The following iPad apps were chosen for a workshop with DARS Center for Learning Management. DARS is an acronym for Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. The iPad accessibility features were demonstrated as well.
The workshop covered working with children who have multiple disabilities, so the apps reflect their needs. For apps specific to visually impaired users, please reference these two websites: AppleVis (www.applevis.com) and Apps for the Visually Impaired (http://appadvice.com/applists/show/apps-for-the-visually-impaired). The websites and apps listed are not the only websites or apps to explore, they are just the ones chosen for the specific workshop.
I Love Fireworks and Fireworks Arcade - You can touch the screen to trigger the fireworks to go off, you can drag your finger on the screen to have the firework trail up into the sky in whatever pattern you’d like, and the longer you hold your finger on the touch screen, the bigger the firework. If you use multiple fingers, you can do multiple trailing fireworks at the same time.
Art of Glow – (no audio) Create free, simple, mesmerizing art with a finger twirl. You choose your settings for color, shape, speed, and more and then begin to finger paint endless combinations of moving, twinkling, fading art forms.
Music Sparkles – In this app, there are several different instruments including a glockenspiel, drum set, and saxophone. These instruments can be played while having a fun background ostinato. Banjo, piano, and drums can be played behind the instruments making it sound like a band.
Sound Touch - Toddler-friendly app with more than 250 sights and sounds. Kids simply tap a picture in one of the six categories (domestic/farm animals, wild animals, birds, vehicles, musical instruments, and household items) and a photograph of the object pops up along with the sound it makes.
Interactive Alphabet ABC Flash Cards – Learn your letters and sounds through interactive play. From the main page, kids can choose to listen to an alphabet song, or they can play with a specific letter of the alphabet. Each letter has its own flash card with text such as “Aa is for Apple” along with an image of an apple. The app reads the text to the child, including making the letter sound. Every letter’s flash card is interactive, allowing kids to tap or drag to make things happen. Kids can then tap the corner to go to the next letter, or tap ABC to go back to the main menu. From the main menu, there is also a Baby Mode that can be activated that will automatically turn the pages for kids.
Count 123 – Designed by parents, Count123 helps teach basic counting skills and its fun! Watch your kids learn to recognize numbers and learn to count with this fun and simple kids counting game. Give your children a head start in math!
The Monster at the End of This Book – (Sesame Street) The book’s interactive sensibility, however, has gotten a lot more fun; along with ignoring Grover’s pleas to stop turning the page, kids can delight in knocking over obstacles, untying knots, and breaking through walls as they keep moving toward the end.
SoundPrism – not entirely sure what SoundPrism is. It might be a musical instrument but we’re learning new stuff playing with it every day, which sometimes goes beyond the scale of that.
Fish Fingers 3D and Shark Fingers 3D – (no audio) Too many aquariums claim to be 3D, but they’re just flat pictures of fish floating around your screen being boring! Shark Fingers and Fish Fingers have REAL 3D SHARKS! They swim in all directions and can be viewed from any angle!
Bla bla bla – A humorously illustrated reactive audio toy by a group of Italian design students.
Talking Tom – A Cat That Talks? Talking Tom repeats everything you say with a funny voice. You can pet him, poke him and punch him; you can even grab his tail. Going to iPad settings, find Talking Tom in the list and choose no violence can turn the punch feature.
Songify – So to create a song, you simply press the record button and speak for between one to 60 seconds. The app analyzes your speech, segmenting it into a chorus and verses (if long enough), then maps it to a melody of your choice, syncing it with the beat and adjusting the pitch of your voice. The whole song-creation process takes less than a minute.
The next two apps were not shown, but might be appropriate for some of the children DARS serves.
TalkCalc talking calculator – Enter a number, tap and count the circles, which make a sound and then disappear. Touch the number again and … the circles are back. Cars honk, fish bubble … it entertains while you learn.
FlickTunes - Flick. Swipe. Poke. FlickTunes combines gesture-based controls with a bold, clean interface to create the safest and most effective way to control your music.
Resources for Apps for MIVI
This Facebook site has an aggregated list of apps for children with special needs. It is only a list of the apps and not a description but I find it to be a wonderful resource.
iPad Apps for Children with CVI
This following websites are written by a parent of a child with special needs, or professional serving children with special needs. They have many app suggestions.
Special Parent Connections
Babies with iPads
Little Bear Sees
Thomas Marshall Does it All
For a quick and easy way to view apps in use go to YouTube and type in “iPad apps for special needs” or “iPad with CVI” and you will receive an overwhelming number of videos showing professionals, parents and children using their iPad. This is one of the ways I try to stay current and knowledgeable of the various apps, which work for children with multiple disabilities.
Outreach Assistive Technology Consultant