The unique activities in this app are ideal for children using
British Sign Language (BSL) or Sign Supported English (SSE), and it also
includes sign variants that will be recognisable to users of
Some but not all of the signs are the same as in ASL, AUSLAN and
NZSL: if you would be interested in us extending the app to more fully
support these, please let us know, so we can get an idea of the level of
All of our apps are now iOS8-compatible. They're also compatible
with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (apart
from My 1st Signs and
Match & Find, which are for the iPad
September 22, 2014 - Touch apps
Updated versions of our 6 Touch apps are
now available for Apple and Android:
Apple versions now compatible with iOS 8
New CAPITAL LETTERS setting
Portuguese (Brazil) and Luxembourgish in Touch-Words
Portuguese (Brazil), Luxembourgish and Ukrainian in Touch-Animals
Turkish in Touch-Words
Many thanks to Cinthia Azevedo, Sandy Gratia, Tetiana Mykhailenko and
Gün Bilgin for their help with translation and audio.
Today we have released updated versions of Special Words.
We've added Luxembourgish and Brazilian Portuguese translations.
Many thanks to Sandy Gratia and Cinthia Azevedo, who provided the text
and audio, and to all our other volunteer translators around the world.
It now supports 22 languages!
In response to feedback from several countries where children are first
taught written words using all capital letters, we have added
a CAPITAL LETTERS option to the app's settings.
The Apple version (left) is now compatible with iOS 8. The Android
version (right) now has the option of using
fonts, designed to increase readability for users with dyslexia (the
Apple version already had this).
Special Words won second place in the Vodafone Foundation Mobile For
Good Europe Awards last year, and has been demonstrated to deliver many
encouraging speaking and helping with clarity
increasing written word vocabulary
developing better hand-eye co-ordination
improving fine motor skills
building confidence and self-esteem
September 19, 2014 - Special Numbers
An updated version of Special Numbers for the iPad, iPhone and iPod
touch is now available. This is now compatible with iOS 8.
We have also added a Turkish translation, kindly provided by Gün
Bilgin and Fulya Ekmen of Down Sendromu Derneği Türkiye (Gün had
previously translated Special Words and
Special Stories for us).
Special Numbers also supports English (with choice of British and
American), Catalan, French and Spanish, and allows you to replace the
written and spoken words with your own translation and audio, so you can
use it in any language.
With 6 different activities to support a variety of early number
skills, this app is also highly configurable, to suit different levels
Today we have released updated versions of Special Stories for Apple
The Apple version (left) is now compatible with iOS 8. The Android
version now has the option of using
fonts (as shown on right), designed to increase readability for users
with dyslexia (the Apple version already had this).
Special Stories makes it quick and fun to create your own stories,
with photos and written and spoken words. Parents, teachers and
therapists around the world use it with their children for:
presenting social stories
improving reading skills
encouraging spoken communication
and much more...
September 17, 2014 - App Updates Coming Soon!
We have lots of updates to our apps on iOS and Android coming very
soon. The Apple versions will all be compatible with iOS 8 but, like
lots of other developers, we are currently waiting for Apple to approve
Apple will release iOS 8 later today, but we strongly
recommend NOT updating until you are sure compatible versions of
all the apps you rely on are available. We'll let you know as soon as
ours can be downloaded...
New for Apple & Android:
CAPITAL LETTERS setting you asked for in Special Words and the Touch apps
Portuguese (Brazil) & Luxembourgish in Special Words, Touch-Words & Touch-Animals
New for Apple:
Turkish in Special Numbers
New for Android:
OpenDyslexic fonts in Special Words and Special Stories (already on Apple)
September 4, 2014 - La Sauterelle Tactile
La Sauterelle Tactile is a French language site for finding
educational apps adapted to the needs of children with special
It has just published a great review of Match & Find (Relier
Relier et Trouver est une excellente application
pour travailler plusieurs compétences dont la mémoire, l’association,
l’identification et l’ordre.
[ Match & Find is an excellent app for working on several skills
including memory, matching, identification and ordering. ]
This site has previously published reviews of two of our other
apps, Special Words (Mots Spéciaux) and Special Stories
Apple is expected to announce the release of iOS 8 (the new version
of its operating system for the iPad and iPhone) and a new larger
iPhone, on 9th September. The current versions of many apps, from
Special iApps and other developers, are NOT FULLY COMPATIBLE with
iOS 8, because of substantial changes Apple has made.
We've been working hard over the last 3 months to update our apps,
and anticipate releasing new versions later this month, that will look
and behave just like the current versions. We suggest DELAYING
UPDATING your devices to iOS 8 until you are sure there are
compatible versions of all the apps you use.
Before you do update your iPad or iPhone to iOS 8, we strongly
recommend BACKING UP YOUR PERSONAL DATA in our apps, as there's
always a small risk with a major operating system update that things can
Please DON'T RELY ON iCloud, as photos, text and audio you
have added in our apps are not stored in iCloud. Instead, to be safe,
use the EXPORT facility in our apps to email the contents in the
app's own format, and save the email attachments somewhere else. If you
are at all uncertain about how to do this, please contact us, tell us
which apps you use, and we'll explain exactly what to do. It's better
to be safe than sorry!
September 1, 2014 - Celebration Party
Special iApps turns 3!
September 1st marks our anniversary, it's now 3 years since we
released our first app, Special Words, on the Apple App Store back in
2011. Thank you to everybody for giving us so much support over the
last 3 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 20th from noon to 4:00pm, please
join us if you can, and let us know if you are coming.
Bev, Colin and Barbara
July 25, 2014 - My 1st Signs: Now available!
Our latest app, Let's Sign - My 1st Signs, is now available
for the Apple iPad on the App Store. It includes BSL sign graphics from
the Let's Sign BSL
Series by Cath Smith.
Designed to help children to learn signs through activities that
encourage sign and word recognition, it can easily be adapted and
personalised to meet the needs of each child as their language,
vocabulary and communication skills develop.
We are proud to announce that Special iApps is now a member of the
MOMs with apps
“KNOW what's inside” program.
Our apps are designed with your privacy in mind: they do not pop up
adverts or requests for ratings or in-app purchases, they do not collect
analytics data or any other information about you, and they do not send
any of your data to us.
Use any font in Special Words and Special Stories on iOS
A number of people have asked us if they could use a particular font
they like in our Special Stories or Special Words apps, and we have now
released updated versions of both for iOS to allow this. From
the Extra Actions view in either app, tap the Settings
button, and you will find a new Font setting.
You can choose from a variety of fonts:
The Special Letters font included in our apps is still
the default. We now also include
two OpenDyslexic fonts, designed to increase
readability for users with dyslexia (as shown here).
You can use any font provided by Apple's iOS: over 200 are
available as standard in iOS 7.
Provided your device is running iOS 7.0 or later, you can also
install additional TrueType (.ttf) or OpenType (.otf) font files on
the device and use these. If you have additional fonts you wish to
install, we suggest using the
app to do this, and recommend that you use TrueType fonts (OpenType
fonts may not display as intended in stories when printed or if
emailed as a PDF file).
In Special Words, we have also changed the View Online
Documentation facility to use Safari, and fixed a problem when
selecting from a large number of profiles, just like for Special Stories
(see previous blog entry).
We've increased the maximum sound recording duration to 60 seconds
(that's already the limit in the Android version). If you want to
add lots of written text to a page, remember that you can turn
off Large Text in the app's settings to make it
We've fixed a problem on iOS 7, where selecting from a large number
of collections or stories (e.g. to print a story) was difficult
because the list didn't scroll properly.
The View Online Documentation button in the Extra
Actions view, which shows pages from our website, now opens
Safari instead of showing them directly from Special Stories. This
has the advantage that you can disable this (to prevent your child
following links to other web sites) by using
Apple's Restrictions or Guided Access
For users in countries such as Bulgaria and Ukraine, we've corrected
the Cyrillic letter “а” in our font.
Today we have released updated versions
of Special Words for iOS and Android, to
add a Ukrainian translation (Особливі Слова).
Our warmest thanks go to Yuri Vlasyuk, Anton Voloschuk and Irene
Tymofeeva at iLand in Kiev
for working with us over the last 7 months to translate the text and
record the audio, and to Tetiana Mykhailenko and her colleagues at
Charitable Down Syndrome Organization for corrections and
We have also added Ukrainian
to Touch-Words. Special Words and
Touch-Words now both support 20 languages, each with natively-spoken
In 2011, the Ukrainian Charitable Down Syndrome Organization, with
support from Down Syndrome Education International, translated and
adapted the See and Learn Language and Reading Programme for Ukrainian,
and our 2 apps include words and pictures from this.
We're sure everyone would like to join us in wishing all the people
of Ukraine a peaceful outcome to the current crisis in their
April 13, 2014 - New app: Touch-Animals
A new app in our “Touch” collection, Touch-Animals, is
available from today on the App Store for the iPad, iPhone and iPod
Touch, and on Google Play for Android tablets and phones. Priced at
99¢ (US, Canada, Australia), 69p (UK), 89c (Euro).
This is a simple cause-and-effect app, with 12 animal pictures and
corresponding written and spoken words in 19 languages. The pictures
are the same as in our Match & Find app
for the iPad.
Also today, we have released an update to
our Match & Find app, to add Spanish
and Catalan translations. Many thanks to Pilar Clavera, Marta
Montserrat and Montse Rovira-Prieto for their contributions to this.