Digital Tools for Special Needs Children

Let’s get digital

I feel we live in a technological world.  Everyone is striving for the latest iPhone, best laptop or iPad, even apps seem competitive.  Unfortunately, the digital world isn’t slowing down.  A two-year-old probably knows how to navigate the latest iPad better than me.

So I thought today I’d share a summary of an article I read in Autism Parenting Magazine.  Of course, it talked about cool digital tools for special needs children.

  1. Flash to Pass (Math): This is a flashcard app that allows users to practice math skills. This is a good app for ASD children because it is free of distractions and additional sensory stimuli.
  2. My Play Home (social interaction): Essentially, this is a digital dollhouse where a child can use every item: light switches, faucets, cookers, etc. It’s very engaging for children of various ages to explore the environment and develop fine motor skills.
  3. Learn with Rufus (emotions): Helps with the recognition of facial expressions, which often is an issue for children on the spectrum. Friendly, animated, robotic puppy Rufus introduces an array of emotions, as well as exercises to learn them.
  4. Stories2Learn (social interaction): This application is used for creating personalized stories for your students to teach them reciprocal play, taking turns, playground and school rules, non-verbal communication, and other social skills. It’s also great for creating visual schedules.
  5. Book Creator (comprehension): This tool is versatile and suitable for students of all ages and abilities. You can create any story in order to convey your lesson plan, adding pictures from inside the app, found on the web, or those of your own. What is more important, this is the tool of creative expression for children—creating stories from their own photos, sounds, recorded audio, and text make it easier for them to tell about their concerns and difficulties.
  6. Pumpic (Monitoring): Pumpic has a GPS-tracking and geo-fencing feature to help locate a stray child, but what is more important, it monitors his/her online activities so that caregivers can be aware of any risky behaviors, cyberbullying, or other disturbing developments.
  7. Grace (communication): Grace is a communication tool for nonverbal children. It can be very helpful for people with special needs who struggle with language and spoken communication. Within the app, they are able to create visual sentences to communicate their needs.  It also can be used to promote verbal skills.
  8. Word SLapPs (verbal skills / vocabulary): This application is a flashcard tool to learn the words that are specific to your student’s world. You provide the pictures and name them, which is particularly good for learning the names of family, friends, and other important people in the child’s life, or the things that surround him/her in class. Your learner hears the audio or sees the word and must identify the object among a number of pictures, which is very good for building and exercising vocabulary.
  9. What’s the Word (verbal skills / vocabulary): This free app shows pictures, and the goal is to choose the right word that describes all four of them. This is a funny and engaging way to broaden vocabulary.
  10. Super Why (reading / comprehension): There are a number of activities with words and letters, as well as colorful stories with recurring, cute characters. To finish each story, a reader needs to choose the right words.

These days, there are so many digital options that as parents we must be careful with which digital tools we pick for our kiddos.  If you’d like to share a digital tool/app please comment below.

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