Innovation in learning seemingly brings about hundreds, if not thousands, of new apps and tools every year. Wading through the massive quantity of everything that’s being created to help with learning and development can be an overwhelming and time-consuming process. To lend a hand, we’ve gathered a list of the top apps and items that we think would be ideal to add to your or your students’ devices and learning environments in 2018.
- Articulation Station (by Little Bee Speech) – This robust speech app was created by a certified speech language pathologist for parents, SLPs and other educators to help children with speech sound delays. It’s a comprehensive articulation program that offers practice at the word, sentence and story levels for 22 sounds in the English language. The app includes six activities to help learners, including flashcards, matching games, sentences and short stories. Price: This app is priced by the letter and amount of content each letter contains. For example, “R” has more content than “Y” so the cost is $7.99 vs. $1.99. If a child has difficulty with only a few letters, parents can purchase those individually rather than springing for the entire package. Educators who purchase the entire package receive an 18% discount, making the total cost around $70.
- Dyslexie Font (by Dyslexie Font) – While it’s been around for several years, many educators and parents are still unfamiliar with this extraordinary font. Created by a Dutch graphic designer who has dyslexia, Dyslexie’s unique character shapes and spacing enable dyslexic users to more successfully navigate the letter jungle. Available for Mac and Windows desktops. Price for parents: Font – Free; Typeface collection, Text Editor (for converting PDFs and Word documents), Google Chrome extension – $4.99/yr. Price for educators (typeface, Text Editor, and Google Chrome Extension): Ranges from $43.95 to $749.95, depending on number of students.
- Meditation for Kids (by Wellbeyond, Inc.) – Author Anne Lamott once said in a TED talk that, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Meditation is an important tool kids can use to reduce anxiety and enhance focus. The app comes with five free guided meditations for sleep, focus, feelings, kindness and centering. Nine additional meditations are available via in-app purchase. Available for iOS only. Price: Free; In-app purchases $2.99.
- Proloquo2Go (by AssistiveWare) – An app created especially for students who don’t speak or have difficulty speaking, Proloquo2Go is designed for users who have autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, developmental disabilities, apraxia, or other conditions resulting in the student being non-verbal. Its 25,000 symbols (or use your own photos) enable users to communicate with ease. This is one of the more expensive apps, but it’s feature rich, making the expense quite reasonable. The highly customizable app grows as the student’s communication abilities improve, and its unique folder system enables teachers and therapists to use the app with multiple students and share across devices. Available for iOS only. Price: $249.
- Qball – This soft, throwable microphone ball can keep kids engaged and focused by helping to manage classroom conversations. Just like the Talking Stick, if you hold the Qball, you hold the floor. Qball helps ensure that everyone can be heard clearly, especially students who tend to be shy or soft-spoken. It can also help students who have auditory difficulties more easily hear what their classmates are saying. The Qball works with most classroom audio systems and can also connect to Bluetooth speakers. Price: $179
- Speech Blubs (by Blub Blub, Inc.) – Developed by a team of parents, digital experts, and speech therapists, Speech Blubs is designed to help toddlers; late talkers; children with apraxia, autism, Down Syndrome, ADHD and SPD with sounds and words. This language therapy app has Snapchat-like features to engage students without over stimulation. The user watches videos of kids just like him or her (more than 600 available) that encourage them to mimic the model child’s speech patterns. Funny selfie filters and a rewards system provide gamification to keep kids motivated. Available for iOS only. Price: Free 7-day trial; $9.99/mo. subscription for parents. Free for speech therapists after verification.
- Tantrum Tracker (by Scott Grant) – This feature-rich app was designed to make tracking outbursts of children on the autism spectrum, those with ADD or ADHD, or any child with behavior control issues, easier for parents, educators and therapists. Users can enter causes of a tantrum, the location, severity, and mitigating factors. Tantrum Tracker integrates with the iPhone camera enabling caretakers to photograph or record video to share with parents or therapists. Available for iOS only. Price: $2.99
- Time Timer (by Time Timer, LLC) – For students who learn differently, the abstract thinking required to determine passage of time can be quite difficult, often resulting in a high level of anxiety. The Time Timer app displays time not with a clock, but by using a simple, disappearing red disk. This powerful tool for visual thinkers can aid in helping students judge when five minutes is up or better understand phrases such as, “we'll finish this task in 30 minutes.” Available for iOS and Android devices, as well as Mac and Windows desktops. Price: $2.99 - $19.95
Narrowing down the field of tools available to help kids who need it can be a daunting task. We hope our list will be of great benefit to parents as well as educators and therapists tasked with working on student IEPs. For additional educator-certified or recommended apps, check out the Teachers with Apps and Autism Pedagogy websites.
If you’re interested in saving time on your IEP process, contact us today for a demo of our EmbraceIEP software solution.
Note: We are not endorsing any of these products, nor do we receive any compensation (affiliate or otherwise) from these companies.