8 Essential Special Education Apps for Social Skills

April 11, 2014
Ellen Holderman
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES In the Classroom, Out-of-School Learning, Students, Technology Integration

For this week's Top Picks List Friday, we are featuring special education apps for social skills. Social and emotional learning is critical for all kids to lead healthy and fulfilling lives both in and out of school, but it's a particularly important area of focus for those with special needs. These apps will help kids express themselves, interact with others, identify and manage with emotions, and develop meaningful relationships.

To see the rating of each app, game, or website, visit the Top-Picks List, Special Needs Apps for Social Skills.


Peek-a-Zoo by Duck Duck Moose
Peek-a-Zoo is a questions-based app that, among other things, helps link sound and visual cues with vocabulary. 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. Read full review.

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame
Kids will identify with each of the five problems, and they'll not only learn to calm down with deliberate deep breathing, they'll also be introduced to three possible strategies for working through each problem. While waiting for a turn on a slide, for example, kids learn they might sing a song, count items around them, or ask a grownup for help. Read full review.

Calm Counter - Social Story and Anger Management Tool
Calm Counter helps kids with special needs, social challenges, stress, anxiety, or anger issues learn self-awareness as they begin to identify when they need a break and practice calming down. Read full review.

Touch and Learn - Emotions
Kids can learn to identify a wide range of positive and negative emotions using Touch and Learn - Emotions. Understanding emotions can help kids in many ways, including improving communication with other kids and adults and helping kids get more comfortable expressing their own feelings. Read full review.

Social Adventures
Social Adventures is an illustrated guidebook in app form, providing teachers and parents with a tidy, powerhouse package to help kids learn positive social behavior. The app contains activities, games, and cartoon descriptions of social situations based mainly on “social catch phrases” that kids can learn to better interact with others. Read full review.

Toca Tea Party
Kids can engage their imagination, as well as practice table manners and social skills while playing with Toca Tea Party. As they make choices for what items to include on the table and what food and drink to serve, kids are exercising decision-making: "What do I think makes a good party?" 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.

Model Me Going Places 2
Model Me Going Places 2 is a valuable tool for teachers and therapists working with students who need support developing social skills. Each photo demonstrates a behavior or experience and provides clear and simple language kids can understand. Read full review.


What apps to use you with your special ed students to help teach them social skills? Sign in to comment below.