These are available in 2 formats: as a word list (profile) for
Special Words, and as a story for Special Stories. They can be used in
any language, as they include images, but NOT written or
You can have lots of fun adding the words with your children, and you
may like to incorporate some of your own photos!
We would like to wish everybody a lovely Christmas, Holiday, and
anything else you may be celebrating at this time of year! Thank you
for your support during 2015 - we hope you have a happy, peaceful and
Wenn Sie über die Updates informiert werden möchten, abonnieren Sie
December 8, 2015 - Updates & Price Drop
In the last few days we have released updates for Special Numbers,
Match & Find and My 1st Signs on iOS, and our Touch Apps on both iOS
All of our apps are now fully compatible with the
All apps with profiles allow you to share via
AirDrop, DropBox, Google Drive and Microsoft One Drive
We are offering My 1st Signs (for users of UK sign
languages) at 50% off (now £9.99 in UK)
All apps are now compatible with Android 6.0
December 2, 2015 - New Team Members
We are very pleased to announce that Jana Cramer and Katha
Maksymowicz have joined our team at Special iApps.
are currently studying for postgraduate degrees
at Newcastle University Business
School. They will be with us until March, as part of the
University's work placement scheme, as Export Marketing Assistants.
As well as helping us with marketing our apps, they will be using
their language skills to improve and extend our German translations and
to introduce Polish.
Please join us in welcoming them!
November 18, 2015 - iPad Pro
Apple released the new large-screen iPad Pro last week. We've been
testing one since Friday, and are very impressed. Here are true-scale
screenshots of our Special Stories
app on iPad mini 4, iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro:
The iPad Pro screen is huge - nearly as large as US Letter or ISO A4.
Although the current price may make it unaffordable for many, we believe
it could have an important role in Education, for several reasons,
Easier to read text, recognise images and view videos
if you are visually-impaired
Easier to touch in the right place if you have poor
Better if you have hearing impairment - it has 4
speakers instead of 2, and is much louder
Ideal size for sharing, when working with several
children at the same time
It's worth knowing that the iPad Pro has two display modes,
standard and zoomed, as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus also
have. You can switch between these in the Settings
app's Display & Brightness.
Everything on the screen is scaled up by 33% compared with an iPad
Air. So you see exactly the same arrangement of text and images, only
bigger. Apps that have not been updated to support the iPad pro are
always displayed in zoomed mode, regardless of the display setting.
In apps that specifically support the iPad Pro, items such as buttons
and text can have the same size as on an iPad Air, but more things can
be fitted on the screen. So for instance, you can see more of a web
page in Safari without needing to scroll.
Standard mode is the default (for apps that support it)
and, to our eyes, text and images look sharper than in zoomed mode.
Yesterday we released updates
to Special Stories
and Special Words to fully support both
modes. In standard mode, we've made the cards in Special Words and the
photos and text in Special Stories bigger, to use all the available
space (as in the screenshot above). But we've kept sizes in the Word
List and the view of all Stories in a Collection the same scale as on
the iPad Air, so you can see more of them at once. If you'd prefer
everything scaled up, just switch to zoomed mode.
At the same time we have fixed a significant bug in Special Words,
that meant that press-and-hold on the padlock button didn't work in
some cases on iOS 8 and later.
We have 8 new spooky drawings with a Halloween theme. These are available
as FREE downloadable add-ons for our Special Words and
Special Stories apps.
They don't include written or spoken words: the idea is to have fun
adding your own words and voices. How about also including photos of
yourselves in Halloween costumes? It's really quick and easy to do!
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, so it seems fitting that
here at Special iApps, a social enterprise founded and run by parents of
children who have Down syndrome to create educational apps for disabled
children around the world, we've been recognised in 3 award ceremonies.
This month we've won two regional awards and have been finalists in an
Special iApps was recognised in the North East, winning Outstanding
Social Enterprise in
East Charity Awards on 8th October. We then travelled to London, as
we were shortlisted finalists for Innovation in Education in the
international Meffys Awards on
19th. Back in Newcastle on 22nd, were announced winner for Outstanding
15 IT and Technology Awards.
Based in Durham, it was with tremendous pride we drove home over the
iconic Tyne Bridge last night with our regional award. Special iApps is
a team of three, and we wouldn't be doing what we do if our children
William and Maya didn't have Down syndrome.
We've read that Down syndrome is the most common cause of leaning
difficulties, and know that many people with Down syndrome have hearing
impairment, speech difficulties and some have a dual diagnosis of
autism. So designing apps for children with Down syndrome creates
accessible educational apps to support the learning of children with a
wide range of disabilities and abilities.
As parents we knew that William and Maya had Down syndrome before
they were born, and we celebrate their lives and the positive effects
they have had on our lives, as well as the lives of others with Down
syndrome and their families around the world.
Bev, Colin and Barbara
October 22, 2015 - Updates for Special Stories and Special Words on iOS
We are pleased to announce updated versions of Special Stories and
Special Words for iPhone and iPad. These are available for download on
the App Store, and are free for users of earlier versions.
Copy stories and profiles using AirDrop
Share and backup using Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive
Stories improved compatibility with iBooks (iOS and
Optimised for iOS 9.0 and 9.1, ready for iPad Pro
Still full support for iOS 6.1 to 8.4 and older devices
Smoother scrolling in large collections of stories
Recognitions like these help us spread knowledge about what we do, so
we can reach more children with disabilities. Wish us luck!
September 15, 2015 - iOS 9
Tomorrow, September 16, Apple will release iOS 9 for the iPad, iPhone
and iPod touch.
Please read these notes BEFORE updating any
of your devices.
Sharing stories or collections in Special Stories, or profiles in
Special Words, doesn't currently work using Bluetooth, if either device
is running iOS 9.
We believe this is a problem in iOS, not in the apps. Other methods
of sharing (email and Wi-Fi) still work fine.
If you regularly exchange stories in locations where you don't have
access to Wi-Fi (e.g. in the school yard), you may want to delay
updating your device to iOS 9.
We hope very soon to release updates to these apps to support sharing
with AirDrop, Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud Drive. AirDrop allows
sharing between two nearby devices without needing access to a Wi-Fi
Using iCloud (or not)
If you upgrade to iOS 9, the first time your device restarts it will
ask you to login with an iCloud account or to create one.
You can avoid using iCloud if you've not used it before (e.g. if your
organisation's policy prohibits it, or you have concerns about data
usage or privacy).
To do this, tap Don't have an Apple ID or forgot it? when
asked to login or create an account, and then tap Set Up Later In
Settings. Confirm by tapping Don't Use.
If you are already using iCloud, and are happy with it, there's no
reason to stop. However, be aware that iCloud sync does not backup your
content from our apps: we currently recommend backing up Apple devices
using iTunes on a PC or Mac, whether using iCloud or not.
September 1, 2015 - Special iApps turns 4!
September 1st marks our anniversary. It's now 4 years since we
released our first app, Special Words, on the Apple App Store back in
Thank you to everybody for giving us so much support over the last 4
years. We couldn't do what we do without your help.
We hope everyone in the Northern Hemisphere had a great summer break,
recharged your batteries and are looking forward to going back to
Our annual celebration party at
the Alan Shearer
Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, will be on September 5th from 12
noon to 4 p.m. Please join us if you can, and let us know if you are
Bev, Colin and Barbara
August 22, 2015 - Free Workshops in Durham (UK)
Our popular workshops are coming to Durham Town
Hall on September 17th and 18th.
If you have any general questions about these events, please use the
email address on the booking forms.
August 12, 2015 - Fixes for recording sound on Android
A few people have reported problems recording sound in our Special
Stories and Special Words apps on Android. Yesterday we released
updates to both apps on Google Play, that fix the issues on at least
As there are so many different Android tablets and phones, it's
impossible for us to test them all. We think it would be helpful if we
published and maintained a list of devices that do and don't work.
If you have either of these apps on Android, it would be really
helpful if you could update to the latest version, and tell us whether
they're working properly or not. If you have problems with issues other
than sound, please report these too, so we can fix them. If everything
is fine, we'd like to know that too.
Please also tell us the make and model of your device(s) and their
Android version(s). These can usually be found in the Settings app >
About phone or About tablet. Look for Model Number
or Model, and Android Version.
You can transfer your content between Apple and Android versions of
Special Stories and Special Words. For example, copy a story with audio
from Apple iPhone to Samsung tablet. For help, see Support > User
Guides, or get in touch.
August 4, 2015 - Touch-Numbers in Dutch
We have added Dutch to the languages in our Touch-Numbers app for
Apple and Android devices. Many thanks to Annette Dalhuisen for
lending us her voice.
We travelled to London on Tuesday to join several dozen families in
the Houses of Parliament. At the reception, organised
by Contact a Family, we were
able to share with MPs and Peers our experiences of caring for a
We were lucky to be able to talk with the Bishop of Durham and
Baroness Sherlock, both members of the House of Lords, and Kevan Jones,
MP for Durham North. The Bishop, Paul Butler, is Children's Advocate on
behalf of the bishops, and Baroness Maeve Sherlock's focus includes
communities, families and children.
July 9, 2015 - Updates for Android
We have released updated versions of Special Stories and Special
Words for Android. These have new icons, and corrected translations, as
in the updates we recently released for iOS.
The screenshots here were taken on a Samsung Galaxy SIII.
Our Colours and Shapes
free add-on in Special Words, and a page from one of William's stories
in Special Stories.