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Maths Practice App

Special Words

Price: Android - Paid iPhone/iPad - Paid

Teacher Overview

Special Words is an app that seeks to address deficiencies in expressive and receptive language in addition to attention, fine motor and hand-eye co-ordination skills. Special Words can be used by Teachers, therapists and parents to improve these skills.

Teacher Review

Special Words is an app that seeks to teach word recognition, spoken language, attention and listening skills, in addition to hand-eye co-ordination. The app contains 96 words and pictures commonly used during early language development. Special Words can be used by parents, teachers, teaching assistants, speech & language therapists to enhance expressive and receptive language development. 

Upon opening the application, you are presented with 6 activities; Match Pictures, Match Words, Word to Picture, Picture to Word, Sound to Picture and Sound to Word. Within each activity, you can differentiate between either 1,2,3 or 4 cards depending on developmental level. 

The app’s interface is clear and distraction free, especially important for children with learning difficulties. The app is intuitive, performs well in all activities and the compatibility with accessibility features are excellent.  The app also works well with switch and scanning technology through bluetooth for learners with more profound needs unable to use touch gestures.  The customisation features allow you to add words and images, particularly useful when the child has mastered the pre-programmed words. Adding new words allows for the app to grow with the child and you can record your own words if you wish, useful for children using different languages. The app is programmed for 22 different languages; English (American, British and Australian), Albanian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Luxembourgish, Norwegian (Bokmål), Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian and Welsh. Different profiles can be used which is useful for teachers, therapists or bilingual children.

During a 3 month trial carried out by the Durham iPad Project, it was found that Special Words improved communication, language and literacy skills. Additionally, the report found that use of the app had an impact on expressive & receptive language, word recognition and reading skills. The full report can be found on the developer’s website. Another useful feature is the ability to share images and recordings to other apps by the developer such as Special Stories and Special Numbers.  

Overall, Special Words is a clever and intuitive application. The developers have clearly drawn upon ‘what works’ for young learners with special needs. The app is particularly good for children with Autism or Downs Syndrome as it is visually stimulating, although it can be used with all learners.

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Teacher Certification

Teacher Rating for the appTeacher Rating

App Advertising or In-App PurchasesSafeguarding

In-App Purchases - No

In-App Advertising - No


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Developer Description

Special Words is an award winning, tried and tested app created for children with learning disabilities and additional needs.

An invaluable app for visual learners to promote language acquisition, word, picture and sound recognition, speech and sight-reading. An excellent tool for parents, teachers and health professionals.

Encompasses all prime areas in the EYFS communication and language criteria and is adaptable to any developmental stage.

What parents and professionals say:

“This is without a doubt the best app I have come across for children with special needs. My son signs for more as soon he completes one set of words!” – Helen, parent and teacher, education coordinator at The Education Centre for Children with Down Syndrome.

“I think Special Words is great! I use it at home with my own child who has Down syndrome and at work where I supported a child with autism in school. Both children find it easy to use and get a lot out of it. I find it quick and easy to add my own resources to make it personal and special to each child.” – Angela, learning support assistant.

“Special Words is helping my son to improve his speech, pronunciation, fine motor skills, hand eye co-ordination, recognition of words and objects. The app can be changed to grow with him as his vocabulary expands. It is brilliant for children with additional learning needs.” – Sue, Makaton trainer.

Suitable for use at home, preschool, school and in therapy sessions such as SALT and occupational therapy. For home schooling, you can create your own profiles to follow the curriculum and enhance learning.

  • Encourage speaking and help with clarity
  • Increase sight word vocabulary
  • Develop hand-eye co-ordination
  • Improve fine motor skills
  • Encourage listening and language skills
  • Personalise with your own words, photos and audio
  • Develop and build confidence
  • Easy to monitor progress
  • Can be fully customized to grow with your child

You can transfer content to and from our Special Stories App, to extend the learning process even further.

Special Words has been shown to be accessible and hold the attention of children with autism, Down syndrome, poor fine motor skills, hearing impairment and other learning difficulties, as well
as being appealing to typically developing children.

Includes 96 pictures and matching written and spoken words in 23 languages. This app can also be controlled using Bluetooth and USB switches and keyboards.

Special iApps is a multi-award-winning nonprofit social enterprise that specialises in creating apps for those with learning disabilities and additional needs.

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