Approximately 7 million children in the U.S. are students with special needs. The scary thing about this is that due to the coronavirus pandemic, their attendant schools are closed. This situation might hamper their learning abilities and, at the same time, stop their progress.
“One of the hall marks of many of these children is difficulty controlling themselves. Many autistic and hyperactive children move around a lot and find it difficult to focus their attention on tasks. As a result, teachers find these kids to be very disruptive whether they are in a main streamed or special education class,” shares Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.
At their specialized schools, they receive individual attention from learning professionals who are familiar with how to handle their cases. Now, they won’t be able to do that anymore. Therefore, experts recommend the need to continue their learning curve through the help of educational apps – those dedicated to children with disabilities. Let’s explore your top choices.
Learn With Rufus
Learn with Rufus is a compilation of tablet apps that focuses on essential competencies and social cues for special needs students.
- Boys and Girls is an app for children who still find it challenging to determine male and female faces and who also gets confused with non-typical features.
- Feelings and Emotions app helps ASD children who are having difficulty recognizing emotions and identifying facial expressions.
- Numbers teaches Math and focuses on counting.
- Categories focus on introducing sizes, shapes, and colors.
What’s good about this series of apps is that the activities are engaging and entertaining. They can also be customized depending on the need of the child. Lastly, its in-app character, Rufus, provides more life to learning.
Epic! is an electronic library (e-library) dedicated to serving struggling readers. This app offers more than 20,000 educational videos and high-quality children’s books that range from fiction to nonfiction. Take note that this does not only feature famous authors but prominent publishers as well.
Epic usually has a monthly fee to give commission to its writers and illustrators; however, this has been waived amid COVID-19.
ChoiceWorks is an app that helps children understand how to control their feelings, complete their daily routines, and increase their patience level (e.g., not interrupting a conversation and taking turns). It is also a learning app in terms of promoting regulating emotions and developing different kinds of positive behavior.
Montessori Numbers is a mathematical educational app tailored to students who find it difficult to understand the relationship between numbers and quantities. It establishes the necessary math competencies. They achieve this by introducing numeric order, counting up to 1000, decimal system, adding and subtracting, and comparing quantities.
One great feature of this app is that it provides palpable and clear visual representations of their materials. Children also learn better because of its voice feature for better understanding and easier memorizing.
Busy Shapes, the latest offering by Edoki Academy, is an activity-based app modeled from Piaget’s cognitive development research. It begins with cause-and-effect programs, which then later evolves to problem-solving activities and tool use. Busy Shapes also offers a series of puzzles located on its in-house evolving and exploratory playground. Here, children with disabilities can improve their motor skills.
Injini: Child Development Game Suite
The Injini: Child Development Game Suite is a play-based learning platform, full of games and exercises, tailored to kids with language, cognitive, and motor delays. The options here range from problem-solving to mind-boggling activities. The creators designed this to test and cater to those children with Down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy.
Although this platform serves those students with needs, their activities are also apt for general preschool-aged kids. The only downside with these, however, is that you have to pay around $30 to be able to download the app.
The Sounding Out Machine
The Sounding Out Machine is beneficial for those disabled students who are struggling with both reading and decoding. The app voices out challenging words and teaches the user how to pronounce these one syllable at a time. It also tackles rule-breaker and tricky words that will improve their vocabulary.
What’s unique about this app is that it has a typing window where the student can type a word he or she is confused with. Then, the Sounding Out Machine will teach him or her how to read it.
It is essential to take advantage of technology, mainly digital learning tools, in the middle of this pandemic. We have to choose the best ones that will bridge the achievement and developmental gaps of students with disabilities. Explore these apps and decide which one best fits your kid.