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Bright Ideas for Blended Learning

Top 6 Special Education Apps for Elementary Students

July 29, 2014

Posted by Ross Hochwert

The best special education iPad apps consider not just instruction, but classroom management and behavioral strategies as well. The modern special education classroom needs to accommodate all types of students and the individual needs they may present. Special education teachers can look to apps to help their students with these needs, whether the students need help communicating, improving fine motor skills, reinforcing positive behavior with visual aids or simply processing external stimuli that may overwhelm students with Autism.

We asked past special education teachers at eSpark which apps they have used in their classrooms to address special education needs through blended learning, and we compiled the top six app recommendations below. These apps offer a wide array of tools teachers can use in their classrooms to promote learning, classroom management and behavioral strategies for their students. Tell us which apps you use in your classrooms in the comments below or rate the apps we have listed here!



Sounding Board

Price: Free!

Developer: AbleNet

Description: Turn your iOS device into an instant Sounding Board with this incredibly practical app. Create your own custom boards with often used symbols to help facilitate better communication with children in special education.

Why It鈥檚 the Best:

路 Custom, image-focused boards specialized for each student鈥檚 unique needs

路 Tons of intuitive, clear symbols to choose from to create personal boards

路 Simple, clean layout that focuses on improving student communication



Pocket Pond

Price: Free!

Developer: TriggerWave, LLC

Description: A sensory and calming app that features a serene pond with fish you can interact with. This app is perfect for special education students that need to reduce stimulation or take a break.

Why It鈥檚 the Best:

路 Realistic graphics and sound effects that accurately imitate a real pond

路 No frills layout that focuses on touch interactions with the fish and pond

路 Includes various maintenance tasks and reward system for interacting with the pond



Price: $2.99

Developer: Grembe, Inc

Description: Motivational tool to help reinforce positive behavior by organizing tasks and accompanying visual rewards.

Why It鈥檚 the Best:

路 Flexible user interface that allows easy visual customization of both tasks       and awards through the use of colors and images

路 Organize students within the app, perfect for special education teachers


My_Word_WallMy Word Wall

Price: $1.99

Developer: Emantras, Inc

Description: 鈥淗elp your child develop early reading skills with Word Wall. Watch them develop into confident and strong readers.鈥 

Why It鈥檚 the Best:

路 Bright, cheerful and colorful user interface perfect for young kids

路 Breaks down words into 12 word families with 75 sight words and 65 word family words

路 Students to hear and see words, providing reinforcement learning for visual and/or auditory learners



Price: $3.99

Developer: BinaryLabs, Inc

Description: Provides therapeutic hand exercises to practice fine motor skills and development. Perfect for developing handwriting skills in young students.

Why It鈥檚 the Best:

路 Short, repeatable and engaging exercises that work on fine motor control

路 Modern design takes advantage of multi-touch features of the iPad in fun,           engaging ways

路 Different types of games correlated to motor movements like pinching,       writing, tapping and tracing



First Then Visual Schedule

Price: $9.99

Developer: Good Karma Applications, Inc.

Description: Custom visual schedules designed to organize students鈥 days. Great for students with Autism.

Why It鈥檚 the Best:

路 Customizable images complement the visual-centric layout of these             schedules

路 Unlimited schedules mean teachers can create individualized schedules per student

路 Checklist feature further reinforces visual learning and breaking down of    tasks into smaller steps



Want to learn more? Watch our webinar on how digital content can enrich SPED classrooms:

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This post was updated on December 30, 2015.

Topics: Special Education/ RTI  Elementary Education  App Recommendations