Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Special Needs Apps for the iPad

Steve Jobs and Apple didn't forsee the extensive use of the iPad for people with Special Needs.  However the easy to use swipe design, portability and accessibility features are making it a very useful tool for many people with disabilities or learning difficulties.  Add to that is an extensive range of Apps that can be used to assist with literacy, communication, living skills and more.

On this blog we have put together a list of websites that have useful Apps for Sepcial Needs students accessible via the Special Needs Uses tab at the top of the blog.

In this post we look at some Apps we have recently trialed.

ACT Spell  is an app that aims at targeting specific vocabulary and assisting motor, visual and neurological skills.  Users or facilitators of the App can access a set of aready installed word banks or create their own word banks of words or phrases depending on their need.  To adapt for users needs in terms of visual communication or mobility issues users can adjust button size, background colours and hear text to speech. The only negative can be the voices used to read about the letters and words.  While they can be adjusted in a number of ways they are not very natural.  Apart from that for $2.99 this very easy to use App has many possibilities for students with a variety of special needs.  See the video below to see how it is being used by one person.

iWritewords $2.99 (A free lite version is also available to trial)
This App is useful for teaching handwriting and encouraging fine motor skills.  It's bright colours and fun way of drawing the letters making this a very engaging App.

Literacy Skills Sampler.  In a previous post we reviewed the Social Skills Sampler.  From the same company wand with the same features of being able to personalise the set of literacy videos comes the Literacy Skills Sampler.  This App provides videos around recognition of basic words in certain social situations, ranging from shopping to warning signs etc.

ProloQuo2Go helps people who have difficulty communication ranging from people with autism.  Press pictures and words on the iPad and it will speak the words out loud.  While it is not one we have trialed yet and the App seems expensive at $199, it is a less expensive option than many other Augmentative and Alternative Communication solutions and many people are finding it very effective.  See one child using it to communicate with his Mum about his favourite food.

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