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Review: Special Words


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Today I will talk you about an app for iPad/iPhone that I find very useful for students with ASD: Special Words, developed by Special iApps. In our educational center, we are using it with some very young children and we are getting good results, as it is attractive to them, simple to use, and allows us to address different aspects such as visual matching, global reading, visual discrimination, and so on.

I will first explain what it is and then we’ll see the customization it offers.

Four activities
Special Words presents a screen with four fixed elements and one central element that can be shifted so the student can associate it with its corresponding element. We can choose from several operating modes, as we shall see in the following screenshots.

First, we can match image to image. In this case, an image appears in the center of the screen, the app says aloud the word associated, and when you match the two identical images, Special Words says the word again, showing also the written word that represents it.

Secondly, we can match word to word. Functioning here is very similar to the previous case: when the central word appears, Special Words says it aloud, and repeat it when you match the words, showing in this case the image it represents.

The third of the activities that we can perform is a classic exercise of global reading. The student has to move the word towards the corresponding image, with the extra help of hearing the word that appear in the center of the screen.

Finally, we have the possibility to practice reverse global reading by offering four words as matching options and an image to match.

Customization
Special Words offers a wide range of initial vocabulary that you can modify to suit the characteristics and needs of your students. From the word list, by selecting any word, you can modify it, changing the writing and/or and recording a new audio clip if necessary.

Of course, Special Words also allows you to add new vocabulary, something that you can do by touching the + symbol at the top of the screen. To add an image, you have to previously save images on the device or, if you have an iPhone or an iPad 2, take a picture directly.

With Special Words you can also define different users, select the most appropriate word lists for each of them, and put the words in the order that most interests you, thus making the most appropriate combinations depending on the characteristics and needs of each individual student. To do this, you only have to press the icon with an arrow and a rectangle, which will lead you to a menu screen of actions to manage saved profiles, adding and changing everything you need.

Special Words runs on both the iPhone and the iPad. It’s certainly an interesting application, useful and engaging, that can be invaluable for our students.

-Lupe Montero

Special
Links: iTunes
Company: Special iApps
Languages: English (U.S., UK and Australia), Spanish, Catalan, Dutch, Flemish, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Turkish.
Functions: Exercises of visual matching, global reading and visual discrimination.
Versions: Universal version for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone
Price: $13.99 / €10.99

 


Comments

G
Reply

Special Words app
Really expected much more for a $14 app. This sight was recommended on several websites for students with disabilities (ranging from Dyslexia to Autism). Children can begin to generalize pictures to words, but there is nothing more to the program. My students became bored after the first two screens.

D
Reply

The app. is very useful as a teaching tool. It is not a game; it may not entertain your students, but it does offer many options for customization so that you can program words and pictures that will be meaningful and motivating for individual students. Try taking pictures of family, friends, places around the school and teaching them how to read those words that will be most useful for them. If they are past the single word stage, take a picture and program a whole sentence instead of the word. Make it a comprehension activity by having the student read the sentence and match to the picture it describes. There are so many possibilities!

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