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iPhone and iPad apps for disabled children

This is a selection of apps designed to assist children with learning disabilities.
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Topic: iPad
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1 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Word retention and learning

Compatibility: iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later. 

Maker: PeaPod Labs

Price: £1.49

ABC Wildlife uses visual prompts to help children learn different letters and words through an animal theme.  The app currently includes over 80 individual words and hundreds of photos and videos. The aim of the application is to teach letter and word recognition, and is suitable for younger children.
 
When I tested the app I found it very easy to navigate and believe the images the developers have used would be very engaging for a younger audience.

 

Click here to view the demo.

(Source: Apple)

 

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2 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Social skills

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later. 

Maker: FizzBrain

Price: $2.99

The Eye contact Zoo game, designed for children affected by Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, rewards children for quickly focusing in on a person's eyes. Through repeated practice it can help children learn to make eye contact by habit, and cope more readily with real-life situations. 

 

(Source: Apple)

 

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3 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Communication

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. 

Maker: Ted Conley

Price: £20.99

TapSpeak is a tool to help disabled children learn to communicate. It is an application that allows users to create an unlimited number of sequences so children with language or speaking difficulties are able to gain a 'voice'.

Children with cerebral palsy, autism, cortical vision impairment (CVI), paediatric stroke, or any disability that impairs their ability to communicate can make use of this app.

When setting up sequences users can choose the length, symbols, colours, upload photographs and alter phrase recordings.

 

Click here for a YouTube 'Mommy review' and walkthrough.

(Source: Apple)

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4 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Visual learning, routines

Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.

Maker: Grembe Inc.

Price: $49.99

iCommunicate allows users to design visual schedules, storyboards, communication boards, routines and speech cards for your child. Text-to-speech options are available, with approximately 20 different voices to choose from.

When I tested the app, I found the option to record audio and upload your own images a feature that added real personalization to the software. The interface is built with simplicity in mind and although the images and graphics aren't always of the best quality, it is still a valuable application.

 
Click here to view a child with Pradar Willi syndome using the app.
 
(Source: Apple)
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5 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Text-to-speech

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.

Maker: Assistive Ware

Price: $189.99

This app provides a text-to-speech communication facility for those with speaking difficulties. Currently, the voice options available are American, British and Indian English.
 
The default vocabulary is approximately 7000 words, and can be expanded by app users. It does not require Internet access to use.

 

Click here to view a child with Cerebal palsy using the app.

(Source: Apple)

 

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6 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Schedule and organisation

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.

Maker: Handhold Adaptive

Price: $49.99

iPrompts is an application for the iPod Touch and iPhone that offers a visual schedule, a countdown timer and a simple choice making utility. It is designed to replace needing to carry physical schedules or boards.
 
The visual schedule does allow for a portable way of using the feature for reference, and this in turn can be used as a public means of demonstrating cues for disabled children.
 
However, when testing the app, I found that the countdown visual could be slightly confusing to younger children – an improvement would be making this element of the app clearer and more user-friendly. There is also no way to ‘lock’ the option menu.

Click here to view the iPrompts tutorial.

(Source: Apple)

 

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7 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Learning, word games

Compatibility:  iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later. 

Maker: Anusen Inc.

Price: $0.99

Word Magic was nominated for Best Educational App in 2009 in the 'Best App Ever' awards, and was also featured in "Apps for kids" by Apple. The app was designed keeping preschooler and kindergarten kids in mind, and is most suitable for children between the ages of 3 and 6 / 7.
 
It is a method for children to have fun with words and complete spelling practice using visual prompts and games. The interface has a very simple design, and children complete games by touching the answer.

 

Click here to view the app demo.

(Source: Apple)

 

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8 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Phonology, articulation

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.

Maker: RinnApps

Price: $29.99

ArtikPix is an articulation-based app with flashcard and matching activities for children with speech delays. ArtikPix contains 21 decks with 40 cards each (913 total cards) for the following sounds:
 
th, f, v, ch, sh, k, g, s, z, l, r, s-blends, r-blends, l-blends, p, b, m, n, t, d, and j.
 
The decks are combined, selected for sound group (e.g., beginning th, er), then practiced through games and activities. The features also include recorded audio and voice recording facilities. After user requests, there is now a new group scoring feature for up to 4 children to complete activities together.

Click here to view a child using the app in a therapy session.

(Source: Apple)

 

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9 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Language learning

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later. 

Maker: ZBobbApps

Price: £4.99

Autism/ DTT Letters app can be used to help children learn the letters of the alphabet and to differentiate between uppercase and lowercase sets. According to Dr. Gary Brown, the app developer, it has been tested extensively with children who have autism, ADHD, and other developmental disorders.

 

(Source: Apple)

 

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10 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Testing speech and communication levels

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later. 

Maker: Smarty Ears

Price: £34.99

The Sunny Articulation Test can be used to collect and analyze data concerning a child’s articulation skills.
 
According to the developers, the application can also be used to ‘determine the presence of an articulation disorder’. After using the test functions to determine a child’s level of communication, you can then create a learning plan.
 
Some elements of a child’s communicative abilities that are measured include:
  • English language phonemes
  • Manner
  • Word positioning
  • Errors
  • Voice production

 

Click here to view the tutorial.

(Source: Apple)

 

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11 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: AAC device, communication

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later. 

Maker: Xcellent Creations Inc.

Price: $9.99

iConverse is an educational tool designed for young children, autistic individuals, and individuals with other communicative disabilities. The app gives users the ability to carry an AAC device in their pocket creating a means of communication that is appropriate and publicly discreet.
 
iConverse comes with 6 built in communication tiles that represent a person's most basic needs. When activated by touch, the icons give both an auditory and visual representation of the specific need or request.

 

(Source: Apple)

 

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12 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Numerical skills

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later. 

Maker: Digital Brainwash

Price: $0.99

Memorizing Times Tables (multiplication tables) is important for children to advance in their math skills. Math App -- Times Table is a way to help children learn multiplication in an interactive way.
 
The application includes answer on/off functionality, tests, four levels of multiplication and different time modes.

 

(Source: Apple)

 

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13 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Emotional development and understanding

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 2.2.1 or later. 

Maker: Kindergarten.com

Price: Free

Focusing on learning difficulties such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger’s, this app aims to help children to understand emotions and be able to recognise and respond to them.
 
The ABA flash card collection includes 50 visual prompts for 10 basic emotions. Additional features include audio and text to increase the interactivity of these flash cards, in order to reinforce learning. Flashcards can be played in the same order or shuffled.
 
The developer’s intent is to :“ provide children with quality educational applications that are not only enjoyable but also enhance cognitive development, phonemic awareness, and reading readiness.”

 

(Source: Apple)

 

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14 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Social skills, literacy

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. 

Maker: MDR

Price: $13.99

Stories2Learn is an affordable app to help develop social awareness in children with Autism and other developmental disabilities.
 
S2L offers parents the ability to create personalized stories using photos, text, and audio messages. These stories can be used to promote a child’s literacy levels, social skills, as well as a way to spend quality time with your child.
 
A parent can quickly create a story that shows various social cues. For example, if a child is learning a new concept such as eye contact, this can be quickly depicted in a story form to reinforce learning.
 

Click here to view the app in action.

(Source: Apple)

 

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15 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Rewards

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later. 

Maker: Grembe Inc.

Price: $4.99

Selected by Apple for Apps for a spot on its special education list, iReward is a motivational tool to reward your child for completing certain tasks.
 
You can use visual rewards to reinforce positive behaviours – such as star charts, or token boards. The app supports multiple users and can be organised by family, classroom or patient. It includes customisable features including background and ‘reward’ tokens, sound facilities and password protection.
 
While scanning reviews online, it seems the application option is popular for giving children something tangible but removing the risks associated with a physical reward chart (such as small parts becoming a choking hazard).

Click here to view more information.

(Source: Apple)

 

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16 of 16 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Category: Reading comprehension

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 4.3 or later. 

Maker: MeeGenius

Price: Free

The MeeGenius app is a mobile library of over 250 childrens' books that receive weekly updates. The app uses technology to help children concentrate on reading - including word highlighting and narration. This can help a child in terms of word recognition and reading development.
 
The application itself is free, and users can purchase digital 'smart' books for use on the iPhone or iPad through its interface with a web connection.

 

Click here to view an example story.

(Source: Apple)

 

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