Special Words

  • Android, iPad, iPhone
  • Paid
  • age 2+
Downloadfor Android Downloadfor iOS

About Special Words

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.

Special Words Review

What's it about?

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. 

Related: Autism Apps

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.

App Details

Teacher Ratings


Android, iPad, iPhone



Cognitive Development
Communication Skills
Engagement and Usability
Organisational and Productivity Skills
Life Skills
Emotional Development
Thinking & Reasoning


In-App Purchases - No

In-App Advertising - No


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Screenshots for Special Words

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