Guilt Free Apps for Special Needs

Guilt Free Apps for Special Needs | HSLDA Blog

Summer is a great time to relax, have fun AND ration electronic devices. That’s right, I said it. My kids love being outside, but once it’s 95 in the shade and they are tired of reading, they make a mad dash for their screens!

I’m going to admit that we have more than one of these devices per person in our house and they are often the pastime of choice around here! However, there’s only so much Lego Batman and YouTube Kids toy reviews I can allow before shame sets in. While the age of electronics is booming and so much of what we see is negative about it, I’d like to point out the positives! If your kids LOVE technology like mine and most of my friends, keep reading. This really could change the way you look at screen time!

Earlier this year I discovered the Lego StoryStarter and StoryVisualizer and that was a massive hit. We incorporated Legos and technology into our Language Arts and never looked back. (Click here to read about the Lego curriculum!) So now, I want to take the iPad (and other devices) a step further and use it as trickery- I mean, a tool!  I’ve found some apps that are beyond useful, affordable and best of all, will keep you from feeling guilty on those extra hot or ultra-rainy days when you hand over that oh-so-desired device! You know the saying…”all things in moderation”, right? After you check out these apps below, you just might have a slightly different perspective!

Speech Speech Tutor, Apraxia Ville,

Articulation Station

Reading Comprehension Voice Dream Reader

News-o-Matic, Reading Trainer

Executive Functioning Toca Nature

Time timer

Google Keep

Auditory Processing Leo’s Pad, Following Directions by Teach Speech Apps, The Storybuilder App
Focus & Attention Stop, Breathe, Think

Focus 45

Visual Discrepancies Pick Up Sticks

Look Again (Lite)

Dysgraphia Snap Type, Clicker Docs
Autism First Then Visual Schedule (FTVS), ChoiceWorks, Visual Routine, Autism Xpress, SOSH, Brain Pop
Print Disability Voice Dream Reader
Social Skills and Communication If, Social Skill Builder series
Fine Motor Skills Write My Name


Dyslexia Dyslexia toolbox, Learning Ally Audio
Nonverbal ProloQuo2Go, Talk Tablet, Talk assist
Memory Simon Says, Brain Jump Pro

Visual Attention TherAppy (Lite)

Sensory Processing Sensory Processing Therapy-Tool, Fluidity HD, Brain Works
Mental Health Breathing Bubbles, Breathe2Relax, MindShift
Behavioral iReward,

These are just a few of the incredible apps that exist for your favorite device and many of them assist in multiple areas of concern. If you want to go all out, you can even invest in a fun learning system such as the OSMO learning system for the iPad. The system uses a combination on manipulatives and free apps that will have them willingly sharpening their drawing, visual spatial, vocabulary, spelling, and fine motor skills!

Also, don’t underestimate the assistive features that are already on your current devices. For example, speech to text can be helpful for those with speech and articulation struggles, closed captioning for auditory processing, and text to speech to assist the visually impaired. You can even use guided access to lock a user in an app until the 4-digit passcode is entered. How handy is that?

By incorporating technology, these apps can help you and your student navigate learning struggles. Think of it as a way to sharpen the mind without dulling the excitement! In fact, you may end up with so many amazing apps that you need an app to manage them! (And yes, there’s even an app for that, it’s called Extensity!)

May your summer be full of ice cream and guilt free device time,


Photo Credit: Graphic Design by Charity Klicka.

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