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People have become increasingly dependent on technology, and some benefits exist, especially concerning children with special needs.

Special education apps are useful tools both in a classroom setting and at home. One struggle many children with special needs have is the inability to communicate their needs, wants, and feelings. Using apps can help students with communication delays by helping improve their communication skills or talking for them.

These apps can help children with disabilities and special needs learn things they may not pick up on in a regular classroom or day-to-day learning, and many of these apps can be downloaded for free. Here are some of the best special education apps for free.

Education resources

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Grade 5 Math Review | Numberless Problems | Interactive Digital

Grade 5 Math Review | Numberless Problems | Interactive Digital

$3.00
EDITABLE Back to School Forms: Student Information & Parent Contact Sheets

EDITABLE Back to School Forms: Student Information & Parent Contact Sheets

$2.00
R Controlled Vowel Games with ar, er, or and air

R Controlled Vowel Games with ar, er, or and air

$4.50
All About Me

All About Me

$4.00 $5.00
Holiday Speech and Language Game PowerPoint Game Show

Holiday Speech and Language Game PowerPoint Game Show

$4.00
Christmas Middle School Vocabulary Activities (Grade 7)

Christmas Middle School Vocabulary Activities (Grade 7)

$1.25
Reading Strategies Bookmarks

Reading Strategies Bookmarks

$5.00
Thanksgiving Reading & Math Activities Printables- SPED & Autism Resources

Thanksgiving Reading & Math Activities Printables- SPED & Autism Resources

$4.50
Alphabet Chase

Alphabet Chase

$10.00

Basic Skills

The following learning disability apps help teach children the necessary skills, from social cues to emotions. Whether they have a speech impairment or not, many children with special needs struggle with social skills, and sometimes basic things are hard to grasp. But they need to develop the coping, emotional, and social skills if they are going to develop healthy friendships and relationships. These apps can help reinforce emotional regulation and communication skills to help special-needs students build relationships.

Otismo Special Education ABA

The Osmo special education ABA app is developed for people diagnosed with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, Aspergers, Down syndrome, and other special needs. Parents, psychologists, and special education teachers aided in creating this app. The games within the app teach core skills such as words, letters, numbers, emotions, colors, animals, matching, drawing, ordering, and sound games. There is also a premium version of this app, which does come with a subscription cost.

Build it up – ADHD and Autism

The Build it Up app helps individuals to develop excellent motor and visual perception skills. It also teaches primary math concepts. The goal of each game in the app is to assemble parts to create an image.

See Touch Learn

This app is a visual instruction tool for students with autism and other special needs. Professionals developed over 4,000 pictures and 2,000 exercises in the app. Custom lessons can be created using the starter library.

Autism Emotion

The Autism Emotion app uses music and photo slideshows to teach emotions like happiness, sadness, pride, and calm. The app is narrated in English, the photos have descriptive text, and a music therapist developed the music on the app.

Autism iHelp Play

Autism iHelp teaches vocabulary skills. It was developed by a speech-language pathologist and the parents of a child who has Autism. The app has real-world photos rather than illustrations since children with Autism are visual learners. The photos are also broken down into subgroups so as not to overstimulate or overwhelm the child. Labels are included with the photos but can be turned off. The images can be presented at random or not to aid in memorization and also concrete learning. There is both a male and female voice option for the audio. The app also includes two learning enrichment activities presented in the game format.

Reading and literacy skills

Flashcards for Kids- First Food Words

Flashcards help children learn, but children with special needs may need specific accommodations. These iPad and iPhone-friendly flashcards teach students essential words to identify food. Parents and teachers can create the cards and even record themselves saying the words.

The Sounding Out Machine

This app helps learners who have trouble with decoding. The app sounds out hard words and demonstrates the correct pronunciation syllable by syllable. This is similar to a teacher or aide sitting beside the student, listening, prompting, and correcting them when needed. Still, it is useful, especially when several students need assistance simultaneously. Students can take a picture of the page they are reading in a book, and the app will help them decode it. Or if they get stuck on a word, they can type it in, and the app will assist the student.

Math skills

Montessori Numbers

This app helps students who struggle with the relationship between quantities and numbers. It helps improve basic math skills and enforces numeric order, counting to 1,000, the decimal system, comparing quantities, addition, and subtracting. It also pronounces numbers to help with memorization.

Why these apps are important

If chosen purposefully, apps can be useful in aiding with achievement and developmental gaps. Even apps not designed to be special needs but created for young learners like toddlers and preschoolers can benefit special needs students. The best way to determine which apps will help students is to look for apps that will provide strengths where the students have challenges. For children who have autism or are nonverbal, several apps that teach different skills will be helpful. For students with specific disabilities, focus on apps that meet their individual needs.

Using free special education apps with children with special needs or disabilities can also be fun. They will be excited to use the apps because they will get to play games, but mainly they will be learning and building skills. Any child would be more excited to learn new things by playing games and using technology rather than through traditional learning methods and classroom instruction.

These apps can also be useful at home. They can help reinforce what the student is learning at school, but also, while the student is learning by using the apps, the parent or caregiver can get a break.