Best Special Needs Apps [Updated for 2020]

Help special needs children learn specific skills and reach new goals

We Reviewed Dozens Of The Best Special Needs Apps So You Don’t Have To. Here Are Our Top Picks.

Whether anyone has “diagnosed” them or not, many students have trouble with learning or social skills. And some teachers are a whole lot better than others when it comes to helping parents know how to help. There’s so much to learn, and so many crazy (and expensive) claims from programs that it can be hard to sort through them all.

Finding apps that meet your student’s learning challenges can be nearly as difficult as school, but these app developers have really come through for students, parents and teachers.  This selection of recommended apps will help with communication, organization, social skills, reading problems, and much more.

Voice Dream Reader

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Voice Dream Reader

Voice Dream Reader is more than a text-to-speech app. In addition to reading many types of digital files, it includes some outstanding features that make it incredibly useful to individuals with reading disabilities, those with visual impairments, and people who are learning to read.

This app costs $14.99 and includes in-app purchase options to change the voice and accent of the narrator. Voice Dream Reader is flexible enough to be useful for struggling readers, persons with visual impairments, and many other situations. It also can be used with many common applications such as Dropbox and Google Docs.


Avaz Lite- ACC App for Autism

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Avaz for Autism is an assisted communication system designed to help persons of all ages and abilities with basic and advanced communication needs. The app offers thousands of symbols organized into categories and subcategories, the option to type words, phrases and sentences, and the ability to add personalized symbols, pictures, sequences and to arrange them for quick access.

The app is free to download, and includes some nice communication tools to try out for one week. After that, a monthly subscription is $9.99, an annual one is $99.99, and a lifetime option is $199.99.  You’ll want to take full advantage of the week long trial period-the app has tutorials and other information that you’ll need to take a look at.

Week Planner for Kids

iOS App Store

Help your child with special needs keep track of his or her schedule and planned events with this great app. Kids often benefit from the structure of knowing what’s coming next, so consider an app like this one to make it easy for them to plan.

Week Planner for Kids is an icon-driven system for keeping track of dates, the weather, daily and special events. Users see a colorful screen divided into seven days with room for six events on each day as well as a spot to note the daily weather forecast. Icons are paired with distinctive sounds that activate when touched. The app costs $1.99 and has in-app purchase options for kits to make it easier to mark holidays and travel plans for ninety-nine cents each.

Social Stories Creator & Library

iOS App Store

Social stories, bits of realistic fiction specially designed to help children with autism and other sorts of social skills impairment to learn about appropriate interaction and responses to everyday situations, are a great tool to help teach kids about life’s complications. They can be used to help kids understand others’ emotions, body language, and expectations in a wide array of settings.

Social Stories Creator and Library is free to download and offers one free story and numerous others that can be purchased to help children learn to navigate social hurdles. Adults can easily create personalized stories to share, as well. The app has capabilities such as sharing, printing to PDF, and more that make it an ideal tool for many different settings.

Thinking Time Pro-Cognitive Skill Training

iOS App Store

Thinking Time Pro offers a host of games and activities aimed at helping young children develop many executive function skills- the skills that form the foundation for success in school and in life. Skills like working memory and impulse control are critical to being able to benefit from the school experience, and we all need to have them. This app will help teach them to young children.

It costs $4.99 and the games are adaptive, so they will progress as your child does. There is also a parent monitoring system so you can see the progress your child is making.

Autism Core Skills School Edition: Academic, Communication, and Social Skills Plus Data

iOS App Store

This app provides an array of lessons on core skills from preschool through grade 1, specifically designed for children with autism. There are academic and readiness lessons, as well as two-player communication and social skills lessons. All lessons are adaptive and designed so there’s no such thing as failure.

The app costs $9.99 and includes detailed record-keeping functions. For teachers, therapists, and paraprofessionals, this is very handy for data keeping needed for IEPs.

Articulation Station

iOS App Store

This app is a speech and language teacher’s dream. It offers focused practice on specific phonemes at the word, phrase, sentence and story levels. There are 60 practice words for most sounds, and the R, S and L programs include the common blends. It’s appropriate for any age level, and includes a variety of activity types.

Articulation Station is free to try and users can monitor students through a built-in recording function. Many sound programs are available as in-app purchases of $2.99 to $3.99, or you can upgrade to the pro version for $59.99.

Dexteria Dots- Get in Touch with Math

iOS App Store

Dexteria Dots offers an intuitive way to teach and practice beginning math skills using visual cues. Kids learn to recognize numbers and associate them with amounts using color, size, and other visual cues. These are slowly faded away until children use regular numbers. The app teaches addition, subtraction and number sense and is designed for children up to the age of 8.

The app costs $2.99 and can be a huge help to children with special needs. If you know a learner who is struggling with beginning math skills, check it out.

Stick Pick

iOS App Store

Stick Pick will help teachers and parents phrase questions at just the right level for learners with special needs or language differences. The app evaluates student responses and suggests question stems at just the right level for discussion, ranging from simply yes-no questions to those requiring more elaboration.

The app costs $3.99 and can really be a lifesaver for teachers or group leaders who want all children to participate in discussions but aren’t sure how to help them be successful.


Mod Math

iOS App Store

Mod Math will help students who struggle with mathematical notation. If they have challenges lining numbers up correctly, making numbers legibly, or spacing numbers, this app could be a huge help. The students can write and solve problems on virtual graph paper, then print or share their work.

The app is free to download and use, but some more advanced symbols (such as pi, inequality signs or factorial) are available through in-app purchase of ninety-nine cents each. There is also an option to purchase all symbols for $2.99.