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App Resources Every Special Needs Teacher Should Bookmark

by Dr. Bruce Ellis
special needs

Special education teachers encounter unique challenges on a daily basis. And each year, those challenges may fluctuate based on the students that they are assigned. Special needs teachers not only have the task of making a difference in the lives of their own students, but also of being advocates for students that are mainstreamed and included in regular education classes. Needless to say, these teachers are an integral part of a well-balanced campus that knows every child has value and can reach their potential with the right support.

As you support your students or help other teachers find appropriate resources, you might find that knowing where to look can be the first challenge. There are so many different kinds of needs, and each has a unique set of resources. I’ve trolled the Internet to see if I could help by pulling together a list of sites that you might find helpful in your search for apps. Originally, I was going to recommend a few apps and talk about them, but then I realized that I may have narrowed my field a little too much even while staying within the special needs area.

Assistive Technology for Hoosiers with Disabilities – You are bound to find good resources here to choose from. Whether it is app recommendations, video tutorials, or tips on getting the most from features within various tablets, this is a great site to review and share. While here, be sure to check out their post on 6 Android Apps for Special Needs which allows you to branch off and focus on additional apps in your specific area of interest.

Apps as Assistive Technology – Developed by the Maine Department of Education, there are more than 40 lists to help you find the right app (iOS or Android) to help your students.

Bridging Apps – This group that works with Easter Seals has an extensive and searchable database of apps divided by age, skill, device, price, and much more.

Smart Apps for Special Needs – Ron Engel and his staff review and provide good information to help you sift through all that is out there. They may not post all that frequently, but they do have a robust archive you can investigate. Be sure to look at their other specific pages to narrow down apps that are free, recommended by readers, staff picks, etc.

Special Needs Apps – Though Apple and Google don’t have a category just for apps for special needs students, you can do some fancy searching to identify many. Check out these search results for iOS apps and for Android apps.

If you prefer to gather your resources from a variety of folks instead of a single site, then be sure to look for the #SpEdApp hashtag on Twitter, as well as #iOSEdApp and #AndroidEd.

And no app list would be complete without TCEA resources. Be sure to check out TCEA’s list of Free Must-Have Apps for Special Education. You can also refer back to a previous edition of TCEA’s TechEdge magazine on Resources for Special Learners.

Current TCEA members can also join the iPad in the Classroom or the Special Needs Students group in the TCEA Social Community. The iPad group publishes daily lists of iOS apps that have gone free or on sale, and there are always special needs apps listed. The Special Needs Students group is a great place for collaborating with others to find apps to meet specific situations. And take a look at our Recommended Apps List. There’s a tab just for special needs students.

Which list did you find most helpful? Do you have one that you would add to the list? Let me know by sending an email to Bruce Ellis or tweeting me. I’d love to hear your story.

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