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Special Words User Guide - Introduction

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Special Words - Match Pictures

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.

Special Words has 6 activities, Match PicturesMatch WordsWord to PicturePicture to WordSound 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 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.

Special Words - Match Words

The Durham iPad Project Evaluation 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.

Special Words - Word Picture

We continue to develop and extend Special Words, in close collaboration with parents and professionals, and we welcome feedback and suggestions.

You can easily transfer personalised text, pictures and sounds between your devices, in a variety of ways. 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.

Special Words can also be used to complement our Special Stories and Special Spelling apps, and you can transfer pictures, sounds and text directly between Special Words and these other apps.

Special Words is available in a number of editions:

  • Special Words
    A native app for iPad & iPhone or for Android & Chromebook, this is the most basic edition.
  • Special Words Plus
    A web-based edition that can be used on iPad, iPhone, Android, Chromebook, Windows, Mac and Linux, with all the features of Special Words, a free 14-day trial and even more resources.

The native edition (Special Words) is available as paid apps from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore. The web-based edition (Special Words Plus) is available on a paid subscription basis directly from Special iApps, and we recommend purchasing this edition because subscription is not limited to specific hardware platforms. To use a web-based edition, you will first need to install it as detailed in Chapter 9.

This user guide relates to all 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.

Please note:

We stopped offering Special Words Pro on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon in March 2021. This app was developed upon to become Special Words Plus, with even more features and resources. If you have previously downloaded Special Words Pro, you may continue to use it but no further updates will be provided.