17 Great Apps and Sites for Special Education

January 10, 2014
Ellen Holderman
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES In the Classroom, Tools, Technology Integration

It's Top-Pick List Friday! This week, we are featuring great special ed apps and sites. While most of these weren't designed specifically for kids with special needs or learning differences, they've been recommended by educators and experts who work with these populations. Check them out. You might find them helpful for any student who needs more support.

To see the rating of each, visit the Top-Picks List, Great Special Ed Apps and Sites.


Peek-a-Zoo by Duck Duck Moose
With its easy-to-use format and creative yet simple animal animations, Peek-a-Zoo supports teachers in providing kids with all-important lessons about social and emotional cues, which can be applied in endless situations in and out of the classroom. Read full review.

Montessori Numbers - Math Activities for Kids
Montessori Numbers is a set of five math-related activities that follow the Montessori method. Maria Montessori's hands-on approach ("What the hand does, the mind remembers") is definitely incorporated. The app includes counting, block manipulation, stacking, number cards, and number matching. Read full review.

Numbers League
Playing the game, younger kids practice basic arithmetic and mental math. Older kids can play a more challenging game including negative numbers and multiplication, depending on which level is chosen (1-5). Read full review.

Remember The Milk
As with any task-organizing app, Remember The Milk is only as useful as the person entering and monitoring the progress and completion of tasks. But if used well and often, this app can help teens and teachers stay on top of everything that needs attention. Read full review.

Kid in Story Book Maker
Though many storybook creation apps exist, Kid in Story Book Maker is unique. Even with a relatively hefty price tag, its social story focus makes it a valuable asset for kids, especially those with special needs who require extra help with social or communication skills. Read full review.

Articulation Station
Articulation Station provides kids with the opportunity to record and listen to their own voices as they pronounce the letters and words in conjunction with a narrator who speaks them. As a result, students can gain self-awareness and identify their own pronunciation strengths and weaknesses. Read full review.

Phonics Genius
Phonics Genius is a customizable flashcard-style app designed to help kids identify letter sounds and their relationship to words. It has over 6,000 words grouped into 225 categories, including single letter and letter combination sounds. Read full review.

Go Go Games
Most of the learning is tacit and supported by classroom teachers helping kids learn to code, a 21st-century skill that's quickly gaining importance. Students can create animations, games, and models that communicate artistry and learning. Read full review.

Toontastic is a digital storytelling tool that teaches kids how to organize and present story ideas through cartoons. It employs a "Story Arc" that contains five sequential scenes to guide story structure (Setup, Conflict, Challenge, Climax, and Resolution). Read full review.

CAST UDL Book Builder
CAST UDL Book Builder is a free online tool that lets kids create, publish, share, and read digital books. The tool is designed around Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an educational framework meant to support diverse learning needs. Read full review.

News 2 You
News-2-You is a fantastic way to bring social studies, current events, and other newsy tidbits to students with special needs as well as beginning readers. The symbols-based and voice-supported articles allow you to adjust to fit a student's unique needs. Read full review.

Playful Minds: Math (5-8 years old)
Playful Minds Math is a fun and educationally sound game that teaches kids grade-appropriate (and Common Core-aligned!) math skills. Set on a colorful tropical island, it also includes progress reports for parents or teachers to stay on top of what kids are working on or struggling with. Read full review.

Time Timer
Time Timer is a productivity app that can help kids (or adults) focus on timed tasks, as well as manage transitions or waiting. Time concepts like these can be challenging for many kids, especially those with special needs. With Time Timer, younger kids can see time as a measurement without the confusion of the numbers on a traditional clock. Read full review.

DragonBox+ Algebra
DragonBox+ teaches kids algebra in a refreshing and unique way. Ten chapters get increasingly complex, and drag-and-drop simplicity teaches kids to solve, balance, and reduce multi-variable equations and overcome fears about learning math. Read full review. does an excellent job of offering clear and intriguing early literacy lessons. Students from a variety of learning backgrounds (ESL, language-delayed, and more) can use to explore literacy concepts at their own pace. Read full review.

Speech with Milo: Sequencing
In the classroom, teachers can use Speech with Milo: Sequencing as a logic and language skills tool in lessons related to sequencing, storytelling, time, left-to-right reading, and developing complex sentences. Read full review.

Proloquo2Go can help kids grow in communication as well as emotional identification. This may reduce frustration in the classroom, improve social interaction between students and with adults, and help many speech-limited students increase social as well as academic skills. Read full review.


What are games, apps, and websites do you use for special education? Sign in to comment below.