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Special Stories User Guide - Introduction

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Editions of Special Stories

Over time there have been 2 different editions of Special Stories:

  • Special Stories
    The original edition for iPad & iPhone or for Android & Chromebook. This used to be available from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore, but is no longer available and no longer supported.
  • Special Stories Plus
    The current web-based edition that can be used on iPad, iPhone, Android, Chromebook, Windows, Mac and Linux. It has all the features and content of the previous edition, and much more. Like our other web-based apps, Special Stories Plus is downloaded directly from Special iApps, and is included as part of all paid subscriptions to Special iApps Membership. An annually-renewing subscription with a 14-day free trial can be purchased on the Special iApps website. Subscriptions cannot be purchased from any other stores.

To use the web-based edition, you will first need to install it as detailed in Chapter 2.

This user guide is for Special Stories Plus, not the previous edition. For the sake of brevity, in some places we refer to Special Stories Plus as just Special Stories.

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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