Common Sense


Apps and Websites for Special Education Programs

While some of these tools weren't designed specifically for kids with special needs and disabilities as well as learning and thinking differences, they've been recommended by educators and experts who work with these populations. You'll find apps that address foundational skills, boost social and emotional skills, and help kids with autism follow a schedule. There are also sites that help teachers differentiate learning and access resources for developing language and math literacy. Check them out. You might find them helpful for any student who needs more support.

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Top Picks


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Toca Town

Kids run the world with perfect mix of fantasy and reality

Bottom line: Impressive open-play town lets kids explore and learn.

Todo Math

One arithmetic app fulfills the needs of many learners

Bottom line: A variety of strategies and accommodations make this app classroom-ready for a variety of levels and abilities.

Skill Champ

Foundational-skills-practice tool supports specific learning needs

Bottom line: Well-designed tool for targeted foundational skills practice.

Birdhouse for Teachers

Teacher-parent organization tool keeps kids with disabilities on track

Bottom line: If everyone involved has web access and keeps up to date, kids with special needs will benefit.


Unique digital library gives access to those with print disabilities

Bottom line: This fantastic digital library service provides a powerful sense of independence for students.

First Then Visual Schedule HD

Useful multisensory tool teaches self-direction and follow-through

Bottom line: This simple but powerful tool engages kids in independently following a schedule.

Goalbook Toolkit

Set tailored targets with pricey but worth-it kit of tools, strategies

Bottom line: You pay for quality with Goalbook Toolkit, including access to clear, well-crafted learning goals and strategies that allow for far easier differentiation.

Social Story Creator Educators

Create multimedia stories that help with social skills

Bottom line: Solid and very simple app for kids with social challenges.

Articulation Station

Pricey but definitely worth it for kids struggling with pronunciation

Bottom line: For helping students with letter and word pronunciation, this highly valuable tool is worth the cost.

Touch and Learn - Emotions

Free app helps kids identify emotions, recognize body language

Bottom line: Bridges the gap between feeling or witnessing emotions and using words to describe them.

Dexteria Dots - Get in Touch with Math

Ingenious, intuitive way for kids to learn and practice the basics

Bottom line: Fun, innovative math tool engages and helps a variety of learners practice and build fluency.

Social Adventures

Expert-approved activities nurture students' social skills

Bottom line: A treasure chest of social-skills-building activities created by speech and language pros that are worth the high price and need for facilitation.


Themed scripts help kids practice successful social exchanges

Bottom line: For speech-language pathologists, this is a must-have tool for helping kids learn conversation skills.

Bouncy Balls

Measure classroom sound levels with simple, fun themes

Bottom line: This is a fun tool that offers a silly but possibly effective solution to managing noise levels.

Co:Writer Universal

Predictive writing assistant valuable for certain students

Bottom line: This is a useful, customizable tool for a particular kind of reluctant writer who struggles with vocabulary and spelling.


Brilliant tool helps kids with speech difficulties communicate

Bottom line: The price is hefty, but Proloquo2Go carries its weight by providing students and teachers an effective, one-of-a-kind communication tool.


Useful text-to-speech extension unlocks the written word

Bottom line: This handy set of accessibility tools helps students get the access they need when they need it, promoting independence and building confidence.

Scan and Read Pro

Easily scan, read, and study texts regardless of reading level

Bottom line: This is a powerful tool to support students' independence in reading, studying, and test-taking at any level.

Seeing AI

Free app uses AI to communicate the world to visually impaired kids

Bottom line: Students who are blind or have visual impairments will likely find this multifunctional tool to be a welcome and useful shift from more limited apps.


Utilitarian app IDs objects for kids with visual impairments

Bottom line: While it could use some improvements, this is a useful, free app for helping students gain independence.


Visual lessons reinforce concepts for students with special needs

Bottom line: Thoughtful but dated tool helps with differentiation and progress-tracking for students with autism.


Fabulous tool can help kids create social stories

Bottom line: Pictello is a great way for kids to create social stories that can help them find their unique voice and prepare for internal and external struggles.

CAST UDL Book Builder

Sensitively designed so any student can write and share books

Bottom line: CAST UDL Book Builder is an excellent resource to get kids started on digital content creation; it's simple and straightforward and caters to a variety of learning styles.

Time Timer

Manage and conceptualize time with great visuals, a few bugs

Bottom line: A decent option for visual timer needs, being sufficiently customizable, but there are still a few bugs and room for improvement.


Draw kids into weekly news with powerful symbols and voice narration

Bottom line: Students can expand literacy skills, learn about the world, and get involved with discussion questions and activities.


Experiential game teaches empathy toward those with autism

Bottom line: Lessons on inclusion and community in the classroom require post-game facilitated discussion for deep learning.

Mindprint Learning

Expert feedback and tools designed for individual learner profiles

Bottom line: This impressive tool uses normed digital assessments to create a specific learning profile and provide authentic tools for individual learners.


Blank virtual grid sheets assist students with mathematical notation

Bottom line: Clear and precise app that allows students to focus on calculation, not number formation.

Choiceworks Calendar

Empowering calendar tool alleviates transition anxiety

Bottom line: Great structure, lots of visual choices, and ease of use make this tool a worthwhile investment.


Natural text-to-speech tool helps kids with reading difficulties

Bottom line: The simple interface and natural-sounding voice can empower many types of kids, those with difficulties in reading or those with cognitive disabilities.


Messaging tool helps classrooms forge and foster meaningful dialogue

Bottom line: This tool opens up avenues for conversation and relationship building between teachers and students.

BeeLine Reader

A surprisingly simple tool to improve reading

Bottom line: This is a unique, easy-to-implement reading fluency and comprehension aid that's gaining some evidence of effectiveness.

Hall of Heroes

Responsive game helps students prepare for transition to middle school

Bottom line: Wonderful and fun social-interaction game designed to teach cooperation and friendship skills needed for middle school and beyond.

The Mood Meter

Well-designed tool encourages kids to reflect on and manage emotions

Bottom line: Appealing, thought-provoking tool builds emotional intelligence.


Customizable tool provides valuable practice with social interactions

Bottom line: Engaging way to practice peer conversations on tricky topics.

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