For the past several years technology has been such a useful tool for children with developmental disabilities. Devices, such as the iPad or tablet, help enable children to acquire life skills, engage in self-directed play, and enhance their communication skills.
To make it easier on the parent, we recommend starting off with identifying your child’s needs and capabilities. Answering those two questions will help narrow down your app selection when deciding which one is most appropriate.
Many apps that are currently on the market offer a “lite” version that provides basic functions and allows the user to test out the app before purchasing it.
Below is a list of recommended apps for children with Developmental Disabilities:
Best Language Apps –
1. Speech with Milo: Verbs - Milo is an animated mouse that performs over 100 actions such as ‘bounce,’ ‘count,’ and ‘play’. Great for infants, toddlers and children with language delays.
2. Splingo’s Language Universe - Children practice their listening and language skills by interacting with the images and animation on the screen to follow Splingo the alien’s spoken instructions.
Best Early Learning Apps –
1. Injini: Child Development Game Suite – Play-based learning exercises and games that are well suited for children with cognitive, language and fine motor delays. Originally designed for and tested by children with autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome as well as typically developing preschoolers.
2. Bugs and Buttons - Teaches counting, path finding, patterns, sorting and tracking as well as fine motor skills such as pinching.
Best App for Self-directed Play –
1. Toca Hair Salon – Toca Hair Salon features six different characters with lifelike hair that kids can cut, color, comb and style. The characters make fun faces and sounds while being groomed.
Best Assistive Communication Apps (for nonspeaking children) –
1. ProloQuo2Go - Full-featured augmentative and alternative communication solution for children who have difficulty speaking. Provides natural sounding text-to-speech voices.
2. TalkTablet – This app is targeted for people unable to communicate clearly as a result of Autism, Aphasia, Down Syndrome, Stroke or Laryngectomy.
Best Visual Schedules Apps
1. ChoiceWorks - Helps children complete daily routines, understand and control their feelings and cultivate a higher threshold for patience (e.g., taking turns and not interrupting). Also helps to promote positive behavior and emotional regulation.
2. Visual Routine – Build visual schedules with pictures, words, or a combination of the two. Helps children with developmental delays anticipate and better prepare for transitions.