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8 Great Apps For Kids With Special Needs


Kids living with special needs are diverse just like other kids their age, and there are many educational apps that can help them with their needs. Here are eight of the best ones, and they’re all free. So, if you’re a parent or caregiver of kids who have special needs, have them check these apps out, and then, download the ones that are the most useful and fun.

ChatterPix Kids
(Available in Apple App Store; Google Play)

This app is great for kids who need help practicing their oral communication skills. They can either upload or take a picture of themselves, draw a mouth, and then record anything they want to say. It’s particularly useful if you’re having a difficult conversation at home and your kids find it easier to express their views through an avatar rather than directly to you. It can also be useful in school if your kids require extra time composing an answer to a teacher’s question. They can record and re-record their response until they get it just the way they want it.

Coach.me
(Available in Apple App Store; Google Play)

Drawing on the latest psychological and behavioral research, this is a great app that shares that a key to achieving your goals is to develop good, consistent habits. Users can decide which habits they would like to develop, track those habits over time, receive reminders, and then get positive feedback (high-fives) when they reach their goals. Depending on their age and maturity, your kids can either use this app on their own or with a little help from you.

Emotionary
(Available in Apple App Store; Google Play)

If you want to help your kids better understand other people’s emotions, the best thing you can do is help them better understand their own. This app has more than 100 short, dictionary-style definitions of common emotions, each accompanied by an emoticon. This helps kids develop a rich vocabulary for expressing their emotions, and it teaches them coping skills so that they don’t become overwhelmed by their emotions. They can create their own emoticons for emotions they think aren’t included in the app but are really important to them.

iOT Session
(Available in Apple App Store)

Created by occupational therapist, Dr. Frederick Covington, this app features kid-friendly, game-like exercises aimed at improving visual perception, tracking, and coordination. It also improves fine motor skills, especially kids’ abilities to create proper letters. The app is used by occupational therapists everywhere, but your kids can use it too, either on their own or with your help, to track their progress over time.

MindShift CBT
(Available in Apple App Store; Google Play)

Based on cognitive behavioral therapy, which is widely used, this app teaches kids how to deal with different anxiety-provoking situations like conflicts, social situations, and tests. It features tools that help users relax, practice mindfulness, and re-orient their thoughts. It has audio recordings with guided meditations, a journal for users to record thoughts that make them the most anxious, and general tips for managing anxiety.

Model Me Going Places 2
(Available in Apple App Store)

This social skills app teaches kids how to interact with different kinds of people that they encounter in their daily lives, such as grocery store clerks, hairdressers, doctors, and restaurant waiters. It has 12-photo slideshows that model kids engaging in appropriate behaviors with people in different settings.

My Little Suitcase
(Available in Apple App Store)

This game-like app, which can be played by up to four people, enhances kids’ abilities to memorize and match items. Similar to the popular card game, Memory, each player has a suitcase with six different items represented on a small card that is faced down. Players take turns turning the cards over. If the card is theirs, they put it in their suitcase. If not, it’s the next player’s turn. Aside from improving their working memory and retention skills, they learn how to focus, categorize, and engage in proper turn-taking. It’s a great game for the whole family to enjoy.

Unstuck
(Available in Apple App Store; Google Play)

This award-winning app helps users identify strategies when they’re stuck while also trying to reach a specific goal. Kids are asked to explain how they’re stuck, how they feel about it, and how strong those feelings are. The app then generates possible solutions to the problem they’re experiencing. Its biggest educational value, however, is letting kids put words to their feelings and showing them that they’re not alone in feeling the way they do. ■

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28 Jun 2019


By Tanni Haas, Ph.D.

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