5 iPad Apps for Every Learner

It’s the newest trend. It seems almost every school is working towards going 1 to 1 with iPads. As a student at Burlington High School, one of the first schools to make the switch to paperless style learning, I know first hand the benefits that has c0me from it. But is learning through iPads beneficial for every learner?

It can be! It doesn’t take much digging to find tons of awesome iPad apps designed for children with special needs, especially autism. Awesome websites like bestappsforkids.com have featured pages specifically for children with disabilities and suggest apps like Skill Champ, Key Word Kids, Gro Garden, Sound Touch, and The Boy Who Cried Wolf VL2 Storybook. The Washington Post also lists an enormous list of specific apps that assist with development in children with a variety of disabilities including speech, writing, reading and many more but the problem is each one of them cost money and many are almost $30.

Below I have compiled a list of what I think are the best FREE iPad apps for children in preschool through third grade with disabilities. This list focuses mainly on autism and building social skills as well as children with low fine motor skills, but the skills acquired from these apps can be beneficial to a wide variety of students, with and without disabilities.

1. Storysmart

There are six different apps under the generalized name of “Storysmart” apps. Each one presents a different story about children navigating their world. The stories include settings at home, school, work, vacation, teams and groups. The stories have a primary character and the app uses has to modify different parts of the story to understand the way that a person (the primary character) will react when they encounter an unexpected situation. Storysmart claims that “by requiring the user to focus on details of the story and its contextual cues, the user builds an awareness of social expectations.” This app is excellent for children with autism because it encourages social skills.

For more information on Storysmart click the link here or watch this video embedded below.

2. The Social Express II

The Social Express II is an app designed to assist people in making friends. It is an engaging and educational app for children as well as young adults who struggle with social learning challenges. The app is designed to teach users how to react to, think about and manage social situations which according to The Social Express “helps them to develop meaningful social relationships and succeed in life. Similarly to Storysmart, this app is great for kids who have autism because it encourages social skills.

For more information on The Social Express II click the link here or watch this video embedded below.

3. Touch & Say

Touch and Say is an app that was created for the purpose of early development in children. There are six activities that Touch and Say offer to practice basic social skills. These skills include verbalization, emotion recognition, color recognition, following directives, directed gaze, saying the alphabet, and counting. Some of these seem very basic but skills such as verbalization and emotion recognition can be incredibly helpful for children with disabilities that affect their social skills.

For more information on Touch and Say click the link here.

4. Social Stories Creator 

Social Stories Creator is an app that allows you to easily create and share social stories. The features of this app include the ability to easily create stories with pictures, recordings and text, as well as share and receive created stories with other users. Stories can be made in any language and there is an option to download pre-made social stories for a variety of skills. You do not need internet connection for this app to work and the format is super easy to use. Their website reads, “Social stories are an important type of visual support often used with children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome or other special need. The social stories found in this app use simple text and descriptive pictures to explain the why and how of different social skills.”

For more information on The Social Express II click the link here or watch this video embedded below.

5. Dexteria (also Dexteria Dots and Dexteria Jr. – Fine Motor Skill Development for Toddlers & Preschoolers)

Dexteria is an app containing sets of therapeutic hand exercises that are supposed to assist in improving fine motor skills and handwriting readiness in children and adults. According to Dexteria, “the exercises take advantage of the multi-touch interface to help build strength, control, and dexterity.” Apps like Dexteria are useful for children that have weak fine motor skills to help them develop those skills through pinching motions of the fingers and other similar fine motor motions.

For more information on Dexteria click the link here or watch this video embedded below.

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About cathoyt

This is my blog for the Burlington High School student-run help desk! I'm excited to being posting on here frequently and creating and posting things that are innovative and helpful!
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