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An abrupt move to home-based learning is especially hard for students with special needs--but these resources may help ease the transition, like this finger on a smartphone app

5 learning apps for students with special needs


These apps for students with special needs can help them build and maintain important skills in the wake of COVID learning loss.

Millions of students transitioned to online and hybrid learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. While that transition was relatively easy for some students, many–including students with special needs–found it difficult or impossible to access in-school services and therapies.

While many schools returned to full in-person learning or hybrid learning, COVID-related learning loss is still a concern. There are a number of apps and online tools that can help parents and caregivers of students with special needs fill the gaps as much as possible during the summer months.

These apps can be especially helpful for parents looking for easy-to-access resources even after in-person learning resumes in the fall.

1. Skill Champ uses a child’s interests to teach new skills. Quickly customize lessons with a favorite theme, such as using sailboats to teach numbers or train signs to teach colors. Skill Champ covers a range of early academic skills: Picture Matching, Letters, Numbers, Colors, Put In, 1:1 Put On, Big & Little, Happy & Sad, A/B Patterns, and Shape Puzzles. Every Skill Champ lesson is based on best-practice autism strategies and includes a printable curriculum so that children can practice the skills on and off the iPad.

2. Dyslexic students use Omoguru for fluency practice in an enjoyable way. The app supports school and independent reading needs of every dyslexic student ages 10 – 16 but also works great for adults. What’s the secret? Visually comfortable font system and tools designed to make the text more readable. Research proves it reduces reading time, mistakes, and mental effort.

3. The Writing Machine is designed to start introducing your child to these pre-literacy concepts of print, text, reading and writing. The Writing Machine starts this process by introducing how one picture and one word go together. From this foundation, your child will begin to understand additional pre-literacy concepts including how to read text from left to right and to tell words from letters.

4. Autism iHelp is a teaching aid developed by parents of a child with Autism and a speech-language pathologist. Autism iHelp was inspired by the need for specific language intervention tools for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder focusing on their unique strengths and difficulty with expressive vocabulary.

5. TapTapSee is a mobile camera application designed specifically for blind and visually impaired users, powered by the CloudSight Image Recognition API. TapTapSee utilizes your device’s camera and VoiceOver functions to take a picture or video of anything and identify it out loud for you.

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Laura Ascione

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