This guide is for iOS users. We have another guide for Android and Chromebook 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, 4, 6 or 8 cards.
You can personalise by reordering, deleting and adding your own words, pictures and audio, and easily synchronise 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.
For those who are unable to use a touch screen, but who can operate switches, the app can be used with 1, 2 or 3 Bluetooth-connected adaptive / assistive switches.
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 iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and you can easily transfer personalised text, pictures and sounds between your devices, using AirDrop, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or e-mail. You can have more than one set of words, or profiles, and this can be especially useful if working with more than one child or a child who is bilingual or multilingual.
Most of the screenshots in this User Guide show Special Words running on an iPhone rather than an iPad (just because the images for the iPhone are smaller), but everything described applies equally to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, except where stated otherwise. Depending on the version of iOS your device is running, the style of some of the objects on the screen may vary slightly from those shown here, but the behaviour will be the same.
There are 3 different editions of Special Words available for iOS devices:
The web edition is available free as a 28-day trial, from the Special iApps website, and has a subset of the features and content of the other two editions. It is intended for evaluating the suitability of the app prior to purchasing either of the other editions from the App Store or via Apple's Educational Volume Purchase Programme.
This user guide describes the standard and professional editions, noting where there are differences between them.