible speech into clearer words and sentences to allow people to communicate with greater clarity their own voice. Works for all languages!
  • Price: $20 per month
  • Designed for: The software-based solution can run on any smartphone, tablet, or computer allowing the user to communicate freely with anyone, anywhere.
  • Language(s): Work with any language and it can even translate between languages.
  • URL: http://www.talkitt.com

2. Injini: Child Development Game Suite

  • Description: This child development app is designed with early intervention in mind and has proved to be specifically effective when used by toddlers and preschoolers with fine motor, language and cognitive delays to help them reach developmental milestones. This app effectively brings learning and fun together and has received superior reviews from parents and caregivers.
  • Price $29.99
  • Designed for: Requires iOS 5.1.1 or later. Compatible with iPad.
  • Language(s): English
  • URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/injini-child-development-game/id452962000?mt=8

3. Avaz

  • Description: Uses pictures to allow people with autism to express themselves through the use of pictures for any and all situations. The keyboard evolves with their level of capability, becoming more textually centered over time with less of a focus on pictures to ease the transition. In-app purchases available.
  • Price: Free!
  • Designed for: Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.
  • Language(s): English
  • URL: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/avaz-australia-aac-app-for/id658814291?mt=8

4. MyTalkTools

  • Description: This speech-language app allows children with disabilities to express their feelings more easily. It was created by a parent of a child with special needs. While the app is pricey, it is an effective tool for teaching communication, manners, and school behavior. Additional in-app purchases available.
  • Price: $99
  • Designed for: Requires iOS 8.2 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple Watch App for iPhone.
  • Language(s:) English, Dutch, Danish, French, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, Polish, and traditional Chinese.
  • URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mytalktools-mobile/id324286288?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D8

5. ArtikPix

  • Description: Uses flashcards to teach sounds and words while allowing caregivers to monitor the collected data and record improvements. Especially useful in a school setting because it can be used with up to four children at once and allows to record data and organize lesson plans for individual children. Offers in-app purchases for more sets of flashcards.
  • Price: Free!
  • Designed for: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
  • Language(s): English
  • URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/artikpix/id383022107?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D8

Mobile apps for behavioral modification

1. Look at Me

  • Description: Created by Samsung to help children on the spectrum to understand facial expressions, create their own facial expressions, remember faces and read moods. The test group saw great success in as little as 15 minutes a day for eight weeks.
  • Price: Free!
  • Designed for: Samsung Galaxy S3 / S4 / S5 / S6, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 / Note 3 / Note 4 / Note 5, Samsung Galaxy Zoom / Zoom2, Samsung Galaxy Tab S / S2 / A
  • Language(s): English
  • URL: http://www.goodnet.org/articles/new-app-aiding-kids-autism-video

2. Social Skill Builder

  • Description: A child development app that is formatted as a book to teach children on the spectrum how to build social skills. It has interactive videos and modules for kids of all ages with a focus on understanding emotions, friendship and proper interactions in social situations.
  • Price: $9.99
  • Designed for: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
  • Language(s): English
  • URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/social-skill-builder-my-school-day/id570787918?mt=8

Mobile apps for social stories

1. Social Stories Creator and Library

  • Description: In this child development app by TouchAutism informative stories are provided and can be individually created in order to help children on the spectrum better understand how to interact with their settings. These stories can be modified for individuals at any time and can be as long or short as you desire.  Additional in-app purchases available.
  • Price: Free!
  • Designed for: Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
  • Language(s): English
  • URL: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id588180598?mt=8

2. Stepping Stones

  • Description: Creates daily schedules with pictures so people on the autism spectrum can visualize their routine. Ideal for teaching flexibility, independence and aiding in sequential processing.
  • Price: $0.99
  • Designed for: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
  • Language(s): English
  • URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stepping-stones-daily-routines/id673876719?mt=8

In addition to all of the apps above, another method for finding disability-specific apps that will aid your child can be found at BridgingApps, a website created by two moms when they realized how difficult it can be to find trustworthy, useful apps for furthering the education of their children.

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