Monday, March 31, 2014

Minimal Pair Pack (AAM Giveaway)

About Therapy Box Limited: Therapy Box launched in 2010 and have quickly become the go-to development house for the speech and language therapy industry. With a slew of awards for their apps and services, Therapy Box keep their core goals in focus – creating cutting edge and affordable apps for people with disabilities. Headed by speech and language therapist/pathologist Rebecca Bright and tech industry professional Swapnil Gadgil, the young team is driven to assure their apps reach as many as possible. Predictable is currently available in 6 languages and in 2013 was awarded the grand prize at the Ericsson App Awards in Stockholm. 2013 also saw co-founder Rebecca Bright take home the prestigious NatWest everywoman Iris Award for tech entrepreneurs.

Minimal Pair Pack ($29.99) - Minimal Pair Pack is a fun application for working on speech sound discrimination and production. Designed for children with developmental communication difficulties and also adults with phonological difficulties. Easy to use flash card style tasks can be set up quickly by therapists or teachers for use with a range of clients including adults and adolescents with dysphasia, dyslexia or dysgraphia; teachers of adult literacy; therapists working with children who have language and literacy needs or those working with people for whom English is a second language. The program targets the following speech sounds in the initial position of words: p, b, m, n, t, d, k, g, f, v, s, z, dz (as in jam), j (as in yacht), w, r, l, th, sh, ch.

 Have you entered to win a suite of apps from Therapy Box here?
Therapy Box is a participant in Special Apps, Special Kids & The Appy Ladies' collaborative effort for Autism Awareness Month, which we are also calling Autism ACCEPTANCE Month. Awareness leads to Acceptance.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 Innovative AAC apps

Full-Featured Picks:
(AAC systems with extensive vocabulary and features pre-programmed; ready or virtually ready to use immediately)

Picture/Icon Based:

Speak For Yourself -Full Review here  GIVEAWAY 1 SFY x4 - 1 for each week in April here.

Speak For Yourself is so efficient at word finding.  Only two taps are necessary to get to the word you want to say. There is an innovative search feature that teaches where a word is stored with visual cues, so care providers and therapists (and the users themselves) can easily find words in Speak For Yourself and model them to the user.  Other features include "Hold that thought" which allows the user to pull from a bank of stored phrases, and a history feature.  Another innovative feature is the app's ability to grow with the user- you can easily close out words until you are ready to use them- which means no rearranging of pages as a user's vocabulary expands- everything is instead right there, waiting to be revealed when the user is ready. There is also an active Facebook group for Speak For Yourself users where you can bounce ideas off of other parents and professionals who are using the app.  Speak For Yourself is also on Google Play (Android) but it has been a varied experience from users depending on their device. Consider ontacting SFY for android tablet recommendations/ compatibility.

AACorn - Full Review at

Designed specifically with children in mind, AACorn uses real children's voices, integrates drawing capabilities into the communication icons and has a special mascot, Buddy- an innovative character who provides a step-by-step tutorial of AACorn to help your child become excited and invested in his new AAC voice. AACorn uses a "word tree" format- as the child builds sentences, their words become part of the word tree- it will grow and expand as the user's vocabulary does, with new branches predicting word choices based on the child's unique past sentence history.  AACorn also has the ability to create more than one user profile- you can even set up separate profiles for your child's speech therapist and classroom teacher to get to know AACorn without affecting your child's word tree. There is also a place to include personal information about each child- this will show up in the "About Me" button. As a parent of a child with multiple food allergies, I think this feature is wonderful! Profiles and all their contents can be backed up to iTunes or Dropbox too, so no worries about setting up everything again after updating your iPad.

AutisMate - Full Review here GIVEAWAY 1 AutisMate code April 1-30 here.

AutisMate is incredibly flexible- it is a one stop shop for communication, scheduling, video modeling and more, all in one package. There is a complete AAC vocabulary included, which you can insert seamlessly into social stories, video modeling, customizable hot spot scenes, schedules... If you want one system integrated to meet a variety of needs, AutisMate is an app you will want to take a  look at.

As of May 2014 a new AutisMate should be out-AutisMate 365. All existing AutisMate users prior to this release will always have access to the original AutisMate as they did prior to the release, at no additional cost.

Note from Developer: The new features of AutisMate 365, including cloud syncing capabilities, a community content library and easy collaboration between home, school and therapy, are all enhancements to the current features of AutisMate.   Because we value our loyal users so much, we are offering them a free two-year cloud subscription so they can try out all the new, exciting features of AutisMate 365. There is no credit card required to activate the subscription, they can cancel at any time and there is no obligation to continue the subscription after the two years are up.  All current supports and content in AutisMate will be automatically and seamlessly backed up and available instantly on AutisMate 365.

 Stay tuned for more information, but you can sign up here to be one of the first in the meantime: AutisMate 365

SpeechTree- More information at SpeechTree

Excerpt from iTunes: SpeechTree is the only AAC app that combines an Interactive Learning Program & Complete AAC Communication System. Perfect for beginning and emerging AAC communicators who require lots of practice, encouragement and support." 

SpeechTree has training lessons integrated in to the app. Strengthen both receptive and expressive vocabulary skills using one of 20 integrated lessons in SpeechTree; SpeechTree tracks the user's progress too.

ChatAble-  On sale for $79.99 in April, Autism Awareness Month.  GIVEAWAY 1 Suite of Therapy Box apps April 1-30  here.

ChatAble offers a fully functional AAC component with Facebook integration and handwriting recognition as an input method (Chatable's sister app, Predictable, also has this function. ChatAble has a very easy to use visual scene feature with a really exceptional option- an alarm function! Choose an image from your camera roll, from one of the 12,000 widget symbols, or take a photo on the spot.  Then program hot spots where you can embed your voice, a video or even a song from your iTunes, and to top it off program the visual scene to signal an alarm at a certain time of the day.

Excerpt from iTunes: A new wave in augmentative communication from the award winning app developers, Therapy Box.

Create and use symbol based grids…or use photos to make visual scene displays. Or, take both and create a hybrid page. The possibilities are endless with ChatAble. ChatAble is an easy to use communication aid app for people with communication difficulties who benefit from symbol and photo support. Parents, teachers and therapists can create page sets in minutes with an intuitive set up. The customisation options are extensive to enable people with a range of physical, cognitive and language abilities the opportunity to use the app to communicate at home, school or with their family and friends.

TTS & Icon Based:

PredictableGIVEAWAY 1 Suite of Therapy Box apps April 1-30  here. Also on GOOGLE PLAY (Android)

With an innovative handwriting input option, word prediction with dyslexia support, social media integration and more, Predictable offers a lot of features to meet different needs.  You can easily print out or mail generated text also, which makes this a good classroom support for students with dysgraphia too.
There are several other versions of this app to accommodate different langauges as well: Predictable Espanol, Predictable Norsk, Predictable Dansk,  Predictable Deutsch, and Predictable Svensk

Excerpt from iTunes: Predictable is an exciting text-to-speech application for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Offering customisable AAC functions with the latest social media integration, Predictable sets a new benchmark. Using a word prediction engine and switch access, Predictable meets the needs of a wide range of people using AAC... A wide range of people are using Predictable, including those with MND / ALS, Cerebral Palsy and people with communication difficulties after a stroke or head injury.

TTS Only:

RocketKeys -Full Review hereGIVEAWAY 1 RocketKeys code April 1-30 here

RocketKeys is a  switch accessible text-based AAC system with sophisticated word prediction suitable for aphasic and dyslexic users; its customizable keyboards and accessible features make it a strong choice for literate users with vision or motor impairment.  It has a socially-hip word prediction engine based on thousands of twitter posts, and several innovative features to accommodate users with motor and visual challenges.

Excerpt From iTunes: RocketKeys is an amazingly customizable talking keyboard for people with speech disabilities. This powerful app lets you build the perfect keyboard by choosing the exact keys, size, layout, colors, prediction, and voices you want. And because RocketKeys understands touch input from users with unsteady or imprecise hands, it is very physically accessible.
RocketKeys is an essential communication tool for both children and adults with Aphasia, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson's, ALS, MND, and more.

For more TTS Text to Speech Apps see here.

Mid-Level Picks:
(AAC systems that have access to an extensive set of vocabulary and features but need pages set up prior to use.)

GoTalk Now - Full Review here

Aside from all the "essentials of an effective AAC app, like adjustable page layouts, customizable navigation, recorded and text-to-speech capabilities, and an included symbol set", GoTalk Now has several innovative features that make it stand out.  First, GoTalk Now allows embedding of links in buttons! This means that if desired, you can have a button that the user can press to take him or her directly to a website, video, or other media link. GoTalk Now also allows the user the flexibility of choosing between standard AAC pages, with or without a sentence bar, or "Scene" pages where custom hotspots can be added. SASK's favorite feature of GoTalkNow is the editing features which make changing fonts and colors a breeze. Best of all, it is easy to add multiple images to one button for a totally customized experience.  Users also have access to premade templates and pages contributed by other users.  Also check out GoTalk Now Plus, with more content available.

Entry Level Picks:
(AAC systems that may have access to a smaller set of vocabulary; may offer less features but allow editing and personalizing).

 Niki Talk+Tweet (FREE, IAP- $44.99) IAP on sale for $22.99 in honor of Autism Awareness Month.
 Watch video here.

Niki Talk + Tweet allows you to communicate and tweet with icons, pictures, and even drawings!  Niki Talk + Tweet can also be used as a traditional communication app with voice, with a familiar sentence strip bar where icons move to when selected
. The innovative paint feature allows you to draw on existing icons, even.  If tweeting is not your thing, there is also a Niki Talk app with similar features, just no tweeting.

InnerVoice ($19.99)   50% OFF $19.99> $9.99 during April, Autism Awareness Month

Very innovative "'avatar" creation- watch your avatar (from your own photo) or one of the included avatars) talk along with the words selected and spoken. This is actually quite amazing- your photo will seem to "come alive" - with your head tilting, eyes blinking, and mouth moving with the words you have chosen. This is a simulation- this will not show the proper articulation for each word, but the mouth will match the number of syllables and show lip closure.  The goal is to grab the attention of the user and have him or her focus on mouth movements and their important role in speaking. InnerVoice comes with two (small) sets of vocabulary pre-installed: "Basic Vocabulary" and "Core Vocabulary". You can also add your own words in a separate folder. This app also has a history feature so you can see what phrases are being selected by a user. There is a built in manual you can access for help, although editing and using the app is intuitive without it.  New features to enhance editing and use of the app are planned.  A MAJOR update has just been released as of Aug. 12 2014, more info here:

April is Autism Awareness (and Acceptance!) Month! Giveaways from around the web, including iPad minis, iPad cases, special needs and other great educational apps are found here:

ChatAble - AAC app by Therapy Box

ChatAble by Therapy Box Limited ($159.99, iOS 6.0 or higher, iPad)

Therapy Box launched in 2010 and have quickly become the go-to development house for the speech and language therapy industry. With a slew of awards for their apps and services, Therapy Box keep their core goals in focus – creating cutting edge and affordable apps for people with disabilities. Headed by speech and language therapist/pathologist Rebecca Bright and tech industry professional Swapnil Gadgil, the young team is driven to assure their apps reach as many as possible. Predictable is currently available in 6 languages and in 2013 was awarded the grand prize at the Ericsson App Awards in Stockholm. 2013 also saw co-founder Rebecca Bright take home the prestigious NatWest everywoman Iris Award for tech entrepreneurs.
ChatAble offers a fully functional AAC system with social media integration, accessibility options and handwriting recognition as an input choice (ChatAble's sister app, Predictable, also has this function).  ChatAble also has a very easy to use visual scene feature with a really exceptional option- an alarm function! Choose an image from your camera roll, from one of the 12,000 widget symbols, or take a photo on the spot.  Then program hot spots where you can embed your voice, a video, or even a song from iTunes and to top it off program the visual scene to signal an alarm at a certain time of the day.

 What I Love

Accessibility Features.
ChatAble has a number of special features for accessibility, including its own switch access system you can turn on from the settings in the app- see Wish List.  It also has a force Delay option in settings to minimize mishits and limit impact of tremors.  A variety of features make ChatAble accessible to low vision and blind users also-  ChatAble gives the user auditory feedback- it will name each button out loud as it is touched or selected via scanning.  Aside from auditory feedback and scanning, large 1x1 cells that take up a good part of the screen can be made; editng/customization options allow for a variety of colors, fonts, and font sizes.

Adjustable Grid Sizes.
A grid can made as large as a 1 x1 button, to fill up the entire screen, or as small as 8 x 8 (8 rows, 8 columns of buttons). 

Handwriting input.
A unique option that offers those with stronger handwriting skills a fast way to communicate- the app will convert handwriting into words that the user can send to the sentence bar to speak/share. This feature is found by tapping the tab in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, then selecting the yellow "change" symbol.

Social Media integration.
ChatAble allows you to share content formulated in the sentence strip via AirDrop, Messaging, Mail or Twitter or Facebook.  (FYI , if  one or all of the Social Media sharing options are not displayed as a choice when you select the share button, you probably haven't fully set up that function in the main settings of the iPad- you need to enter your passwords there so ChatAble can access them). 

Easy to Use and Customize.
I initially tried to over complicate the process by using a press and hold to edit a button.  It actually requires a quick tap- at which point the button will enlarge itself to take up the entire screen. The full screen with large buttons for each step of the editing process make it really easy. Some of the words the app comes installed with are Australian vocabulary, so I quickly "relabeled the icon "Verbana" with "grape soda" , for example.

There are many options for customization too- you can set the color of the button's border and set the background color of that button as well. You can choose from one of 12,000 widgets, or add your own picture to a button, along with text if you choose- there are about 70 fonts to choose from;  both font size and font color are adjustable.

You can also reorder cells of a grid in edit mode- simply touch and pull it to the new location you would like.

Editing can easily be switched off through the main settings in the iPad.

Your work can be exported via email, iTunes or Dropbox. There is a search feature to pull up grid pages under the tab in the right hand corner of the screen

Visual Scenes with Alarm Function.
To create visual scenes, ChatAble has the same step by step process with the four easy to understand icons at the top of the screen to guide you through each of the steps.  You can even embed media like songs from iTunes or a video from your camera/camera roll into a hot spot.  You can record your own voice or choose to use text to speech.

Hot spots can even be made invisible, which is perfect when we want a person to focus on all elements of an image, not just the ones singled out with hot spot boxes.    For example if we were checking for understanding by asking a student to "show me the apple" or "touch the star under the astronaut" in a visual scene, I would like him/her  to visually scan the picture and be able to locate the item(s) without the extra visual cue the colored hot spot boxes provide. To access this feature, go in to Settings (Gear Symbol), scroll down to Scene Settings, and select "None".

You can choose to add an alarm to a scene- it will alert you at the time you have indicated each day- this is excellent for reminding someone of the steps taken during a daily routine, such as washing his/her face, making coffee etc.  An audible tone sounds and a message pops up- click on it and it will take you to the scene you have set the reminder for.

Wish List

Occasionally the accessibility feature stops, requiring the user to tap it to restart.  Currently the user can not access the share button when in this mode.  Note from Developer:
The reason that social share doesn’t appear is due to limitation with the iOS operating system rather than the app. However, you are able to utilise iOS 7 scanning to access these options.

I would also love the invisible hot spots feature to be right where the color selections are for the hot spots- perhaps it could be shown with broken lines to symbolize it will show up invisible.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

New & Notables: CSUN 2014 (Part 2)


CSUN is a treasure-trove of information and each year there are lots of goodies to be discovered.

Here are some products and resources sighted at this year's CSUN Exhibit Hall, more yet to come! 

The LOGAN PROXTALKER is a tool that can act as a bridge between a typical PECS book and a speech output device, such as a dedicated device, or an iPad being used for communication.  For individuals who are not ready for the iPad yet, the LOGAN PROXTALKER gives them verbal output while offering a highly tactile experience. The device allows tags to be programmed with sound and attached to PECS like symbols, or actual objects like a bottle of shampoo, or a cup. etc.  The objects/symbols can be placed on the LOGAN PROXTALKER to communicate single words, or strings of words that form a sentence, with speech output. There is a great video showing how easy it is to set up and use here and here.

The LOGAN PROXTALKER has been at the CSUN Exhibit Hall before, but this year some of the symbols they had on display employed a clever tactile system to teach language structure to low vision and blind individuals. For example an object like a spoon with one shape attached underneath it, say a circle- would mean "spoon" whereas that same object with a triangle attached underneath it would mean "eat".  Here is some information on how to implement a tactile symbol system yourself: with a full list of symbols here; a blog post about teaching regular versus past tense grammar in a similar way can be accessed  here.

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a FREE service which receives funding through the government.  Its premise to help those with disabilities with securing job accommodations, but JAN can help with accommodation issues in a school setting too.

Ability Magazine is a print magazine with an innovative feature- first download the Voiceye app to your iOS or Android device, make sure Voiceover or TTS options are enabled on your device, then scan the QR code embedded on each page to have it read aloud to you!  

Watch a video about Ability Magazine here.

 Freedom Scientific has a whole range of low vision and blindness products, but I was sucked in by a demonstration of the Focus 80 Blue Wireless Braille Display, which allows a user to connect with a full range of iOS 6 devices through Bluetooth.  I currently have a text sent to me through this device stored in my phone- the device allows both braille input and output- so you can send texts, open apps, and do things like convert an article on the iPad into braille.  I found how it works fascinating; the user slides his fingers across the face of the braille display to read soft pins that pop up to form words in braille. 


While doing further research on the above products, I also came across this web resource on how to offer assistance to people who have low vision or are blind:


Friday, March 21, 2014

New & Notables : CSUN 2014 (Part 1)

CSUN is a treasure-trove of information and each year there are lots of goodies to be discovered.

Here are some products and resources sighted at this year's CSUN Exhibit Hall, more yet to come! 

ATNetwork. Did you know there are 13 Loan Libraries as part of the ATNetwork in California? By the way, if you are securing a device /item to trial on behalf of a school, all you pay is shipping.

Access4Kids by Zyrobotics. To my frustration, I cannot find an image of the delightful plush ladybug switch device for kids I spied... apparently it is still in the prototype stage.  In the meantime you can visit Zyrobotics on  Facebook on and at their website.

Tactalis.  This system uses switchable magnets that allow you to feel locations on the screen- the magnet in the fingertip stylus pulls and can be used to select buttons or spots on the screen, trigger audio, access web links etc.  You can create your own content- which means teachers can create lesson plans to push to the system, and in turn students can manipulate and send back information to the teacher.

If you are developer seeking to make your apps accessible on their Origin platform, contact them at


Braille Institute has several FREE apps for vision impairment, including a full screen, high contrast browser app to compensate for iPad's shortcomings in this area!  There is also an app to help you find more apps for blind or low vision users, an app that helps simulate different vision issues, and an app to help you access information on the Telephone Reader Program (TRP).  Check them all out here:

AlexandraVision. AlexandraVision has a really neat tactile vibrating watch for people with visual impairments. The device tells the time through a series of short or long vibrations to represent the hour, tens of minutes (ie. three short vibrations equal 30 minutes past the hour), or minutes.  There is a new lanyard feature for the pocket watches so you can wear the watch around your neck if desired or there are gorgeous  pendant style watches that look like a fashion forward necklace too.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New & Notables: Educational Apps Vol. 1 (iPhone /iPod Touch)

Apps for iPhone and iPod Touch (use them in 2x mode on your iPad as well):

Learning Games:

State Bingo and Geography Crossword by Niyaa (iPhone) NEW

excerpt from iTunes:
2 fun geography games State Bingo and Geography Crossword, specially designed for the iPhone and iPod touch.  Learn to navigate a map, build extensive geography skills all while playing engaging and creative games. Earn rewards as you win games and learn a bit of history.

Based on the iPad version, this special iPhone version has an additional crossword game to play. The player earns rewards by answering facts about states accurately.  Auditory cues let the child know when an answer is correct or not in both the crossword and bingo games.  This app requires reading- My six year old can read it by himself with some occasional help to decipher more difficult words.

Starfall All About Me by Starfall Education (iPhone / iPad; Amazon; Google Play)

excerpt from iTunes:
Your child will love creating and interacting with his or her Me Character. Players learn essential vocabulary while making choices about everyday objects, body parts, pets, and household environments. This app is excellent for emerging readers and English language learners.

My 6 year old was already familiar with Starfall when I showed him this app- his classroom uses it on the computer.  All About Me allows your child to build themselves as a character in the app. The child picks elements that represent him/herself including facial features, clothing, and things in his/her home. The child can  pick silly options like a crown to put on his head, or a kangaroo as his pet. The app introduces reading skills with tap to read words and cloze sentences i.e. Ï am a ______ (boy /girl). There is also a word puzzle activity where the child drags vocabulary words to the correct spot in a scene.

Montessori Rhyme Time Learning Games for Kids  by Innovative Mobile Apps (iPhone / iPad) FREE

 excerpt from iTunes:
Rhyming activities provide the first steps in identifying the different sounds that make up a word and are a critical skill to master on the path towards becoming a good reader and a confident speaker.

The goal of this application is to give parents and teachers a new interactive tool that helps children further develop these critically important skills in a fun and engaging new way.

Our "Rhyme Time" app was created using hundreds of gorgeous illustrations that are sure to keep kids interested and engaged. In this application, children will be presented with a variety of different rhyming activities and games. The best way to play this game with a child is to sit down with them and have them explain to you the reason / thinking of why two items should go together. This way, the game can act as a wonderful interactive tool to develop both language and critical thinking skills.

The application also includes great audio reinforcements by congratulating the child each time they successfully match a pair that rhymes. 

 This is an interactive app that allows the child to actually match up rhyming words by drawing on the screen with their finger.  I am not a Montessori expert, so cannot confirm whether this follows Montessori practices, but it appears to be an educationally sound way to practice early rhyming skills. Plenty to do for free (Basic Levels come unlocked); You can unlock the Intermediate Levels via In- App purchases. 

Reference Tools

Sesame Street:Divorce by Sesame Street(iPhone/iPad)  FREE

Sesame Street: Divorce is a resource for parents to refer to when going through a divorce. It has tips on how to talk to your children about what is happening, to help them (and you) through difficult feelings.

National Fragile X Foundation (iPhone) FREE

Learn more about Fragile X through the National Fragile X Foundation app.  Links to local events, conferences, research articles and more. There is also a podcast to subscribe to here.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

10 Tried and True Special Needs App Developers to Watch

There are many good special education apps out there, but finding them in the App Store can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Wouldn't it be nice to search for one app and instead find a whole suite of suitable apps?

Here are some favorite developers to watch that specialize in making quality apps for special education:

Inclusive Technology Ltd.  

Inclusive Technology's bevy of mostly switch accessible apps are a welcome surprise not only for users who use switch devices, but also for users who are just beginning to explore a cause and effect relationship. A simple tap of a switch, or the iPad screen itself is all that is needed to activate the game elements. App offerings range from a musical painting app, which brings changing color and sound with every touch, to curriculum based literacy and science apps, to mazes, memory, car race games and delightful song apps with simple, quick repetitive verses that engage my students.

Favorite Pick: Five Little Aliens. One of my preverbal students is so excited and motivated by this app that he has started to communicate more with sign language to gain access to it. We are also working on counting from 1-5, and other vocabulary from this fun little song/counting app.

Another favorite is Big Bang Pictures, an app that has adjustable settings to meet the needs of children with visual impairment.

View all apps from Inclusive Technology Ltd on (iOS) here and (Google Play) here 

Alessandro La Rocca

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of all invention.  The motivation and inspiration behind each of Alessandro La Rocca's apps is his daughter, Niki, who has special needs.  The first app to be released was Niki Talk, an AAC app for emerging communicators that SASK believes was one of the first to include a unique drawing feature.  Read more about the story behind Niki Talk here.  Alessandro understands what features are important to special needs caregivers and educators and at time of review has developed 9 apps to benefit the special needs community, stay tuned for more!

Favorite Pick: Niki Story
Create your own stories from scratch, with or without picture symbol support (symbols not included), using Niki Story. This app has a unique feature that allows you to shrink your own images to make symbol sentence strips. You can then add your own media- including videos, or even draw your own images in the app. This app has a dyslexia font option! You can use the app to create stories, and to read stories. FULL REVIEW HERE

Check out a SASK review of another Niki favorite, Niki Agenda, here.

View all apps from Alessandro La Rocca here (iOS); Niki Talk is also on (Google Play)

I Get It, LLC

I Get It is a developer making affordable, themed visual story apps that can serve as social stories or visual planners; apps are highly customizable, allowing the user to insert personal images and recordings to make the stories relevant to the needs of each individual. A variety of themes to pick from allow your student to access themed curriculum and better understand their community and environment.

At time of review, I Get It has apps available for the following themes/subjects: Grocery Store, Family Photos, Playground, Fireworks/Fourth of July, Community Vocabulary, Easter, Classmates, Cooking, Going to a Restaurant, School, Going to Birthday Parties, All About Me, St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, Going to the Beach, Christmas, and several Scheduling apps for home and school.

If one of the themes above doesn't meet your needs, I Get It also has an app where you can make your own visual story from scratch, i Create... Social Skills Stories.

Favorite Pick: i Get...My Classmates Photo Books  Not only is this helpful for the child using this app, it is very useful for teachers, IEP team members, and parents- It is much harder for a child to learn how to get a peer's attention by calling his/her name if the adults around that child are not modeling this behavior.  Also handy for class events where you need a list of classmates available i.e. to make Valentine's Day cards, or for when your child comes home able to tell you something about a happening at school, minus the who. This can help with that.

View all apps from I Get It LLC here

Special iApps

I love that Special iApps apps are developed out of a mission to support children of all abilities. From their website: "We are a non-profit social enterprise, dedicated to helping children learn, and to supporting charities and voluntary organizations that work with children.
Founded by parents with many years of experience in both education and software, we work closely with other professionals, and children of all abilities, especially those with special needs.
We specialize in developing apps that children find easy to use and appealing. We design and trial our apps to ensure they are accessible to all children, including those with learning difficulties.
We write all our apps ourselves - we don't contract out the development work. We are very fortunate to have an experienced team of volunteers (adults and children) who help us with everything from graphic design to translation."

Favorite Pick: Special Words is based on the See and Learn picture/picture, word/word, picture/word matching program from Down Syndrome Education International . The app has a simple interface without visual clutter, which means no unnecessary distractions. There are four activities: Match Pictures, Match Words, Word to Picture, and Picture to Word.  The user can either drag correct answers to their correct match, or simply touch the answer to bring a card to its match.  It also is switch accessible and has a simple lock feature to help prevent accidental editing of pages. The app is inexpensive, comes with quite a few word/picture sets that can be rearranged, recorded over or removed completely- it is very easy to add your own images with recordings too.  Best yet, this app supports multiple profiles AND allows you to copy existing profiles or even export/import word lists- which means you don't have to build a set all over from scratch again if you would like to use similar material with a new user!

If you are looking for an early math app with similar features, take a look at Special Numbers -A friend raves about this app for her daughter, and I am glad to have it available on my loan library device.

View all apps from Special iApps on (iOS) and (Google Play) here

Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language & Auditory Development

Hamaguchi is known for its consistent production of quality apps for young language delayed children; I like Hamaguchi apps because my students are engaged by them, they offer flexible settings, and have data tracking capabilities. Hamaguchi has recently introduced a series of apps for older children and adults centering on social skills, Between the Lines.

Favorite Pick: Fun with Verbs and Sentences HD. A tight race between its predecessor, First Phrases, but I am finding myself reaching for Fun with Verbs more often. Children tap and say the sentence parts and are then rewarded with a fun animation of each sentence afterward. My students love hearing their voice played back! There is also a fun bubble popping game you can set to play at certain intervals for students who need a consistent reward system to stay engaged. This app offers just the right amount of scaffolding for my language delayed preschool students, and as always, great data tracking capabilities.  I can also go into settings to pick exactly which vocabulary I would like to focus on. FULL REVIEW here.

View all apps from Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language & Auditory Development here

Good Karma Applications, Inc.

A pioneer for special needs apps, Good Karma Apps was one of the very first developers to offer specialized apps for autism, with the introduction of First Then and My Choice Board into the App Store. Good Karma Apps have now evolved, with many features and two more apps to help users with autism and other special needs make sense of their day and learn from their environment.

Favorite Pick: FTVS HD - First Then Visual Schedule HD  FTVS HD -First Then Visual Schedule HD is the original premise of First Then, with more modern options like optimization for iPad, video embedding, and an integrated timer feature.  The video embedding means you can actually embed your own video as a step in a visual schedule- this is so relevant for a variety of life skills, from brushing teeth, tying shoes...anything you can capture on film. You can take videos of each step in the sequence i.e. getting your toothbrush out, picking up toothpaste and taking off cap, putting toothpaste on toothbrush etc.  The app comes with a library of symbols too.

View all apps from Good Karma Applications, Inc. here

If you are looking specifically for premade video modeling modules for a variety of sensitive hygiene topics such as changing of sanitary pads, shaving, putting on a bra etc. take a look at My Video Schedule, for iPhone/iPod touch/2x iPad

Attainment Company, Inc.

Attainment Company offers a number of apps created specifically for special needs users- apps that are switch friendly, AAC apps with a number of flexible features, and adapted curriculum apps.  Attainment Company also has developed cases for iPad and iPad mini, two of which were reviewed here FULL REVIEW

Favorite Pick: GoTalk Now  The scope of this app goes beyond a typical AAC app. It is also a wonderful tool for creating interactive learning content, such as switch accessible story readers, and visual scenes. Incredibly flexible and easy to set up, users can customize pages quickly with a large number of font, color and size options.  The included library of picture symbols is large, and it also easy to add multiple picture symbols to one single button- a feature that has been so handy and yet is hard to find in other similar apps.  You can of course add your own pictures, as well as embed internet links, or even music into buttons. 

There is also a GoTalk Now Plus version available, with additional features.
View all apps from Attainment Company, Inc. here

Mobile Education Store LLC

Mobile Education Store LLC has three new curriculum based apps (science), and many language Arts apps that address specific areas your child or student may be struggling with, such as storytelling/narrative skills, verb tenses, prepositions, forming questions, understanding parts of speech, and a favorite topic- conversation.

Favorite Pick: ConversationBuilder Deluxe  This app helps children who are verbal but struggle with what to say in social situations. One of their first apps and still my favorite, this app has grown with each update to become even more flexible, such as the group conversation mode where you can use your own images.  Mobile Education Store also has another version of this app for older users, ConversationBuilder Teen FULL REVIEW

View all apps from Mobile Education Store LLC here

Tactus Therapy Solutions Ltd.

 Tactus TherAppy Solutions first came out with Comprehension TherAppy in 2011 and currently at time of review has a suite of over a dozen therapy apps, as well as lite versions for the majority of their apps.  Tactus apps are easy to use, have flexible settings to meet the needs of different users, and have quality content and images.  They are appropriate for both adult and school aged children and have been used in school and hospital settings.
Favorite Pick: Conversation TherAppy

Conversation TherAppy  is a very  useful tool for speech and language therapy sessions with children or adults- it can help you figure out communication strengths and weaknesses and work on communication skills in a structured way.  You can really see where the breakdown in communication and understanding is occurring when evaluating across many facets such as describing, inference, word choice and so on.  For example, perhaps a student can give the right answer when asked "What do you when you are lost?" but that student is still unable to explain how a person might feel when lost, or explain why it would be useful to ask for directions. Or perhaps the student simply doesn't know the correct vocabulary to use- this app is a good fit for ESL students as well.   As I have come to expect from Tactus Therapy Solutions, there is data tracking and flexible settings to make this app easy to personalize content for each student.  You can even use the app with multiple students during a group therapy session!

We also use Visual Attention TherAppy frequently with my elementary school aged son to reinforce what he has worked on in Vision Therapy.  Therapists are using this in Skilled Nursing Facilities with success as well.

View all apps from Tactus Therapy Solutions Ltd. here

AND HONORARY AWARD GOES TO...                                                

The following developer didn't set out to make "Special Education apps" necessarily, but many in the special needs community are happy to have this developer as a formidable resource.  Grasshopper Apps offer dozens of highly customizable vocabulary and story apps-many are FREE. Add your own photos, and sounds, determine the number of images your child will have to choose from when answering a question, and more.

Favorite Pick: Bitsboard Pro

View all apps from here