Common Sense


Best Special Needs Apps for Android

The Android apps listed here can help kids with a range of special needs and learning difficulties; there's everything from games and graphic novels to meditation guides and text-to-speech apps. Whether they're developing fine motor control, building empathy and emotional awareness, or learning how to visualize and manage time, kids and teachers can target essential skills for success both in and out of school.

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Avokiddo Emotions

Hilarious animals help kids identify emotions

Bottom line: This silly animal app is a fun way to teach kids about emotions and creativity.

Starfall ABCs

ABCs and phonics integrate with fun images, animations, and activities

Bottom line: Great -- and free -- way to give kids clear, engaging examples of the ABCs in action.

Thinking Time Pro - Cognitive Skills for Early Learning

Challenging games stress memory, logic, impulse control, flexibility

Bottom line: Effective and engaging way to address foundational cognitive skills; most kids will need adult support.

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame

Sesame Street winner teaches kids how to keep calm and carry on

Bottom line: Highly effective tool for whole-class instruction or one-on-one intervention.

FTVS HD - 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.

Dexteria - Fine Motor Skill Development

Hand and finger exercises help kids develop fine motor skills in fun ways

Bottom line: Three well-crafted exercises help students with fine motor skills, letter formation, and finger pinching.


Useful text-to-speech app and extension unlocks the written word

Bottom line: A valuable tool to make classroom use of websites and digital documents more accessible to all students.

Time Timer

Easily conceptualize, manage, and visualize time

Bottom line: Goes above and beyond standard timers to include handy customization and visual cues.

Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are

Must-read graphic novel teaches relatable tween lessons

Bottom line: A hip, compelling read for tweens and teens looking for guidance and understanding of common social situations.

Stop, Breathe & Think

Appealing app guides meditation, promotes compassion

Bottom line: An accessible, well-designed tool for making meditation an approachable daily practice for kids and adults, alike.

The Mood Meter

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

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

Audionote - Notepad and Voice Recorder

All-in-one note-taking system may be complex for young students

Bottom line: With some prep time, this is a solid choice for note-taking on mobile devices, but other choices, like Notability, have more intuitive design.

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