Special Stories - Story Creator for Special Needs

Rating Special Stories - Story Creator for Special Needs - 5 out of 5 - Best Rating 5.0

  • Android, iPad, iPhone
  • Paid
  • age 3+
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About Special Stories - Story Creator for Special Needs

Special Stories is an app that allows you to create stories and visual schedules. It is particularly useful for creating Social Stories for children with additional needs.  

Special Stories - Story Creator for Special Needs Review

Special Stories is an app that allows you to create stories using text and images. The app is particularly useful for creating social stories for children with Autism or Downs syndrome. Social Stories are short descriptions of a particular situation, event or activity, which include specific information about what to expect in that situation and why. They are used to reduce anxieties that may rise before an upcoming event and are a proven strategy used within the field of autism and other areas of specific needs. The app can also be used to improve reading skills, create step by step instructions, recap events, enhance receptive/expressive language skills and as a home-school communication link.

The user interface is clear, intuitive and distraction free, an important consideration for children with attention difficulties. When launching the application you are presented with the stories you have created. When using for the first time, a quick start guide is already loaded to guide you through the process. On this page you can manage your stories into appropriate categories for future use. To create a  new story, tap the plus button at the top of the screen or if you would like to create a story you have already created tap the ‘i’ button. The app enables you to create as many stories as you wish. It also allows you to edit stories later if you wish. As a teacher this is a particular useful feature, as having created many social stories over the years, the need to adapt and use one again for a different child is often the case. A really useful feature is the ability to record audio over each page. The app allows for up to a minute of recording. Using a familiar voice to the child when creating a digital social story is definitely a bonus. The ability to share stories across different platforms is a further plus point. Not only can they can be emailed as  a PDF or EPUB file, they can can be shared to the developer’s Special Words app if required and also to ibooks.

Before writing this review, I trialled the application with four children in our school, a school for children on the autism spectrum. It was a particularly useful time in the school year to use an app like Special Stories, coming to the end of the summer term at our school means various events happening that are not part of the regular school timetable, not to mention the long summer holidays. I created four different social stories using the application with positive results. The themes for each were the following; Sports day, Moving to secondary school, A trip to the park and Going on an Aeroplane.  The four children had a varying degree of anxiety towards each event and required personalisation for each story created. The app was easy to use and following the tried and tested Social Story formula, I had created a useful narrative in no time.  I used a mixture of images taken from the camera roll and saved google images to create each story. For children with difficulties with reading, you can choose not to use text if you wish. For ‘A trip to the park’ story, I followed the route the day before the actual trip and took pictures along the way. Once I had returned to school, it took me about 10 minutes to create the story and add audio recordings to each page. I introduced the story to the child on the iPad, they were immediately engaged as the tablet was already a motivator. The child enjoyed listening to the story and looking at the images on each page.    The child listened to the story throughout the day and did not stress any anxieties about the trip the following day. The real bonus about using the app was the ability to share the story with the child’s parents at home. 

Overall, Special Stories is an excellent app and definitely one of the best of its type on the market. The developers have kept it simple in its design and have clearly considered this for their intended audience. Their website is informative and links to some of their other applications. The user guide is clear, informative and easy to follow and is also contained within the app as a sample story. The focus of my review was on trialling the app for social story purposes. However, the ways in which Special Stories can be used is not limited to social stories alone and the app can be used for a variety of literacy purposes. There are no negative points that I noticed whilst using the app, although I felt a user community that had the ability to share the stories would be a real positive addition.

App Details

Ratings

Devices

Android, iPad, iPhone

Skills

Cognitive Development
Communication Skills
Engagement and Usability
Organisational and Productivity Skills
Life Skills
Emotional Development

Safeguarding

In-App Purchases - No

In-App Advertising - No

Publisher

Special iApps

Download Special Stories - Story Creator for Special Needs

You can download Special Stories - Story Creator for Special Needs on your iOS or Android devices from the app stores. Download the Special Stories - Story Creator for Special Needs app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

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Screenshots of Special Stories - Story Creator for Special Needs

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