Sunday, November 3, 2013

Featured App: Special Numbers and Words - customizable apps for special needs

Whether a child needs practice with words or numbers, Special iApps has an app to help.  Special Numbers and Special Words are both apps that were made with our All Stars in mind. These apps are made with a simple interface that is easily accessible and engaging for kids with disabilities. These apps also support a variety of languages for the individual activities. 

If you would like to purchase these apps, please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by using our links:

 Special Numbers ($19.99, iPad/iPhone)

Special Words ($19.99, iPad/iPhone)

External links to the app stores for other apps from Special iApp.  There are many screens to get through to find these external links though.

Special Words and Special Numbers each provide a range of customizable options and basic skills practice.  In my opinion, the $19.99 price for each is a high price for the amount of content available, but the skill set and customization options may be perfect for certain children.

Special Numbers has a variety of activities to choose from that will help with early number skills. The activities include counting, matching numbers, ordering numbers, same or different, how many, and into the box.

In each activity, the numbers to focus on can be chosen. The app allows the use of one through 20 on each activity, and the user can choose the beginning and ending number for each activity. If a child needs to focus on 11-20, for example, just select those numbers. The user can also determine if the numbers should be in order or mixed.

The app also allows the customization of the types of objects it shows to help engage the child.  Does the child like animals or would they rather look at bugs?  Flowers or pencils?

Any app designed for individuals with special needs should have a lot of customization because children's needs are very different. This app definitely meets that criteria. The sound, rewards, fonts, backgrounds, and even instructions can be customized to meet the needs of anyone playing it. Different profiles can be set up for different users also, so those settings do not have to be constantly reset.

From iTunes:
Special Numbers contains a set of activities to help develop early number skills, including counting, matching, ordering, comparing and selecting. We have designed the app in collaboration with parents, children, teachers and educational psychologists, and with reference to research into how children acquire mathematics skills.

All the activities are intended to be accessible and hold the attention of children with learning difficulties including Down syndrome, autism, poor fine motor skills and hearing impairment, as well as being appealing to typically developing children. Special Numbers is suitable for use at home, at school, in nursery or kindergarten, and in therapy sessions.

There is no set order to the activities in this app, and each activity is highly configurable, so you can address a particular skill at the child’s level whenever you want, and continue to use the app as their abilities develop. Settings you can change include:

• Range of numbers (between 0 and 20, depending on activity)
• Objects to use (digits, words, balls, animals, clocks and dominoes)
• Fonts (including our own font with easy-to-read digits and letters)
• When and where to use the built in sounds
• Speed of animations (to adjust the pace of the activities)

Special Numbers includes some pictures from the See and Learn Language and Reading resources published by Down Syndrome Education International. These will be familiar to children who have used the paper-based See and Learn activities, or our Special Words app (which also uses these pictures).

This is a universal app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. This version supports English (both American and British), French, Spanish and Catalan: we plan to add more languages in future versions. By using profiles, you can replace sounds and text with your own recordings and words in any language, have different settings for each child, and transfer customizations between devices. A detailed User Guide is available on our website at


 Special Words is an app with simple activities to help children recognize words, both spoken and written. The user can choose between four different activities: Match Pictures, Match Words, Word to Picture, and Picture to Word. In all of these activities, four answer options are presented to choose from. The child will drag the picture or word from the middle to set on top of the matching answer.

This app is also customizable in many ways. The word list can be changed by the user, including adding words with picture and sound.  The animation speed, sound and rewards can all be changed. Switches can be set up to use with Special Words also.

From iTunes:
Special Words teaches children to recognize written and spoken words, and encourages their speech development, using pictures and sounds. Play alongside your child at a pace suited to their ability. A range of settings allows you to configure the app and adjust as your child develops.

• Suitable for use at home, preschool, school, and in therapy sessions
• 4 games matching pictures, words, words to pictures and pictures to words
• Personalize by reordering, deleting and adding your own words, pictures and audio
• Settings options include shuffling cards, controlling use of audio, editing and rewards
• Synchronize to your other Apple mobile devices and between home and school
• Transfer resources to and from our Special Stories app

BridgingApps said: “an excellent app for assisting young children in developing very beginning reading skills and preschool/school-age children in learning sight words”.

An interactive app that allows children to learn at their own pace, Special Words has 4 games with increasing difficulty, and has been designed in close consultation with parents, children and professionals. With a simple and intuitive interface, this app 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 assistive switches, the app can be used with 1 or 2 Bluetooth-connected switches.

Special Words comes with 96 written words children use in their early vocabulary. It includes matching pictures, written and spoken words, in 19 languages: English (American, British and Australian), Albanian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Norwegian (Bokmål), Spanish, Swedish, Turkish 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.

A 12-week trial in schools has demonstrated that Special Words can enhance communication, language and literacy skills, and has shown that it has a positive impact on the development of expressive language, receptive language, word recognition, reading and listening skills. To read the trial report from the Durham iPad Project, or to read the Special Words User Guide, visit the Special iApps website,

Heather S. practiced Spanish words and numbers while trying out this app.  Smart Apps for Special Needs received promo codes in exchange for this sponsored post.

No comments:

Post a Comment