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
• Personalize 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 specializes 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

jdavin ,


This app is excellent and very practical. Our son has Down syndrome and he is learning to read using the Learning Program which is based off of Sue Buckley and Patricia Logan Oelwein's work research. This app allows some of these principals to be executed without all the work. It also helps with review and carry over between home and school. Personalizing the words is a very smart option. The only thing I wish was an option is... That when matching word to picture that it isn't read to the child. At this point of instruction some children can use there recall skills to demonstrate knowledge of the word and comprehension... Versus recognizing. I wish that tier could be scaffolded. This way you would know if the child can think for themselves. I'd like the option. The other thing I think would be great is for the app to have it pair with an electronic book, preferably customized from the language of the child. Great start and I see lots of great things coming from this app.

Developer Response ,

Hello, thanks for your feedback. You can use one of the many settings we added to the app to prevent the sound being played in this way. Go to Word List > action button (top right) > Settings, and turn off "Play Before Match". Our "Special Stories" app is probably what you're looking for as a companion electronic book - you can copy content between the apps in both directions.

annova ,

Customize for iPhone users

My child with Down syndrome learned to read a few dozen sight words at 2 years old through a basic flash card app. I bought this app by recommendation of our developmental pediatrician to help his speech clarity, expand his vocabulary, and add more sight words. I like that I can add words and custom pictures. But we almost always are trying to use it on my iPhone and the words and boxes are just too small! Please add a customization to change the box size, or at least an option to rotate the screen and increase the fonts to readable size on our smaller-than-iPad devices. It's what we have with us all the time so we will get more practice of we can see them better. Thanks for making such a great app for visual readers!

Frances Amato ,

Top App For Students With Disabilities

Dear Special iApps,
Your application special words is one of the best applications on the whole market today
After using special words for five minutes, I realized how useful and wonderful of a program it was. Work tasks that took me hours to create and differentiate were at my hands at the stroke of my I-pad. Your ability to create flawless learning in such a manner is wonderful. I had two of my students working with your program, the results were just amazing. It was a self motivating task in which they not only learned pictures and words but to control fine and gross motor skills in order to manipulate I-pad with the program.
Thank you for everything. For becoming a non-profit organization and producing this amazing application. Thank you so much!!!


Ms. Frances Amato


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

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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