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Supporting Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

At Special iApps, we have a long-standing reputation for developing educational apps for children with special educational needs.

Since 2011, Special iApps have been supporting children with special educational needs and worldwide. Beginning from personal experiences, we have developed our apps over the years in collaboration with educators, therapists/pathologists and parents of children with additional needs.

On this page you will find information to support children and young adults with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, dyslexia and dyspraxia, and hearing impairment.

Autism

Children with autism are often drawn to tablets and smartphones. This is often because they are fascinated by details, or find the screens easier to look at than making eye contact with other people.

Our apps are helping many autistic children around the world, and are:

  • Free from visual and auditory distractions that can upset and distract
  • Designed to break learning down into manageable steps
  • Easily personalised, to harness the child's interests and avoid their dislikes
  • Tested and recommended by experts in ASD from many countries

Find out more

Cerebral Palsy

We have made our apps easy to use for children with cerebral palsy, and other disabilities that affect motor control and ability to communicate.

Our apps can support children with:

  • Tapping and dragging - our apps work even if your child accidentally taps more than once, or struggles to keep their finger on the screen.
  • Accurate positioning – children who can't position objects precisely over another can use our apps because even a small overlap is recognised as correct.
  • Speed of movement - activities in our apps are not timed, you can take as long as needed.
  • Adaptive switches - most of our apps for the iPad support using Bluetooth switches, for those who are unable to control apps by touching the screen.

Find out more

Down Syndrome

Children with Down syndrome find iPads and other tablets very engaging. However, without the right apps they can easily become frustrated and disillusioned.

Our apps are different, and can really help your child learn:

  • Developed by parents who have children with Down syndrome
  • Visually clear and simple: no distracting backgrounds or noises
  • Easily personalised, and designed to grow with your child
  • Enable learning in small steps, with no negative rewards
  • Recommended by Down syndrome organisations around the world

Find out more

Dyslexia and Dyspraxia

People with Dyslexia may have difficulties with reading, writing and spelling, often having trouble with the order of letters in a word, or confusing letters like ‘b’ and ‘d’ or ‘p’ and ‘q’. Those with Dyspraxia can appear to be clumsy, owing to poor co-ordination involving gross or fine motor skills. 

Our apps support:

  • The use of the OpenDyslexic font which was designed to be easier to read for many people with Dyslexia. 
  • Response to a child's intention when tapping or dragging
  • Activities are not timed
  • Where there are animations, we provide settings to adjust their speed

Find out more

Hearing Impairment

We are parents with direct experience of hearing impairment: Bev and Colin's son William (pictured here) has hearing loss and has worn hearing aids from when he was quite young.

All our apps have:

  • No distracting background sounds
  • Included audio is clear and spoken slowly
  • Options are included to select when audio is used
  • All of our apps can be used without audio
  • Several apps allow you to record your own voice

Find out more

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Apps for iPad with switch support

The iPad has built in support for switches. However, this is optimised for adults, and can be too difficult for children to master. Some apps for children with disabilities, including most of ours, have dedicated switch support, to empower children to use this assistive technology.

Not all of the facilities in our apps are switch-enabled. An adult who can use a touch screen will need to operate the iPad to adjust settings and add personalised content.

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OpenDyslexic font support those with Dyslexia

Our Special Words and Special Stories apps both include an option to use an OpenDyslexic font (as shown above in Special Words). This font was designed to be easier to read for many people with Dyslexia.

Both apps can be used to help improve reading skills - Special Words for single words and short phrases, and Special Stories also for longer sentences. Both offer a choice of smaller or larger font sizes, and include two variants of the OpenDyslexic font (differing in the shape of the letter ‘a’). You can also use any of the standard fonts on your device.