Special Words User Guide

1. Introduction


This guide is for Android users. We have another guide for Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users.

Special Words can be used to teach and assess recognition of written and spoken words, to encourage speech and communication, and to improve fine motor control, hand-eye coordination and attention skills.

Parents, teachers, speech therapists and educational psychologists around the world use Special Words daily with their children. This app won second place in the Education category of the Vodafone Foundation Mobile for Good Europe Awards 2013.

Special Words has 6 activities, Match Pictures, Match Words, Word to Picture, Picture to Word, Sound to Picture and Sound to Word, all of which can be used to match 1, 2, 3 or 4 cards.

You can personalise by reordering, deleting and adding your own words, pictures and audio, and easily synchronize to your other mobile devices.

With a simple and intuitive interface, Special Words has been shown to be accessible and hold the attention of children with Down syndrome, autism, poor fine motor skills, hearing impairment and other learning difficulties, as well as being appealing to typically developing children.

The Durham iPad Project Evaluation, published in June 2012, demonstrated that Special Words is an effective resource to enhance communication, language and literacy skills, and that it has a positive impact on the development of expressive language, receptive language, word recognition, reading and listening skills.

Special Words comes with 96 written words children use in their early vocabulary. It includes matching pictures, written and spoken words, in 27 languages: English (American, British and Australian), Afrikaans, Albanian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Dutch, Flemish, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Icelandic, Italian, Luxembourgish, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian and Welsh. You can easily replace the words and re-record the audio in any other language your child uses.

You can quickly add more words, pictures and sounds for family members, friends, and familiar objects, to increase your child's interest, and further develop their reading vocabulary.

We continue to develop and extend Special Words, in close collaboration with parents and professionals, and we welcome feedback and suggestions.

This is an app for tablets and phones, and you can easily transfer personalised text, pictures and sounds between your devices, using Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi® or e-mail. You can have more than one set of words, or profiles in the app, and this can be especially useful if working with more than one child or a child who is bilingual or multilingual.

Special Words can also be used to complement our Special Numbers and Special Stories apps, and you can transfer pictures, sounds and text directly between Special Words and Special Stories.

Most of the screenshots in this User Guide show Special Words running on a phone rather than a tablet (just because the images for a phone are smaller), but everything described applies equally to phones and tablets, except where stated otherwise.

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