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Special Stories User Guide - Introduction

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Editions of Special Stories

Special Stores is available in two editions:

  • Special Stories
    A native app for iPad & iPhone or for Android & Chromebook. This is the most basic edition available from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore.
  • Special Stories Plus
    A web-based edition that can be used on iPad, iPhone, Android, Chromebook, Windows, Mac and Linux. It has all the features of Special Stories, a free 14-day trial, 350+ Special iApps resources, 70+ Numicon resources, new features and much more.

The native edition (Special Stories) is available as paid apps from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore. The web-based edition (Special Stories Plus) is available on a paid subscription basis directly from Special iApps. We recommend purchasing Special Stories Plus edition because subscription is not limited to specific hardware platforms and has many more features than the native edition. To use a web-based edition, you will first need to install it as detailed in Chapter 2.

This user guide relates to both editions, noting where there are differences between them. In particular, the look & feel of the native Android/Chromebook editions is slightly different from the web-based and native iOS editions.

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About Special Stories

Special Stories allows you to create your own stories with personalised text, pictures and sound. You can read and listen to your stories, print them to use in paper-based activities and share them with friends and family.

Special Stories has a simple and uncluttered interface for reading and listening to stories, making it suitable for use by children and adults with ASD, Down syndrome, poor fine motor skills, hearing impairment and other learning difficulties. On iOS devices, for those who are unable to use a touch screen, but who can operate switches, the app can be used with 1 or 2 Bluetooth-connected adaptive switches.

Special Stories can be used to complement our Special Words and Special Sentences apps. You can transfer pictures, sounds and text directly between Special Stories and these other two apps.

Create Your Own Stories

You can create as many stories as you wish, and update them again later. Each story can have any number of pages, and each page can have a photo (or any other image), up to 60 seconds of sound you record, and several lines of text. A choice of large and small text sizes, in an easy to read font, allows for either single words and short phrases or longer sentences.

The easy to use facilities for creating and updating stories are summarised in the included Quick Start Guide, and explained in more detail in this User Guide.

Ideas for Stories

You can use Special Stories in many ways to support children's learning an development. There are no limits to what you can create, and some common ways to use the app are:

  • To improve reading skills
  • Encourage development of spoken language skills
  • Create talking books
  • Help with social skills
  • Explain step-by-step tasks
  • Practise foreign language skills
  • Make photo albums about holidays, trips, and other events
  • Share information between home and school
  • Share news with distant family and friends 

Language Support

The user interface and Quick Start Guide are provided in 18 languages: English, Albanian, Catalan, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. If you language is not listed, you can still use the app to create stories in any language.

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