Creating Special iApps
Our youngest son William, who has Down syndrome, autism, a hearing impairment and other medical conditions, is the inspiration for creating Special iApps. We couldn't find appropriate educational apps to support his learning, finding many to be over-complicated, over-stimulating and not supportive of his needs. So, in 2011 we set out to create something that could help him and be accessible to his abilities. Little did we know the journey this idea would take us on.
After creating Special Words, we realised that with our apps being designed and tested through neurodivergent eyes, hands and minds they could support more children than just William. We knew we could do more than be another business who just made money, we could help children like our own son thrive with their learning. We could provide tools to open up the world of learning to children and young adults with special educational needs and disabilities.
Our lived experiences led to us creating Special iApps, a social enterprise to help children and families just like our own.
Supporting children like our own
For the past 10 years we have put children, their families, and support team around them at the forefront of every decision we make. Our mission is to create apps for all learners, being adaptable and personalised to individual needs and abilities. We hope that with the support of our apps, children and young adults can reach their full potential with the help of edtech.
The Special iApps community has grown over the years to include families, teachers, schools, speech therapists, support groups, charities and more. Everyone who has used our apps has played a part in their development, positively impacting families and classrooms just like their own.
Becoming a social enterprise
Every business has a choice to make, to profit from society and keep it all to themselves or invest their profits back into transforming their community. For us, that choice was simple. Being a social enterprise is about changing the world for the better, about improving people's lives and helping those who need us most. When a social enterprise thrives, we all thrive.
Special iApps exists entirely to provide equal opportunities to learning, creating tools accessible for everyone. We reinvest all our profits into developing apps and activities to support learning, creating resources to differentiate the curriculum, creating jobs and experience for recent graduates, translating content to support our global community. Our priority is, and always will be, children and young adults with special education needs, their families, teachers and support team.
Making a difference together
Over the years we have worked closely with our families, educators and support groups to create apps that would have the greatest impact on education and development. We designed our apps to provide longevity, growing with children as their skills improve and support them into adulthood.
When you join the Special iApps Membership, your money allows our small team to continue creating apps and resources to make a real difference to learning. It allows us to help vulnerable families who may not otherwise be able to afford educational technology for their family. Our decision to move to a membership allows us to be sustainable, to continue making an impact in our community and provide children with the tools needed to show everyone how much they really know.
Supporting Special iApps is also more than just purchasing a membership. It's about telling your friends the impact our apps have made to your children's learning. It's about sharing our apps with schools and therapists so they can go on to help others. If you're in a position to help, as a non-profit we also accept donations which allows us to gift apps to families in needs.
The people behind Special iApps
Your membership supports our small, hard-working team to make a real difference in children and young adult's lives. Part of our social mission is to hire recent graduates and offer intern opportunities to provide real-life work experience, opening up the world of social enterprises to the next generation.
We also partner with other charities and support groups, such as Numicon and Makaton. We strongly believe that collaboration with other organisations, charities and non-profits will benefit our community by providing an educational toolkit for you to draw a wealth of resources from.
A global community
Special iApps also collaborate regularly with our worldwide audience. We have a group of dedicated volunteers from several countries who help us translate, test and develop our apps, ensuring they are suitable and accessible for everyone.
We provide training workshops for charities around the world, most recently for Down Syndrome Albania and Ukrainian Charitable Down Syndrome Organisation. We were able to supply apps to their families and share with them how to best support their children's learning.
Transforming lives one app at a time
80% of the Special iApps community has used our apps for more than 3 years, many who have been here since day one. Supporting social enterprises like Special iApps has a lasting impact on real people's lives, and we're always thrilled to hear their stories and see their successes.