Meet the Team

Beverley Dean - Founder and President

Bev founded Special iApps in 2011 with her husband, Colin. Their younger son, William, was born in 2005 with Down syndrome and Hirschsprung's disease. Bev recognised the potential of devices like the iPad for helping children with learning disabilities, but couldn't find apps suitable for William, so she asked Colin to start writing some for him.

Bev has a B.Sc. in Zoology from Queen Mary University of London, a Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science from Newcastle University, and a Diploma in Management from the Chartered Management Institute, obtained at Durham University Business School. Prior to founding Special iApps, she worked in the I.T. and telecommunications industries.

Read Bev's story

Dr. Colin Dean - Chief Technology Officer

Colin is the programming brain behind all our apps, manages all our I.T. systems, and leads our training workshops.

Colin started his career as a lecturer at Exeter University, then went on to develop software and manage computer systems at a number of high-tech companies in Cambridge. Later, at Durham University, he was involved in educational research and testing analysis at the CEM Centre, and designing and managing large-scale services in the Computing and Information Services.

Colin has an M.A. in Natural Sciences and a Ph.D. in Physics, both from the University of Cambridge, and has been developing software since 1987.

Barbara Lowe – Head of Design and Photography

Barbara has brought to Special iApps over 25 years of design experience along with a passion for photography. She spent 5 years working in New York City and has also lived and worked in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Barbara is a single mum with three beautiful children. The youngest, Maya, has Down syndrome. Barbara says: I feel totally privileged to work for Special iApps and to be part of a team so dedicated to the education of every child and young adult, especially those who need extra support with learning.

Barbara has a B.A. in Textiles for Fashion with Administration from Brighton University and an Advanced Diploma in Photography from the Institute of Photography.

Catherine Milbanke, FCA - Non-Executive Director

Catherine has supported Special iApps from the beginning, and advises us on financial matters and business administration. Catherine is a partner at accountancy firm 3S Accountancy Services, where she specialises in charities, not for profit organisations and social enterprises. She is also a board member of a number of registered charities.

Catherine is married with two children, and is also godmother to Bev and Colin's younger son, William.

Catherine has a B.Sc. in Chemistry from Durham University, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Sian Thomas - Non-Executive Director

Sian has worked for 25 years in the Financial Industry working across the areas of Technology, Risk and Business Management. She received the Barclays Woman of the year award in 2008 for her contribution to Diversity in her role as Head of the Women’s Internal Network.

Sian is married with 2 children, the youngest child is adopted and has Special Educational Needs.

Sian studied at University College Cardiff, where she received a B.Sc. in Mathematics, an M.Sc. in Technology and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education in Mathematics. She recently completed the Non-Executive Director's Diploma at the Financial Times.

Lauren-Rae Dodd - Sales & Marketing Assistant

Lauren joined us at the beginning of August 2016, in a position part-funded by the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme.

In her role with us, Lauren will be broadening and enhancing her skills within email marketing, CRM handling and SEO optimization.

Lauren has previous experience with The Tab, Newcastle Gig Guide, Accent Magazine and Sunderland Echo, and has recently returned from a freelance internship in Prague. She has a B.A. in Journalism from Northumbria University.


We couldn't do what we do without a wonderful group of over 50 volunteers from around the world, who have given their time for free to assist us with translation, testing and much more.

Your support and dedication has enabled us to reach children in more than 100 countries.

You are stars

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