Special Words is an award winning, tried and tested app that transforms the lives of children with learning disabilities and additional needs.

An invaluable app for visual learners to promote language acquisition, word, picture and sound recognition, speech and sight-reading. An excellent tool for parents, teachers and health professionals.

Designed for communication and language development for early years as well as for older children. Adaptable to any development stage and for adults with learning difficulties or memory impairment.

What parents and professionals say:

“This is without a doubt the best app I have come across for children with special needs. My son signs for more as soon he completes one set of words!” – Helen, parent and teacher.

“I think Special Words is great! I use it at home with my own child who has Down syndrome and at work where I supported a child with autism in school. Both children find it easy to use and get a lot out of it. I find it quick and easy to add my own resources to make it personal and special to each child.” – Angela, learning support assistant.

“Special Words is helping my son to improve his speech, pronunciation, fine motor skills, hand eye co-ordination, recognition of words and objects. The app can be changed to grow with him as his vocabulary expands. It is brilliant for children with additional learning needs.” – Sue, Makaton trainer.

Suitable for use at home, preschool, school and in sessions such as speech therapy and occupational therapy. For home schooling, you can create your own profiles to follow the curriculum and enhance learning.

• Encourage speaking and help with clarity
• Increase sight word vocabulary
• Develop hand-eye co-ordination
• Improve fine motor skills
• Encourage listening and language skills
• Personalise with your own words, photos and audio
• Develop and build confidence
• Easy to monitor progress
• Can be fully customized to grow with your child

You can transfer content to and from our Special Stories App, to extend the learning process even further.

Special Words has been shown to be accessible and hold the attention of children with autism, Down syndrome, poor fine motor skills, hearing impairment and other learning difficulties, as well as being appealing to typically developing children.

Includes 96 pictures and matching written and spoken words in 27 languages. This app can also be controlled using Bluetooth and USB switches.

This is the standard edition of Special Words. For teachers and speech & language professionals we recommend the professional edition, Special Words Pro. With it you can print out the cards for use in paper-based activities. The Pro edition also offers dual control, assessment sheets, and gives you free access to our growing online library of curriculum-related content.

To compare editions, visit

Special iApps is a multi-award-winning non-profit social enterprise that specialises in creating apps for those with learning disabilities and additional needs. All of our apps are developed in association with parents, healthcare and education professionals.

What’s New

Version 4.1.2

• Bug fixes

Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
5 Ratings
5 Ratings
Gina Robbo ,

Great app to support children’s reading skills

Our speech and Language therapist talked about children with Down’s Syndrome learning to read using word matching skills before phonics. This app supports the resources my daughter has been given from S&L.
Could be improved even further by being able to choose your own words and pics.

Developer Response ,

Hello Gina, thanks for your kind review. You can choose your own words and pictures, and it's very easy to do! To add a word, just tap Word List in the bottom bar (tap More first if using an iPhone), then press the + button at the top. You can now type in a word (or short phrase) and take a photo (or select one from your existing photos). To add sound, press the Record Sound button, speak the word(s), and press again.

You can also change the text, picture or sound for any of the 96 supplied words: from the Word List, tap the "i" to the right of the one you want to change.

An alternative to adding to or modifying the existing list is to add more lists of your own. You can copy words between lists, reorder their content, and download more lists for free from our website.

There's lots more in Special Words, including a range of adjustable settings and the ability to exchange lists of words between devices (e.g. from home to school). For details, take a look at the user guide at, and email us at if you or your speech and language therapist have any questions.

Colin, Special iApps.

MintyGreen2 ,

Excellent for a child with learning difficulties!

My 4 year old son has down syndrome and was using the printed versions of the material on this app from the DSE website. I also gave a copy to school. Working with the printed versions he would get distracted if I took too long to set all the cards up or would throw them on the ground, chew them etc. However using this app is excellent because it's so interactive & immediate. I especially love that you can create your own words in seconds. Also as well as the text and picture you have also got the spoken word. I even recorded a few new words with a recording of his voice for the object which he absolutely loves. I have also purchased the other app made by the same people call Special stories which I also can't recommend enough. I bought an iPad specifically to buy & use these apps and it was worth every single penny. Even after a few days of using these apps Ive noticed an improvement in his speech.

Smurfette suggsy ,

Fantastic!! Buy buy buy buy

I read about this app in the DSA newsletter. I bought it not really thinking much about it. My 4 year old daughter who has DS just loves it, she is now able to match all the standard pics to pics, words to pics, pics to words and words to words. Tonight I realised I could add my own words, pics and voice. So tomorrow she is waking up to all the family, Peppa pig and friends and coloured shapes. Also as she starts in reception in September she will be learning to read the oxford learning tree books. I have therefore put some of the first characters on the app, Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy. It is a must buy, AMAZING Value for money. I can't wait to see what they may develop for the next stage!!! :-)


Special iApps C.I.C.
60 MB

Requires iOS 8.2 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.


English, Afrikaans, Albanian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Icelandic, Italian, Luxembourgish, Norwegian Bokmål, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Welsh

Age Rating
Rated 4+
© 2011-2018 Special iApps C.I.C.


  • Family Sharing

    Up to six family members will be able to use this app with Family Sharing enabled.

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