iPads in Special Education

This blog post includes information from the hands-on training day, provided to  teachers and educators from a cluster of schools in NSW on December 19th, 2013. It includes important references and links for participants, but like all things in Spectronics – we are happy for you to read and share with all!

Information has been compiled by the Spectronics Consultancy Team. Please email us on mail@spectronicsinoz.com if you need any further information.


While we like to recommend lots and lots of favourite apps, many times it is not about having lots of apps. Really, it is about having a few really good ones. Ones that you can use to create your own materials. When you create your own teaching and learning materials, it means that they are relevant, age appropriate, specific, motivating and most importantly, they suit you, your classroom and your students! Blog post about this: Creation Tools for the iPad. Apps that are easy to use and have lots of sharing and publishing features.


1. Book Creator

Book Creator

Today’s demonstration: Create a recipe book.

Ideas from the participants for using Book Creator: social stories, recipes, Books to share with families, spelling words, community access social story, art lessons, visual timetable, reading books, recounts, literacy activities, Physical education: How to play the game/activity, counting, sequencing, science experiments, modelling playing and sharing, maths lesson.


2.  Bitsboard

Bitsboard PRO

Today’s demonstration: Sentences and speech cards

Ideas from the participants for using BitsBoard: learning peers names/faces, learning ABC/blends, matching numerals to dots, shape recognition, learning colours, learning feelings/emotions, cooking, class books, choice making, new theme vocabulary, number.


 3. PixNTell

Pixntell EDU

Today’s demonstration: Create a schedule video for Getting ready for school

Ideas from the participants for using PixNTell: visual timetable, recount, “how to”, favourite things, social stories, behaviour, class rules, schedules, handwriting, changes to routine.


4. iMovie


Today’s demonstration: Create a video model of Packing away the toys

Ideas from the participants for using iMovie: class books, Year in Review – student or class videos , unit work, behaviour, social stories, recount (excursion), self assessment, peer assessment, concert rehearsal, movies on specific KLAs, “how to” – video model to teach life skills.


5. Proloquo2Go


Todays demonstration:  Create a Holiday communication board

Ideas from the participants for using Proloquo2Go: choices, activity boards, asking questions, taking a quiz/survey, schedules, social stories, core word learning for independent generation, sentence building, making positive and negative comments, greetings, taking messages to office, recounts, telling news, talking about favourite things, calls out the test questions, learning new vocab, sight words, early spelling.

FOLLOW this LINK for all the information you need on using and implementing Proloquo2Go. Includes slides, handouts, blog links, links to training webinars, etc. etc.



APP Smackdown

Sit back, relax… here are some of the latest team favourite apps that can be used in the Special Education Classroom!



AAC APPS:  Blog Post: App Feature Matching: An Essential Step! And for an overview of some current and useful AAC apps, please check out the blog post compiled by the Spectronics Consultancy team: Spectronics APPraised AAC Apps.

AAC APPS (Symbol Based) suggestions:

TouchChat HD – AAC
Sono Flex
Sounding Board

AAC APPS (Text-based) suggestions:

ClaroCom Pro UK

Blog post: don’t forget about Multi-modal Communication!

Create your own “low-tech” symbol boards in Boardmaker and use with favourite apps! 


Use with this fun app:

Toca Kitchen Monsters


Blog post: Apps for Speech and Language Development

Special Words
My playhome


ChooseIt Maker 3
Cause & Effect Sensory Light Box
Pepi Bath
Train Tracker
Bumper Cars
Inclusive Smarty Pants
Aunty Maggie’s Recipe
Peeping Musicians
Big Bang Pictures
Big Bang Patterns
Toca Boca Tea Party
Toca Tailor
Toca Kitchen
Mr. Potato Head Create and Play
Bugs and Buttons
Bugs and Bubbles

Website links:





Blog Post: Using the iPad to support Key Word Sign and this webinar.

RIDBC Auslan Tutor: Key Signs
Auslan to go
Book Creator

Website links:





Useful Strategies include: Social Stories, Positive Behaviour Supports, Video Modelling, Rewards, Visual tools: times, routines, schedules.

Blog links: Video Modelling for visual learners Blog post on Social Stories

Explain Everything
PuppetPals HD
Sharing Timer
Token Board
Calm Talk
Calm Counter



Blog links: Apps for Phonics and webinars on Spectronics Online.

First Words Deluxe
Tap the Cat
Oz Phonics 1
Oz Phonics 2
Oz Phonics 3
Word Wizard
Montessori Crosswords
LetterSounds1 Pro



Clicker Sentences
Clicker Docs
Clicker Books

These work with Clicker 6 software.


Blog Post: Hot topic: Workflows

Oral presentation with:

Clicker Docs
Puppet Pals 2

Information Report with Simple Wikipedia, then:

Idea Sketch
Book Creator

Sequencing with Camera, then:

Explain Everything

Recount with Camera, then:

Book Creator



Discover new apps via an app:

i.AM Search
Autism Apps
AppStar Picks


Using Social Media

Need to find more? Want to connect with others who are implementing iPads in their schools and exploring the use of the wide range of apps available? Using the time-honoured strategies of occasional conference attendance, as funds are available, or listserve participation or surfing the net is simply no longer enough

However the collection of freely available resources and valuable time-sensitive advice for special education teachers and those supporting struggling students has grown exponentially on social media channels – supporting building of powerful Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) without geographic boundaries.

A comprehensive overview of these online resources and networks, including Facebook Groups, Twitter hashtags, blogs and key influencers in the field around special education and learning is available via this link bit.ly/Ss4e28

App icons for building your Special Education and Learning Support Professional Learning Networks
In the past special educators and learning support teams have been less enthusiastic than their mainstream peers in embracing social media to build powerful, extended PLNs. It is time to accelerate and expand the adoption of these tools by special educators, to connect with like-minded colleagues globally.


If you want to know more about iPad Basics then watching the 101 webinar is highly recommended: iPad Basics 101 (iOS6) and iPads Basics 101 (iOS7).

Please follow these links to more information about Accessibility on your iPad



More accessibility information via the Spectronics Blog:

Accessibility Icon


Alternative Access


Additional accessories such as durable cases, speakers, mounts, switch interfaces, keyguards and styluses can also help to make the iPad more accessible for your students. A range of links for these can be found on our Accessories Page

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About Amanda Hartmann

Amanda is a Speech Pathologist with over 17 years experience. She has worked within educational settings, and currently divides her time between her busy private practice and as an Inclusive Technology Consultant with Spectronics www.spectronics.com.au.

Amanda is a Key Word Sign/Makaton Presenter, an official Proloquo2Go trainer www.assistiveware.com/amanda-hartmann and an official expert TBoxApps Trainer for Therapy Box. She is also a certified Apple Trainer and regularly runs iPad workshops to help schools integrate iPad technology into the classroom, for all learners.

Amanda has a special interest in supporting and developing communication, literacy and learning for a wide range of diverse learners, often through the use of visual tools, sign language and technology. She has spent many years providing therapy support and teacher/parent training in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for students with complex communication needs, due to disabilities such as: Cerebral palsy and other Physical impairments, Visual impairment, Hearing impairment, Autism, Down Syndrome, Fragile X, Intellectual Impairment, Angelman Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and others. She also has specialist knowledge to support the literacy learning of students with learning difficulties, language impairments and other diverse learning needs. She is passionate about providing interactive and engaging presentations to educators, parents and therapists.

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