The Best Apps for Kids with Special Needs While Remote Learning: Free, Paid and Subscription-Based
If your child with special needs will need a little extra help with remote learning, these 22 free, paid and subscription-based apps can help them gain independence, build important skills and grow their confidence from home.
If you and your child are looking for more remote learning resources, check out Free Resources and Subscriptions for Remote Learning and Home Schooling due to Coronavirus.
Free Apps for Kids with Special Needs
Vizzle is an online learning platform and app for students with special needs. Its library of 15,000+ lessons includes games and activities that collect your child’s data and instantly personalize their curriculum of concepts and skills. Vizzle’s highly-visual and game-like interface encourages lesson play and independent learning. One year of access usually costs $75, but due to COVID-19, your child can use Vizzle for free through August 1, 2020 to continue learning and reinforcing new skills from home.
Learning Ally is a non-profit education solutions organization that provides resources to students who struggle to learn and read due to a reading deficit. Because of COVID-19, Learning Ally is currently offering their Learning Ally Audiobook Solution to students and families at no cost through August 1, 2020. These human-read online audiobooks can help your child with dyslexia or other reading deficit grow their confidence and ability when reading independently.
SoundingBoard is a free app that lets your child turn their iPad or iPhone into a custom communication device. The app comes with preloaded pictures, sayings and boards, and it also lets individuals input and create their own personalized words and boards. Developed for children and adults on the autism spectrum or with other special needs, SoundingBoard is one of the best free AAC tools.
Paid Apps for Kids with Special Needs
ArtikPix is an articulation app with flashcard and matching activities that will especially benefit kids with speech-sound delays. Your child’s scores will be saved with their profile, and progress can be audio recorded and saved to your camera roll. The “b” deck of cards is available with the free download, and the additional 23 decks are available through in-app purchases at $2.99 per deck or $29.99 for all of them.
Easy Dyslexia Aid offers voice transcription in the OpenDyslexic font and customizable color overlays. The font was created to indicate direction and to reinforce the line of text, which aids students of all ages in recognizing letters correctly. For $4.49, the Easy Dyslexia Aid app can support children with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia while remote learning.
Proloquo2Go is a widely-used communication app for those who don’t speak or have trouble being understood. The app can be useful for individuals with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Angelman syndrome and other speech difficulties. The AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) tool is easy to use and contains a vocabulary of over 10,000 words and images. Although expensive at $249.99, Proloquo2Go is often recognized by teachers, parents and therapists as the gold standard in AAC solutions.
Developed by certified speech-language pathologists at Little Bee Speech, Articulation Station Pro uses 8 engaging activities to teach your child pronunciation and articulation. The customizable activities include matching games, flashcards, rotating phrases and more, and the app’s high-quality images and 22 comprehensive, 60-word sound programs really make it stand out! You and your child can try Articulation Station’s free app before downloading Articulation Station Pro for $59.99.
Autism Core Skills will teach your child, preschool through first grade, academic and social skills from colors and shapes to sharing and following rules. Themes like trains, animals and sports will keep your young learner engaged, and all lessons’ difficulty levels can be adjusted to ensure your child is learning at the right pace. Data from your child’s lessons is processed in easily-understandable graphs and charts. A basic, one-student account costs $4.99 and will also give you access to Autism Core Skills’ additional printable curriculum.
Touch and Learn: Emotions helps kids with special needs read and understand body language and emotions. The app has 100+ photos to introduce new concepts and emotions at a pace that’s customizable to your child. The Touch and Learn interface is simple, fun and easy to use. If recognizing emotions is tough for your child with special needs, Touch and Learn: Emotions is an effective and accessible tool for only $1.99.
Choiceworks can help foster your child’s independence and positive behavior at home. Created with the help of leading hospitals and child development specialists, Choiceworks is a tool to help your child complete daily routines, understand their emotions and improve their waiting skills. The app utilizes 4 boards (Schedule, Waiting, Feelings and Feelings Scale) and 180 images, which allow for “limitless customizability” to best support your child with special needs; it costs $14.99 in the app store.
The Zones of Regulation app will help your child learn to regulate their behaviors, understand their emotions, manage their level of alertness and increase their self-control and problem-solving skills. The app, geared toward elementary and high school students, encourages users to reflect on how their body feels during different situations, helping them gain insight into the cues that accompany each emotion. Users can then conceptualize how they’re feeling by sorting their emotions into four color-coded “zones.” The Zones of Regulation is available for $9.99 in the app store.
Dexteria Dots introduces a new approach to numbers and math. Children ages 2 to 8 can discover a deeper understanding of fundamental math skills like addition, subtraction and number sense through intuitive touch, visual memory, visual tracking and fine motor skills. All levels of the game will encourage your child through fun sounds, visuals and rewards. The app can be purchased on the app store for $2.99.
The Social Adventures app teaches social skills and friendship to kids ages 3 to 13 with autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, NLD, sensory processing disorders and social anxiety. The app has over 80 activities, with clear step-by-step instructions, can be used to facilitate interaction and roleplay in classrooms, on playdates or within your family. Social Adventures’ engaging multi-disciplinary, multi-sensory approach to social skill mastery can be downloaded from the app store for $7.99.
This app uses over 500 high-quality, hand-picked images to teach 100+ emotions to children who find it difficult to read facial expressions and identify feelings. The pace, presentation and content of the game are all easily customizable. ABA Flash Cards and Games is a multi-sensory tool that uses images, words and audio to keep your child engaged and having fun; it is available for $0.99 in the app store.
The How Do You Know? app will strengthen your child’s communication and verbal reasoning skills; it was created by Lynn Epstein, a certified speech-language pathologist with over 30 years of clinical experience working with kids with special needs. Users can explore 10 categories (like animals, weather and holidays) and over 500 “who,” “what,” “where,” “when” and “how” questions. Your child will be encouraged to make inferences, identify key details and expand their vocabulary. Download How Do You Know? for $4.99.
The Mood Meter is easy to use and will help your child identify and address their emotions throughout the day. The Mood Meter can also help your child expand their emotional vocabulary and recognize patterns in the way they feel. In addition, the app offers helpful and effective strategies for managing emotions. The Mood Meter can be purchased in the app store for $0.99.
Special Words is a speech and language development app that will adapt to every child’s individual needs and abilities. The active and engaging learning experience offers games that include audio, images and words to increase vocabulary, develop listening and speaking skills, improve hand-eye coordination and more. The Special Words app, developed for students with Down syndrome, ASD and other special needs, has a one-time cost of $19.99.
Subscription-Based Apps for Kids with Special Needs
Speech Blubs is a language therapy app for kids with special needs ages 1 to 8. The voice-controlled app uses over 1,500 activities designed to help your child learn new sounds and words and practice speaking. Speech Blubs’ scientifically-proven techniques trigger sound and word production in toddlers and late talkers as well as children with apraxia of speech, autism, Down syndrome, ADHD and sensory processing disorder. The app offers a 7-day free trial, after which the monthly subscription costs as low as $4.99 per month.
Otsimo: Special Education, lauded by parents, teachers and psychologists, is a certified and widely-awarded free education app for kids with special needs; it’s designed specifically for students with learning disorders, attention deficit, autism, Down syndrome, Aspergers and other special needs. The app’s many games are shaped individually to users’ mental development and use Applied Behavior Analysis, a trusted early intensive behavioral therapy technique, to teach fundamental education about core skills. The app is free, but more content can be unlocked with a premium upgrade; the monthly subscription costs $20.99.
The Otsimo: Speech Therapy app has a huge range of assistive games created under the guidance of speech-language pathologists and therapy experts that can help improve your child’s fundamental speech and communication skills. The app aims to aid learners with speech delays, stuttering, apraxia, non-verbal autism, articulation problems, ADHD with speech impediments and aphasia. Each game rewards the player with funny masks and stickers to keep them engaged and motivated! Otsimo: Speech Therapy offers a 7-day free trial after which a subscription costs $6.99 per month.
DayCape is a visual schedule that supports children with autism and other special needs diagnoses. The app’s simple displays of images and visual time will show your child what tasks need to be done throughout the day, like going to school, playtime and more. The app also offers notifications to gently remind your child of an activity and Moodshare to help them communicate how they feel about the activity. A child account is free, but parent planning access costs $11.50 per month after a 30-day free trial.
Dyslexia Gold provides a fun, unique and effective platform for your child to improve their skills in reading, spelling and time tables. Dyslexia Gold’s most popular full-program bundle includes four programs: Engaging Eyes, Fluency Builder, Spelling Tutor and Times Table Tutor. The subscription costs $32 per month. You also have the option to purchase a dyslexia screening test for an additional $15. Dyslexia Gold’s results-proven methods will improve your child’s reading by 1 year in just 3 months.