Mobile Apps That Help Children With Special Needs
By: Suzie Dalien, M.Ed.
We live in the midst of a technological revolution, and it’s one that has helped to expand our communication into global territories. With the invention and subsequent patenting of the telephone in the early 1870’s by Alexander Graham Bell, how we spoke to people drastically changed. People were no longer bound by personal visits and handwritten letters in order to get their point across; very soon, the technology developed into the telegraph, and the world watched in wonder at how progressive it was becoming.
Personal computers have been around for generations, but it wasn’t until the late 1970’s that they actually started to be manufactured and distributed for personal use. Within two decades, the internet was made available for commercial use and global communication once again exploded as information was now able to be made public for everyone to use. Unlike a library, however, all of this knowledge was provided at the touch of a button from the comfort of your own home.
Around the same time, cell phones were being made available to the general public and the invention of the smartphone was right behind it; Apple showcased their first smartphone in 2007. Mobile applications were created, as well, letting people download information, games, books and more within seconds. That’s pretty incredible, if you think about it!
Technology In The World Of Special Education:
The point of letting you know all of this technological history is simple: it has helped to progressively better our lives, and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. For a child with special needs, technology can be their best friend. Children with fine motor skill issues can use an iPad, for example, to help them learn to click on icons or push buttons. You can download apps to help with colors, numbers, reading, spelling and even math or science.
Here’s a look at some of the best apps for children with special needs:
Dexteria – This application is geared towards children who have issues with fine motor skills, and uses therapeutic hand exercises to improve strength, control and dexterity. No games here, but it’s a relatively inexpensive app that can provide a world of support. ($4.99, iOS)
Bob Books Reading Magic – For children who are having a hard time making the connection between letters and sounds, this is the app to have. It also teaches children to sound out words and spell words they’ve just learned to speak. ($3.99, iOS)
Bugs and Buttons – This app is packed full of fun games as it teaches children counting, how to find patterns, path finding and more. It can also help with fine motor skills. ($2.99, iOS and Android)
Math Evolve – An app full of creative fun, Math Evolve can teach a child with special needs as they practice math facts, mental problem solving and number sense. When learning is fun, children won’t even know it’s not a game! ($1.99, iOS and Android)
Toca Hair Salon – An application geared towards helping children learn self-directed play through hair styling. It’s a fun, cute way to engage children while developing personal skills. ($2.99, iOS)
Fruit Memory Match Game – This is the digital equivalent of the card game Memory, only with fruit, and helps to strengthen mental acuity through play. ($.99, iOS)
Telling Time – Just like it sounds, this app helps a child with special needs grasp the concept of time using both digital and analog clocks, a talking clock and the chance to win small prizes on the game. ($1.99, iOS and Android)
Splingo’s Language Universe – Children with special needs can practice their language and listening skills through interaction with the animation on the screen, which helps them follow the directions Splingo, the alien, gives them. ($2.99, iOS)
SoundMatch – Customize the theme on this app to fit your child’s preference, and then watch as they learn to distinguish sounds to make words. ($1.99, iOS)
Which Does Not Belong – This cute app helps children to identify patterns and pick out the things that don’t belong, giving them a good idea of appropriate grouping. (Free, iOS)
Cimo Spelling – A great app that uses a combination of 255 high-frequency and sight words to teach children in a fun, engaging manner. Great for all ages and all limitations. ($2.99, iOS)
Injini: Child Development Game Suite – This app includes 10 educational games that help children with special needs learn concepts like numbers, colors and shapes while improving fine motor skills through repetition and touch. ($29.99, iOS)
These are just some of the hundreds of apps available for children with special needs. While some are tailored to a specific operation system (iOS for Apple devices, Android or Kindle), others work across all platforms for ease of use.
Note: Most free games that are offered as apps for children with special needs are the “lite” version. This means that it’s only a small sampling of what the full app offers, and might serve as a teaser to prompt you into the full version. Depending on what you’re looking for in a specialized app, the free version might be just what you need. Be sure to carefully read the app’s description before downloading to ensure you get exactly what you want.
Just as there are an untold amount of disabilities – physical, mental, emotional or behavioral, to name a few – there are different apps to help you accomplish a specific goal. No matter what the condition is, there’s an app for that. From self-play to self-esteem, from fine motor skills to speech, technology can help lessen the burden of education while providing a bit of fun for the child with special needs.
Special Education Tutoring Using The Latest Technology:
Special Education Resource offers supplemental learning through special education tutoring. This unique service is designed to parallel the curriculum your child is learning in their traditional classroom setting. Our special education tutors take those lessons and mold them to fit your child’s unique learning style.
The first step in finding out whether or not this type of assisted learning will help your child, is a free consultation. During the call with a special education tutor, you will have a chance to get your questions answered, receive guidance and have assistance in setting up a plan to ensure your child reaches their goals. No label should ever define a child, special education just proves that all children learn differently. No matter what age, no matter the disability, we are here to help your child succeed in any way we can.
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