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Apple Puts Spotlight On Disability Offerings In App Store

By Shaun Heasley | October 26, 2010

Apple is highlighting a growing number of apps catering to individuals with special needs with a featured special education section in its App Store.

The section titled “Special Education” launched late last week and includes 72 applications for the iPhone and 13 applications for the iPad in 10 categories ranging from communication to emotional development and life skills, according to Trudy Muller, an Apple spokeswoman.

The special education category is currently showcased as one of four editorial features in the App Store.

Apps, which can be used on Apple’s iPhone, iPad or iPod devices, have become increasingly popular in the special needs community in recent years, serving as everything from assistive technology devices to organizational tools and teaching aids.

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50 Comments To "Apple Puts Spotlight On Disability Offerings In App Store"

#1 Comment By CinTaylor On October 28, 2010 @ 9:47 am

Sounds great…. but I tried to find that section and couldn’t. It would be nice, though, if they named it something other than “special education.” My son is an adult and in theory could benefit from some of the apps describe in this article. I say in theory because I can’t find them on the site so I have little information to go on.

#2 Comment By Dar On November 6, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

My son is using an iPod for communication with the Proloquo2go application.He will also be getting an app called iPrompts. to help with sequence of skills. The first is not an apple product but is compatable and relatively cheap($190.00 aprox.) It is customizable for your son’s needs. Check it out on the web. The second is an apple product look in search field for it.
Hope this helps.

#3 Comment By Evelynoneillbrown On November 16, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

This I am very interested in, I believe the ways ways we can encourage communication the better. I shall be researching this more

#4 Comment By wgnburnr On April 15, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

I looked for this by following the link, but were do you get info? I am an adult with A.D.D> and don’t really know what I need nor what exactly I’m looking for. Help!

#5 Comment By shelley On June 6, 2011 @ 11:37 am

Please help me fine computer games or programs for the computer. It would be best if they not look childish. I have found one game which works (Wheel of Fortune). It would make Mary so happy to use a computer more. She does Puzzle Zone on line and she enjoys it but I am searching for more she can do. I am looking for a basic cookbook and anything else I can find. The things that I am looking for are CD not acutual online access. Thanks in advance for any ideas which could enrich Mary’s life.

#6 Comment By LemonsCam2 On June 13, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

I am a professional working with individuals with disabilities. I would truly be grateful if we could, somehow, generate a list of resources that could be useful.. Any resources for use on the iPad2 would be very valuable, especially as technology seems to catch the eye of such individuals. Thank you in advance!

#7 Comment By allisonjacqueline On July 2, 2011 @ 10:55 am

Wonderful idea, but the name “Special Education” really is horrible.

#8 Comment By Joyce Komperda On November 14, 2011 @ 4:25 pm

Other companies should find a place in their work force for disable adults who can be gainfully employeed. This population has been led to possible Unemployment and disability benefits before they have ever been employeed. It should be a mandate to find such jobs and match these persons to jobs as an active commitment to them.
Hurrah APPLE

#9 Comment By Cindy Montgomery On January 24, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

I wish there were an app that taught communication skills while the kids were playing a game like their peers play, like “Ganster Rio”. I can dream.

#10 Comment By Jeanne M. On March 8, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

Very good article, now how about Apple “hiring” some of those persons buying those apps, who are looking for work?? No one seems to want to touch anything to do with “employment and the differently-abled” too much any more, one main reason why unemployment is so high amongst this group???

#11 Comment By kelly kay wynn On March 8, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

I was not able to find the Special Education section on my iphone. Can anyone help?

#12 Comment By Steven On May 8, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

Nice article

#13 Comment By carol On May 10, 2012 @ 7:37 am

For those of you who are unable to find the Apps – Click on the “special education” link listed in the article.

#14 Comment By Thomas C. Weiss On May 20, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

The disability offerings Apple has and continues to make are the very reason I have just purchased a Mac Mini. At some point, I might be able to afford the iMac I want. Well done, Apple!

#15 Comment By Christina On June 15, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

Go apple. very cool.

#16 Comment By mary ashland On June 23, 2012 @ 11:19 am

It is important to make sure that these devices do not become toys for computer games instead of communication devices. Was advised by several disabl and asst tech experts that you should only have communication tools loaded on the ipad so that the person remains focused on what the real purpose is for the ipad.

#17 Comment By Nmiller On October 10, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

Even though that term is still used, People First Language wishes there to be other terms used. Since they are apps used as assistive technology it should be called that or assistive apps etc…something along those lines.

#18 Comment By Justi On November 13, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

Here is a PDF file that I found that has most off the applications mentioned in it. There are also other resources on this web page.
web page

#19 Comment By Tammy On November 13, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

My son who is diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome loves his iPod Touch and all the apps and videos that are on it. He is very compulsive and we are thankful for the ability to put a restriction on it so that he can not delete the apps. We can’t find a way to restrict him from deleting videos. Unfortunately it is so easy to delete videos. Please make a restriction for this or at least make it more difficult to delete. Thank you.

#20 Comment By Mine is not a toy On January 15, 2013 @ 5:16 am

:-))! GOOD!! It is about time the technology became more then just a toy for adults. I am look for more assistive technology for the android phones etc..Sometimes I can’t find any great tools period… I agree that the name special education is not a good name for it, but we got them to put something there.

#21 Comment By Rudely Interrupted On February 25, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

About time, and another genre for ‘OutsiderArtists’ artists living with disability.. I’ve written applied and spoken to Apple on several occasions. Refused to support our recommendations. Looks like something good is finally happening!

We’re Rudely Interrupted, a rock act from Melbourne Australia. Our vocalist lives with aspergers and was born without eyes, we have a Down syndrome punk rocker and midi operator our drummer lives with chromosomal disorders, but we rock as hard as any of your fav bands..

Come on Apple don’t stop at the App genre listings and support artists living with disability too..

#22 Comment By Gail Harris Perez On March 9, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

After reading the article, I went to my IPad and I found the resources. In reviewing some of the apps, I am impressed and I will have my Special Education Teachers and Related Service Providers review theses apps to see which one can provide supplemental assistances to our special needs students. For those of you who could not find the resources, go to the apple apps store, search special education apps for ipads or iphones and the information is there.

#23 Comment By stefanie On April 26, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

i wish the change the lighting in there stores it so not autism friendly at all

#24 Comment By Cassandra Mesnick On April 30, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

Way to go Apple, I’m a fan!!

#25 Comment By Cheri On May 7, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

I have heard much about how wonderful the ipad is with regard to children/adults with ASD. Unfortunately, many of us consider an ipad a luxury. Great for folks who can afford them but it is not affordable to those on a fixed income.

#26 Comment By Cynthia Burger On May 10, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

I have a niece with CP. She is non-verbal and has limited use of her hands and feet. How can companies that provide technology that have the potential of assisting persons with disabilities…become more accessible?

#27 Comment By Linda Bane On June 7, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

What Apple may not understand that unless these apps are free they are not available to the disabled population. Most have minimal income and the cost is prohibitive.

#28 Comment By Ellen Vickers On July 4, 2013 @ 12:18 am

I am with one of the ladies who said that unless the apps are free we can not afford them it looks like Apple would donate a computer andput the apps in.My granddaughter has cerebal palsy and is so smart but we can not afford a computer for her oh how I wish I could I would buy her one in a heart beat.If Apple would donate her a computer to her they would be blessed 100%.If they could my address is Ellen Vickers 1005 Linden Street Richmond,Kentucky 40475.Please try to find a organization that would help her get a computer and the apps.You just don’t know how smart she is and how frustation for her to try to get to us to understand her and I feel so bad not understanding everything she triesxto say to us.Really you do not know whata difference a computer would help her.God Bless and hope someone out there who has the money can help us.Thank You Ellen Vickers a proud grandmother of a child with cerebal palsy.

#29 Comment By Vicki K On July 11, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

I have looked in the past under Education as well as Special Education in iTunes for the ipad. I have found lots just wish they weren’t so dang expensive…….

#30 Comment By Kim On July 11, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

I don’t understand the problem of the apps being called Special Education.
If it helps people why care if its called Special education!
That’s just being shallow and obiviously you worry what people are thinking about you when you clearly have concerns faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar more important.
With that being said, it NEEDS to be called that so people who NEED it can find it. Instead of some stupid name that cannot be found or cannot be linked to what it really is.
Get with the program people!

#31 Comment By Autism mommy On August 1, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

To Ellen Vickers…you should contact the Hollyrod foundation… The do yearly giveaways of IPads to disabled kids, preloaded with communication apps… Good luck and God Bless :)

#32 Comment By Joann W. On August 13, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

Apple is touting somethings THEY claim are helpful. If I walk into a Verizon store, or the Apple store (and I have) asking what apps are available for the hearing impaired, I get totally blank looks. I get shuffled off to a supervisor who doesn’t know either, but at least admits there are none. I have been told to just put earbuds in and jack the sound levels up. These folks mean well, but I have thousands of dollars of adaptive equipment, and if turning up the volume would have taken care of the problem, I could have saved a lot of money.

Hearing impaired and people who have a tiny bit of hearing left, but are considered deaf–we are out in the cold. If you were a blind person and depended on the voiced commands to move through you using an iPad or iPhone, you would not initially be able to figure out what in the world the device was telling you, and things you want to be able to do or access are not there. Yet again, store personnel just look at you with unknowing stares and shift their feet trying to search their memory for an app that does what you need.

I have been assertively TOLD that “there is an app for that. I can’t find it right now but if you just put in the proper string of search words you can find it.” Guess what, that is not true. There are a few apps, that I can use if I jailbreak my phone. I am not voiding my warrentes just to get an app that may or may not even be useful! There are a lot of assumptions out there by manufacturers and suppliers, but the real truth is, no one asked differently abled people what they need, and, no one wants to say out loud, “There is no app for that. You out of luck.”

Apple you are an underachiever when it comes to serving hearing impaired people, and your claims that your equipment have adaptations is false. Maybe in some executive’s mind there are apps they believe are a whiz bang problem solver, but the real answer, is the blank look on the technician’s face.

If you are going to toot your own horn, at least have a trumpet that works.

#33 Comment By Birdies On October 8, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

What a joke! Call Apple, and you have to explain what a telecoil is. They tell me things like, “There MUST be an app for it, I just don’t have time to read through these.” Well I had time and I called you because I couldn’t find anything for hearing impaired! Apple wants to toot their horn about built in adaptations. You ever get your “i-device” stuck on speaking your selections? It is as easy to use as running a three-legged race! Before people just blankly accept that Apple is actually doing something for people with dissabilities, as your local individual how Apple apps help them!? Right now, ar least for the hearing impaired, it is absent.

#34 Comment By Jeanne M On November 13, 2013 @ 12:48 am

Good for them, now let’s see Apple “hire” some of these ‘differently abled’ folks, who’ve been trying to get employment with them for a number of years. Apps are good but ‘jobs’ are even better.

#35 Comment By GHF On November 19, 2013 @ 11:00 pm

Ellen Vickers,
You don’t mention how old you daughter is. I she is old enough, has your granddaughter signed up with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in your area?
They can buy her a laptop and whatever devices she needs to succeed at school or future employment. They will send an assistive technology expert to evaluate what would help her, set the devices up and train her to use them. OVR offers other help, paying for classes, job assessment, job placement and coaching on the job. You can also research products to help her and request them. Be the squeaky wheel. They can bend their general rules for those who need it as every client has different needs. The government wants their clients to succeed and start paying taxes instead of being supported. Any one with a disability who needs help to be employed should not feel embarrassed to get their help. It is not considered a hand out. It is a smart move to help on the governments part, to make even more money from income tax when the disabled person is employed, then the money they lay out for these services. They are helping my son. My son felt funny accepting the laptop for school. I told him when he graduates and gets a good job he could always donate the money back.

#36 Comment By AzBabs On November 27, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

I have Bulbar onset ALS and am loosing my speech. The Speech Language Department at ASU gave me a list of apps & computer programs that would work for me. I now have an IPad Mini & use Verbally & Flip Writer. Love them! I carry my mini everywhere & it fits in my small purse, so it is always available for use. Hard to find apps for Adults without devepmental delays, but only have speech issues. Way to go Apple! Android has nothing to compare.

#37 Comment By Valentina Hernandez On February 18, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

Then apple should make products much more affordable to families with special needs so these children & adults may benefit from such apps …

#38 Comment By Fayth Boykins On March 4, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

You may find support and help thru CP foundation. We found them to be a tremendous support and advocacy foundation for those children and adults with CP. Also, all Hospitals and other medical services provided thru the Catholic Charities programs here in Va. are a tremendous asset to any community or State. We have a program they provide called Noahs children. They provide out standing Drs who treat CP children , nurses , and will make home visits if the child is not ambulatory. GOD BLESS YOU in pursuit for services for your granddaughter. And email me if I can provide furthur support and resources. GOD creates all people of worth and VALUE . We each weave the tapestry of HIS great story HE is reveal thru human history. And those with challenges teach US SO MUCH about love and how GOD uniquely equips each one of us to function and harmonize to make beautiful music that OFFERS PRAISE AND worship to our creator. Shalom hugs and prayers as GOD opens doors for you and your family. Fayth

#39 Comment By Angela On March 17, 2014 @ 11:22 am

I would love to have it have a section for teachers who want every child to succeed. Apps for diversity of students and accessible curriculum.
With laws relating to core curriculum and accessible instructional materials as well as least restrictive environment this needs to be a consideration for all teachers and administrators .I am glad they are realizing the potential of the apps

#40 Comment By Becky Ogle On July 31, 2014 @ 9:17 am

Can we please agree to stop using ‘special’ to define who we are and our needs? The label ‘special’ separates and is not inclusive. Every child has needs, what makes ours so special? Every adult has needs, what makes mine more special than my able-bodied peers?
Our movement has been about inclusion, independence and empowerment. We can’t be “SPECIAL” and equal. The two don’t fit.

#41 Comment By Elaine Fortune On August 29, 2014 @ 9:56 pm

I would love to apply for something like this.

#42 Comment By KathyL On September 29, 2014 @ 12:17 pm

Please publish the app shown in your article. I know it would benefits my students.

#43 Comment By Carrissa Girbert On November 15, 2014 @ 8:55 am

Way to go Apple! Though I haven’t tried yet to get these App’s or use them, I am very interested in
exploring this possibility for our adult daughter with C.P. (AND I am looking forward to a Future Trip to
Apple Store so individuals there can assist me in this pursuit…By the way–My experience with Apple
Customer Service is ALWAYS over the top! They sincerely want to help! AND are both Patient &
Skillful! AND have spent Hours in assisting this older parent who needs more that her share of
Tech. Support! AND they keep smiling & asking “Is there anything else I can help you with?”
Apple’s WONDERFUL! & always Cutting Edge!)
AND frankly, the term “Special Ed” is VERY HELPFUL in identifying the appropriate app’s. I totally agree
w/”Kim”. One less barrier in attempting to use Technology (having to remember the “current politically
correct” word!) I second Kim’s stance “Get with the program people”. You want ACCESS, Not more
roadblocks–especially in this case with Technology.
What is the range of Cost of these App’s? (some said they were expensive…)
What are the names of the particular ones that people have found helpful? & why?
Thank you. Carrissa from Ohio

#44 Comment By sandra probert On January 27, 2015 @ 5:20 pm

What if you have a apple desktop or mac- what use is the app to these people?

#45 Comment By Mary McAlpine On February 9, 2015 @ 10:03 am

Looking for electronic educational software for MacBook Pro for Augmentative and Alternative Communication user accessing their communication device with HeadMouse Extreme, hands-free mouse and Smart Click with the speech program Speaking Dynamically Pro. Do you have any recommendations? We want to improve conversational speech and life skills while giving independent access to eLearning.
This individual does not have independent access to an iPhone or iPad because their is no USB port to support the Headmouse Extreme. Thanks in advance, Christine and Mary

#46 Comment By marcy london On February 18, 2015 @ 4:52 pm

The title “Special Education” has always bothered me!!!!
(still and I’m 65. . .)

I have mild cerebral palsy and am struggling a bit now because I have always tried to come off
as “normal.” But no one is NORMAL. . . There was no Special Education when I went to school.

My daughter was considered “Gifted” – And that was also Special Education. . .

#47 Comment By melissa toney On April 20, 2015 @ 10:11 am

So sad that at this time “Special Education” is the best title they could come up with . I don’t believe that is appropriate considering children & adults would be using this. I also agree that a list of resources be made- possibly like “Angie’s List” is. That would be very beneficial for all & a short cut to get rid of the guessing game most people have to go through to get information off the internet.

#48 Comment By Dr. Marcie Zinn On May 18, 2015 @ 5:52 pm

OK for Apple, but their products are way too costly for many with disabilities. They could do more good by offering deep discounts.

#49 Comment By Louallnder On July 15, 2015 @ 10:45 am

HI Dar,

If you go under Education, then go to Special Education. I used my iTunes on my computer and didn’t have trouble finding it, it was listed on the right hand side tool bar.


#50 Comment By Serena Dank On September 21, 2015 @ 1:31 pm

Technology such as IPAD IPHONE IPOD have been a life saver for my son who has three disabilities. Having autism and an incurable brain disease he has turned to his eletronics as a comfort and training. He has graduated college has an A+ certificate, worked in quality assurance for eight years, and was let go when he was very ill with his brain disease. Thge electronics mentioned above keep him alert and ready to go back to work. He is currently getting CISCO Networking training in a local college. He needs to go back to work in the electronics field he is do smart. Employers do not understand his capabilities due to his lack of communication. If any one out there can help us I would greatly appreciate it. We live in long Beach California.

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