Educational Apps for Kids with Special Needs

From Star Trek to the hands of my almost-3 year old daughter, the iPad has come a long way. I’m still learning all that it has to offer my child, and the apps therein that help her learn to speak, read, write, calculate and more: compose her first opera.

While this list was composed with the child with Down syndrome in mind, it is easily applicable to most other development delays. My typically-developing 4 year old also happily engages himself with a good many of these apps, so keep the door open in terms of applicability.


Educational Apps for kids with Special Needs

Note that many of these apps have a “free” or “lite” version that you can try before you buy. These versions have fewer features, but just enough to give you an idea if it is an app that will work for you. We have tried to include the links for the free versions when offered.

You can find many of these apps for free or discounted periodically. We will make every attempt to list the discounts as we learn about them. Or you can follow some of the developers and FB groups listed below for regular app deals.

Fine Motor




Learning ABCs


  • Learning A-Z Work on reading and comprehension at your child’s level. If your school has this, you might be able to access for free at home. Options to purchase books as well. Your student can listen to the book being read or read it to a friend. We use this regularly and make flashcards of new words to learn.



  • Bitsboard
  • Toca Doctor
  • Injini
  • Toca Hair Salon
  • Mickey Mouse Road Rally
  • Word World

App Developers

These app developers have a number of high-quality apps which are appealing to kids as well as adults. It’s a good idea to check them periodically to see what’s new.

Alligator apps
Grasshopper apps
Little Bit Studio
Tribal Nova

Facebook Groups To Follow

You can “Like” the following Facebook groups to learn about free apps and discounts.

  • Smart Apps For Kids
  • App Friday
  • iMums


Special thanks to Lisa Orvis, who runs the Educational Strategies for Children with Down syndrome group on facebook (it’s a closed group but Lisa will add you if you knock at the door) for all of her recommendations and specific detailing of app functions.


Any to add? Or favorites you already use?

is a deaf blogger, global nomad, tech-junkie, cat-lover, Trekkie, Celto-Teutonic-peasant-handed mom of 3 (one with Down syndrome and one gifted 2E).
She likes her coffee black and hot.
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