Apps to Support Children with Special Educational Needs (SEND)
Toys, apps and play in general can be particularly important in helping children with special needs to develop and to help them to level the playing field with other children. But finding the appropriate opportunities can be difficult.
Here are some apps (from our Good App Guide) that we think are particularly good for SEND children.
This is an app aimed at children with a range of special needs, from communication problems to poor fine motor skills. Users have to match the animals on the screen in a range of different activities; it includes oral reinforcement of the animal’s names when the children locate the pairs. The settings can be adjusted to meet the needs of the individual child.
This app focuses on helping children read body language and understand emotions. They have to look at the pictures and work out which person is expressing a given emotion. It is easy to customise (including replacing the voiceover with a familiar voice).
An app that makes it easy to create ‘stories’ containing text, pictures and sound. Once created, users can read them; listen to them; print them and share them with friends and family. It was designed with children with specific learning difficulties in mind.
A range of settings allows you to configure the app and adjust it as your child develops. For those who are unable to use a touch screen, but who can operate assistive switches, the app can be used with 1 or 2 Bluetooth-connected switches.
This app aims to encourage speaking; increase sight word vocabulary and develop fine motor skills. It can be personalised with familiar words, photos and audio – content can be transferred between this and Special Stories.
This app supports counting and sequences of numbers 0-20. Numbers are clearly spoken and displayed as digits and objects. It has been specifically designed for SEND; it uses a clear and uncluttered design for children who can become overwhelmed, over stimulated or easily distracted.
The app can be completely personalised to suit the individual child’s needs.
An app that introduces three animals and an array of emotions: zany zebra, shy sheep and jolly giraffe. Children explore what they can do with the range of objects – dressing up, feeding, sharing toys or interacting. Children can observe the emotions shown by the animals as they interact with the props and explore feelings in an open-ended free style playroom.
Dyslexia Quest is a single player app that has been developed, researched and tested at the Bristol Dyslexia Centre. It assesses working memory, phonological awareness, processing speed, visual memory, auditory memory and sequencing skills.
When it comes to apps, there are lots out there but they are not necessarily tailored to the needs of a child with SEND. Some children may find the animations distracting, others may find adverts annoying – these, and any other personal preferences, need to be taken into consideration when choosing an app for your child.
Tags: apps, dyslexia, learning, Reading, SEND, Special needs, writing
This post was written by Claire Gillies