By Sabrina Winters
With the introduction of the iPad, applications (also known as
"Apps") some extraordinary Apps have been developed, in particular Apps
that can improve the daily lives of children with special needs. Many of
these can be found in a Special Education Section of their official
on-line store. The iPad itself is now being widely recognized as a
valuable tool for assistive communication. Several websites are devoted
to this topic, with recommendations for specific Apps.
Some popular websites to visit include:
1. About.com: which has a special needs Apps section and reviews.
2. momswithapps.com: This is another unique
site, formed by family-friendly mobile app developers. Many members of
this site have developed programs for Apple and the iTunes store.
3. babieswithipads.com: This site is geared primarily toward babies and toddlers in an effort to improve communication and cognitive skills.
4. lilliespad.com: Is a resource for the special needs community and has up-to-date information on special needs Apps for the iPad.
In regard to specific Apps, I found the apps listed below particularly interesting and useful enough to share with you.
1. Proloquo2go: This is a well-respected
assistive communication App for the iPad. This app has been
specifically designed for autistic children, and is reportedly easy to
install and navigate.
2. iCommunicate For iPad: This utilizes
pictures and visuals to augment communication skills. This App comes
with a pre-loaded library of pictures, which can be enhanced with Google
3. A free App called iComm is also
available for the iPad and iPhone. A user can upload their own video
and audio with this App, which is reportedly ideal for children with
autism, cerebral palsy, and Down's syndrome.
4. ArtikPix includes child-friendly
language and is an App designed for children with speech sound delays.
It can also be used independently, with a specialist, or with parents.
5. Grace App is designed for non-verbal
people and can be customized by the user. This App allows a person to
communicate by using visual imagery to construct sentences.
6. Model Me Going Places: Teaches the
child to learn to navigate various community locations that may be
challenging to special needs children. You have the ability to use
photo slideshows that mimic the expected behavior.
These Apps and websites work to augment and assist communication for
people with special needs. Children and non-verbal individuals may
benefit immensely from this technology, while forming important social
connections with their surroundings. Many of these Apps may in effect,
if used the way they were designed to be used, can have some significant
positive affects on the daily lives of special needs children.
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Please permit me to introduce you to a new children’s educational game for the iPad and iPhone:
Counting Beads is a totally fun way for children to learn numbers and letters of the alphabet. The numbers (or letters) appear as colored beads that you connect by dragging each bead into its next higher numbered bead. As you connect the beads in numbered order, you create a chain that follows the lead bead as you drag. This teaches the numbers visually. You can also move the bead chain by holding the device face-up parallel to the floor and tilting it slightly to let gravity roll the leading bead downhill. Even older folks can have fun with this amusing simple game.
A brief demo video of this app is available on UTube: