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 recognized 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.

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. Sian undertook the role of head of the Women's Network while at Barclays and received the Barclays Woman of the year award in 2008.

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.

Joseph Dean - Voice Artist & Student Liaison

Joe is Bev and Colin's elder son. He was our original voice artist from the age of 11, and he can still be heard as the British voice of many of our apps. Since his voice dropped, he has moved on to acting as our student volunteer liaison officer and conference co-presenter.

Joe is currently a medical student at Newcastle University, where he also works as a student ambassador. He has a scholarship from Medic Mentor, with roles in coordinating and presenting at conferences. He is fluent in Makaton sign language.

Somehow, Joe also finds time for his piano and trombone, and to play the odd match for Durham City Cricket Club.


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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