Apps for Children With Special Needs

For iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

Many of the apps offered for iPhones and iPads aren't just for fun or everyday organization -- they're designed specifically to make life easier for people with special needs, by making communication or behavior management or health management easier. Check out these special-needs apps that have been mentioned, and tell us about the ones you've tried.


ArtikPix Screenshot
Screenshot courtesy of ArtikPix

In a reader review, aysberg writes: "For children with speech issues, ArtikPix offers an engaging way to practice sounds and words at home. The app comes pre-loaded with a set of 'th' sound flashcards, however, 21 decks of flashcards focusing on various sounds are available for a purchase of about $2.99 each." ... Read more

Screenshot courtesy of CBTReferee

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be useful for kids dealing with anxiety problems and negative thinking, but the journaling that's a useful part of the process may be tough for those who aren't comfortable with writing or prefer to do their composition more at the length of a text or a status. CBTReferee lets users input a negative thought and get a "referee" response pointing out inaccurate thinking. ... Read more


Dance Party Zoo
Screenshot courtesy of FizzBrain

Dance Party Zoo lets kids "practice basic motor skills -- balance, coordination, and rhythm -- with [a] fun kids' dance game." ... Read more


Earn It Stars lets you set a goal, determine the number of stars it will take to earn it, and mark stars as earned as you go. ... Read more


EMNet findER, for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, locates ERs based on your GPS location the same way you might do for restaurants or stores or other businesses. ... Read more



eReadingToGo!. Image courtesy of eReadingPro

eReadingToGo! is an app adaptation of the eReadingPro reading program. 

The mission of the Living With Hemophilia site is to share practical tools to help people with hemophilia manage their busy lives, and one of those tools is a free app for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad called FactorTrack that keeps track of hemophilia A Factor VIII infusions. ... Read more


Go Rewards
Go Rewards. Image courtesy of the Victoria Chart Company

An app from the Victoria Chart Company puts reward charts in a format that's easy to bring along wherever you go with your child. ... Read a parent's review.


iBiomed screenshot
Screenshot from iBiomed

Created by parents of a child with special needs, "iBiomed is a mobile software application developed for parents of special needs children, to help in managing the complexities involved with their care. Every aspect of the health care of a special needs child is provided in iBiomed." ... Read more


iDress for Weather
Image courtesy of Phyllis Brodsky

iDress for Weather does two things: tells what the weather is like today, and shows a picture of the appropriate attire. You can customize it with photos from your child's own closet, and maybe ward off some fights by letting kids look up acceptable outfits on the iPhone or iPod or iPad all by themselves. ... Read more


Screen shot courtesy of Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC)

You create a file for your child's current IEP and get a checklist of all the different elements that go into it, as in the screen pictured. Click on an item, and you get a reference to special-education law that applies to that item, and a space to enter notes. ... Read more



iPACS has seven different tabs for sorting images.
Image courtesy of AdastraSoft

According to its manufacturer, AdastraSoft, "iPACS allow you to customize close to 600 voice-enabled pictures for teaching, learning, and communication for special need individuals." In a reader review of the app, SusanA writes: "You can use the camera or download pictures from the internet combined with label and voice to create a great communication system. There are 6 images per page to choose from. The images are quite small which is challenging visually and motorically, but it's easy enough to open up one image and have it cover the entire screen." ... Read more

Image courtesy of HandHeld Adaptive

If you have your child on a picture schedule, and have previously had to tote around notebooks or Velcro-coated scraps of paper to make it work, check this out: iPrompts, an app designed by the family of a child with autism, puts those schedules on your iPhone or iPod Touch, along with a visual countdown timer, choice prompts, and a library of images to use. ... Read more


Eye Contact iPhone App
Screenshot courtesy of Fizzbrain

Is eye contact an issue for your child? There's an app for that. Look in My Eyes is a game for iPhone and iPod Touch in which players get points for locking peepers with a child on the screen. ... Read more


Model Me Kids app screenshot
Model Me Kids app screenshot. Screenshot courtesy of Model Me Kids

A few years ago, I wrote about Model Me Kids DVDs, which convert social stories about community situations into training videos for kids with autism spectrum disorders and other social skills difficulties. Now selected scenes from that series have been incorporated into an app for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad that lets you deliver that social-story reinforcement when you're on the go. ... Read more


Epilepsy Diary for Android
Android screenshot courtesy of

Remembering details and events is a natural use for a smartphone app, and when you're dealing with the frequent need to take down information about the health status of a child with disability, being able to punch it into your phone instead of waiting until you get home and hoping you remember is a terribly helpful use of technology. One such app is My Epilepsy Diary, which grew out of an online program on the site and is now available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android. 


OneVoice is an iPad-only app that, according to its site, "does less than most augmented communication devices. Why? Because making it easy to use is far more important than making sure it has every possible feature." ... Read more


Predictable app
Image courtesy of TBoxapps

Predictable, a $159 app for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, can be connected to a switch via Bluetooth, or the whole screen can be used as a switch. There's also a word-prediction feature that works with the app's keyboard and dictionaries. ... Read more


Image courtesy of Proloquo2Go

Proloquo2Go seems like the right idea for the future of augmentative communication. It puts those menus of words and snippets of sounds on an iPhone or iPod Touch, creating a smaller, lighter, cheaper, and infinitely cooler way to communicate, particularly for teens and adults who can easily manipulate its multiple screens.... Read more


Screenshot from Sign Me a Story from GraceSigns.
Screenshot from Sign Me a Story from GraceSigns. Image courtesy of GraceSigns

According to the app's website, "Sign-Me-A-Story is an educational application that teaches reading, sign language, and disability awareness. This app was created to help with language development through a simple visual and optional oral format. In this first app, users will learn eleven signs." ... Read an interview with the app's creator.


Smile at Me
Screenshot courtesy of FizzBrain

Smile at Me, like Look In My Eyes above, allows for practice of a difficult skill -- in this case knowing the appropriate facial expression -- with a gadget rather than a person. ... Read more


Talking Flashcards
Screenshot courtesy of Talking Flashcards

The app Talking Flashcards has a voice option to read questions and answers to your child. You can input information for your own cards, or upload sets of cards on popular subjects from ... Read more


A Screenshot From Voice4u
Photo courtesy of Spectrum Visions

The Voice4u web page describes it as "a revolutionary AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) application that helps individuals to express their feeling, thought, actions and things they need. It is a perfect solution for learning and communication for autistic individuals and people around them." ... Read more


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