Developer's Notes for: Special Words

Developer's Notes

Special Words teaches children to recognize written and spoken words, and encourages their speech development, using pictures and sounds. Play alongside your child at a pace suited to their ability. A range of settings allows you to configure the app and adjust as your child develops.

• Suitable for use at home, preschool, school, and in therapy sessions
• 4 games matching pictures, words, words to pictures and pictures to words
• 96 pictures and words with choice of font and lower or upper case letters
• Personalize by reordering, deleting and adding your own words, pictures and audio
• Settings options include shuffling cards, controlling use of audio, editing and rewards
• Synchronize to your other Apple mobile devices and between home and school
• Transfer resources to and from our Special Stories app

An interactive app that allows children to learn at their own pace, Special Words has 4 games with increasing difficulty, and has been designed in close consultation with parents, children and professionals. With a simple and intuitive interface, this app has been shown to be accessible and hold the attention of children with Down syndrome, autism, poor fine motor skills, hearing impairment and other learning difficulties, as well as being appealing to typically developing children. For those who are unable to use a touch screen, but who can operate assistive switches, the app can be used with 1 or 2 Bluetooth-connected switches.

Special Words comes with 96 written words children use in their early vocabulary. It includes matching pictures, written and spoken words, in 22 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. You can easily replace the words and re-record the audio in any other language your child uses. You can quickly add more words, pictures and sounds for family members, friends, and familiar objects, to increase your child’s interest, and further develop their reading vocabulary.

A 12-week trial in schools has demonstrated that Special Words can enhance communication, language and literacy skills, and has shown that it has a positive impact on the development of expressive language, receptive language, word recognition, reading and listening skills. To read the trial report from the Durham iPad Project, or to read the Special Words User Guide, visit the Special iApps website,

This is a universal app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and you can easily transfer personalized text, pictures and sounds between devices, using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or e-mail.

The words and pictures provided with Special Words are the same as those in the See and Learn Language and Reading resources from Down Syndrome Education International, and this app can be used to complement the use of their paper-based See and Learn activities.

Finalist in Vodafone Foundation Mobile for Good Europe awards 2013. Runner up in 5th annual Best App Ever awards. BridgingApps said: “an excellent app for assisting young children in developing very beginning reading skills and preschool/school-age children in learning sight words”.

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