10 Free iPad Apps For Children With Special Needs

I’ve decided today, instead of reviewing a single app in depth, to give you guys a list of 10 Free iPad Apps for Children With Special Needs.  I hope that you find a couple of applications that are perfect for your unique child, and that he enjoys using these apps just as much as you enjoy watching him learn and grow!

ten free ipad apps for children with autism


If you like this post, please check out my recent article on the top 10 AAC apps under $30

Free iPad Apps List

See.Touch.Learn By Brain Parade


10 free ipad apps for children with special needs


See.Touch.Learn is one of the top free iPad apps for children with special needs.  Below is a review from a parent of a five year old autistic son.

I have been reading the questions aloud to my autistic son, instead of using the recorded voice. I like that option a LOT. We need him to focus on a human face speaking, and this is a great way. He is also nonverbal at age 5, and I am getting him to mouth or approximate the words or use sign to repeat what I just asked him to touch. He wants to touch the right picture and he makes eye contact with me or the SLP and really REAALLY listens to what we are asking him to touch, select or press. After a couple of short sessions with him twice a day over three days his ABA therapist mentioned how focused he was on her at their session today and how he made constant eye contact and listened to her requests. She did not know we had started using an iPad. He hit 100% correct responses with her over a 2 hour session! This is great and not the norm! The only different thing I have done is use the iPad and the apps from A4cwsn app party, primarily yours, as recommmended by the SLP. It is super motivating for him. Thanks for a great app

See.Touch.Learn is an app that takes picture cards to a whole new level and applies the concept to a great iPad application, designed by behavior analysts specifically for kids with special needs.  You can use the included cards, purchase and download new ones, and make up your own in this highly customizable free iPad app.  (English)

Download See.Touch.Learn for Free



10 free ipad apps for children with special needs


TapToTalk is an in-depth, free AAC application.  For more information, and a link to the free download, check out my previous post on TapToTalk. (English)

Model Me Going Places


10 free ipad apps for children with special needs


Model Me Going Places is a wonderful application that gets kids prepared for social situations that seem frightening of foreign to them.  For an in-depth review of this free iPad app for children with special needs and a link to the free download, check out my post on Model Me Going Places. (English)

Talk Assist


10 free ipad apps for children with special needs


Talk Assist by Mubaloo is a wonderful iPad-compatible app that is similar to SpeakIt!, and allows your child to type, and then speak something via his iPad or iPhone.

Inspired by Les, Talk Assist is an alternative speech aid that provides a voice for people who cannot speak for themselves.

Using Text to Speech technology, anything you type in will be spoken out loud for others to hear. Phrases will be saved to a history, and favorite phrases can be bookmarked for regular use. (English)


Download Talk Assist on iTunes

Splatter HD


10 free ipad apps for children with special needs


Splatter HD is an extremely fun app that lets kids paint randomly or make a picture.  For an in-depth review and link to a free download, check out my post on Splatter HD.  (English)

Autism Xpress


10 free ipad apps for children with special needs


While AutismXpress does seem to have mixed reviews, it’s a free application that allows kids to verbalize their feelings, though some would argue that most of the things shown on the application are not actually feelings.  Also, hiccupy is spelled incorrectly on the app, but we’re not complaining, because it is one of the best free iPad apps for children with special needs.

The ‘Autism Xpress’has been created to help promote greater awareness about autism spectrum disorders. It is designed to encourage people with autism to recognizes and express their emotions through its fun and easy to use interface.


Download Autism Xpress for Free


Talking Tom Cat 2


10 free ipad apps for children with special needs


Talking Tom Cat 2, the sequel to the beloved application, is an all-time favorite of many kids who have autism, making it one of the best free ipad applications for children on the spectrum.  Tom repeats what you say, gets into pillow fights, and reacts to your touch. (English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish)
Talking Tom Cat 2 for iPad – Out Fit 7 Ltd.

Virtuoso 2 HD Free


10 free ipad apps for children with special needs


The free HD version of Virtuoso 2 allows kids who have special needs to play their hearts out on a digital piano.  Whether they actually play music or just enjoy the noise, this app is surely one of the top 10 free iPad apps for children with special needs. (English)

Download Virtuoso 2 Free HD

Pocket Penguins


10 free ipad apps for children with special needs


The Pocket Penguins free iPad application will have kids who love animals entranced – the California Academy sciences have a camera streaming live video of penguins from a zoo straight to your iPad for free!  Watch them any time, anywhere!  (English, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish)

Download Pocket Penguins for Free on iPad

ABC PocketPhonics Lite


10 free ipad apps for children with special needs


In addition to letter tracing, ABC PocketPhonics has the ability to teach kids with special needs phonics – sounds that letters make.  The application helps kids put these sounds together to form words, and has goofy pictures to go along with the reading and writing fun of this free ipad app for children with special needs!  (English)

Download ABC PocketPhonics Lite for Free


*Discover the Secrets to Finding Great Special Needs Apps

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76 Responses to 10 Free iPad Apps For Children With Special Needs

  1. pauline downs on September 13, 2011 at 6:59 am

    would love one for my son he is 6 with autism

    • Jack Kieffer on September 14, 2011 at 6:23 am

      I’m raising money to buy iPads and iPhones for kids with special needs, but only have $20 thus far plus some Google Adsense money, but this post has increased my pageviews so much that things are looking up! I still only have $20 though… :)

      • angeladavidson on October 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm

        my son has autium to i live in a small town if you ever get the funding you need can you help us with an ipad or phone thank you so much i think this will help my son

        • Jack Kieffer on October 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm

          Hi Angela, Stay tuned, because I am aiming to publish a page containing funding sources for things like iPads and other equipment to help meet the needs of our special friends. Hope it helps!

        • alma burkhart on August 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm

          im not sure about florida but i have a friend in mississippi and medicaid paid for her sons ipad. but it was ordered by his school. i also have a grand child who has autism spectrum in florida so we will be checking this out also she is only two not school age but i use my iphone with her and she loves it.

          • anne-marie on January 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

            it is very hard to get medicaid to pay for a ipad u basiciclly need a non verbal non talking child but if u r on the emap list for kids with autism so wen thier name comes up on the list there is funding for that.

      • Pam on June 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

        We had a fundraiser for my daughter. She has Down Syndrome, and she is really responding well to the apps.

        • Jack Kieffer on June 13, 2012 at 5:42 pm

          Hi Pam – that’s great to hear! I’m glad she’s doing well with the new technology :)

    • Candace on November 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm

      my lil brother has autism and we dont have the money to buy him an ipad. in his life skills class they use them all the time and we can tell at him this teacher tells us that he uses the one at school att the time and i know that it helps him communicate with everyone and it helps with his motor skills.i realy wish that we had the money to buy on for him

  2. peta perrie on September 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Our daughter Mia is 4 she has angelman syndrome. We put a few apps on my phone and she has responded really well. I think it would be fantastic for her communication needs as she has no speech. Yes/No app proved to be a winner, I’d love her to have one of her own so she can use it all of the time.

    • Jack Kieffer on September 14, 2011 at 6:21 am

      Hi Peta, that’s great to hear! I will do a review on the Yes/No app, as your testimony makes it credible :)

  3. asha taylor on September 14, 2011 at 5:51 am

    i would love my daughter scarlett to have one of these as she like to look at things and reacts well to touching she has cerebal palsy

    • Jack Kieffer on September 14, 2011 at 6:22 am

      Hi Asha, yes, she would probably do very well with an iPad, I’m sure :)

  4. Eva Payan on September 15, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Hello, I have a 7 yr old autistic son named Gabriel =) and I thank God everyday for blessing me with such a unique, handsome, lovable son like him. He attends speech therapy twice a week and when he does well the therapist allows him to play a game on her IPAD. Gabriel just loves and enjoys playing those games on the IPAD, his smile and laugh lights up the room when he knws he’s winning some how. He now ask me consistently if I could buy him one but unfortunetly its out of my reach at this moment.

    • Anonymous on November 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      Miss Eva,


  5. Top 10 AAC iPhone and iPad Apps Under $30 on September 17, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    […] 10 AAC iPhone and iPad Apps Under $30September 17, 2011By Jack KiefferTweet TweetMy previous list post on the top free iPad apps for children with special needs fared extremely well, receiving thousands […]

  6. Jeremy on September 19, 2011 at 6:03 am

    I created a small application for iPad for my son (who has Down Syndrome), because I wanted a specific tool for him to learn new words and a lot of the existing iPad apps were either too complicated, or were flawed when it came to accidental presses etc (and I just happened to be a game developer :)

    It’s here if anyone is interested, though be aware it’s sold for 99 cents. I’m not trying to make a huge amount on it, just cover my costs.


    The issue with my son with man apps, was #1 distraction – if there were too many extra animations and such – and #2 if buttons could be accidentally pressed. I’ve designed it in such a way that it mimics a mechanical device, if that makes sense, so only one button can be pressed at a time.

    Anyway, he has responded to it quite well, so I’ll likely develop it further. My goal once I’ve covered my costs is to release it for free, so hopefully that will happen eventually.

    • Tanya on April 9, 2012 at 4:24 am

      Dear Jeremy,
      I really hope that you get your costs covered soon, and all our special angels get to use this app, where in your knowledge has helped it being created.
      Awaiting for many more such free resourcefull apps.

    • Nancy Martinelli on December 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      I went to the site but there is no app through i tunes. Where can I get the app. I have a son 18 with Down Syndrome and am looking for appropriate apps at this point. Thank you.

  7. Jeremy on September 19, 2011 at 6:05 am

    above: “man apps” = “most apps” !

  8. Useful Web Links | Andrew Hall | Consultant Head on September 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    […] 10 Free iPad Apps For Children With Special Needs http://www.autismpluggedin.com/2011/09/10-free-ipad-apps-for-children-with-special-needs.html […]

  9. olga torres on October 5, 2011 at 6:02 pm


    • Jack Kieffer on October 10, 2011 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Olga, I will be adding a Page dedicated to funding sources for iPads in the next week or so. Please check back. Thanks for visiting Autism Plugged In.

  10. Lisa Mcnett on November 1, 2011 at 7:28 am

    I have a son with autism and i seen on the news how the ipad helps with education and speech.I am always looking for ways to help teach my son.I live in a very small town and they have no special programs for him so it’s up to me to find ways to help educate him.how do i get a free ipad?

  11. Kim on November 14, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Is there an app to help develop critical thinking or higher level communication? For example, my son acts out at school. He can tell me that he acts out because he is sad, but he can’t tell me why he is sad. Any apps or help u food suggest would b greatly appreciated. Please respond via email.


    • Jack Kieffer on November 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks for your question. It sounds like an AAC app might be helpful for your son. Check out this link of AAC apps: http://www.autismpluggedin.com/2011/09/top-10-aac-iphone-and-ipad-apps-under-30.html These types of apps help kids communicate using pictures that represent ideas such as: I Want or I Need, or I Want You To … There are also emotions that are depicted using pictures, and feelings such as Headache, or Feel Sick, etc. Check out some of these apps reviewed at the above link and see if one of them might be a good fit. Good luck! API

  12. Aron on November 15, 2011 at 9:36 am

    that’s just great that such apps exist to help those kids to educate and communicate

  13. alonso orozco on December 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    we got the opportunity to grow a AUTISTIC boy since 1.5 years we detected w/ help of professionals , since then we try to support him and help him on everything as possible, now is 3.5 yrs, few months ago we get the opportunity to borrow a TABLET, was AWESOME! our child did not need special instructions..he start to play , open apps and since then OUR child is more TECH SKILLED on computers /gadgets and was a big tech-leap….and more communicative …if may i say ….,is a great bless the work you are doing on this blog! thanks!!

  14. Valencia Woolfolk on January 11, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Hello, my child is Autistic special Educated student he also has a mental as well as physical disability which has held him back from attending outdoor /public school due to the peer pressure from other students as well as teeachers. Currently he attends K-12, and that tablet will help him a great deal with his education level.

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  16. Mechelle Blackmon on March 2, 2012 at 8:42 am

    My three year old daughter had fluid behnd her ears and it affected her speech. She takes speech at the optium life center once a week. They have an ipad there and she copies the tom cat,the wheel on the bus,and alot of other apps on it.It truly helps her. I would like to get her one so she can get the extra help with it at home,but I just don’t have the money to buy one.

  17. victor on March 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Thank you this useful post, Im a 10 year windows pc user and my wife’s uncle is giving us his ipad 1 from 2010, Im not familiar with mac os or the ipad but Im glad I found this website for free apps, Any other freebies ?

    Anyways thank you this post very useful and great app selection

  18. Mary Nieblas on March 19, 2012 at 12:32 am

    My 12 year old son’s speech is getting to the point that he can no longer talk to his mom or dad anymore, which results with huge tantrums and anger. And finally me having to pick him up from school day after day. I have heard that the i pad is a tool that helps children talk. Please put me in touch with someone willing to donate this magic machine for my son. 12 years of in school and private speech have only got my son this far. Please help us.

  19. robin deutsch on March 25, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    There is another app that teaches both social and life skills to autistics and other special needs individuals. my son is the one who created it. he is also autistic as is his sister. We ha

    ve been working with different autism groups as well as talking with the university of washington. it is called life skills winner. besides being available for the ipad it is also available for the android market and soon for the web. please check out life skills winner

  20. Gail Gardner on June 14, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I have a daughter who has spina bifida and can not speak. I am looking for a free IPAD for her for I can not afford to buy her on. Can you help me find one?
    Thank you

  21. Stacy Haller on June 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Can you download these to an IPOD touch? It would seem you would beable to do so and I just bought a used one for my 3yr. old who has Autism.

    • Jack Kieffer on June 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      Hi Stacy – any app that works on the iPhone will work on an iPod Touch given that you regularly update your software :)

  22. Nick Marks on June 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I wanted to share with you a perfect educational tool for children with Autism. I hope you can give this app a chance.


  23. lucy on July 14, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for all the apps for me to check out.
    i wanted to share with you a great ipad home button protectin cover that i’ve discovered that is stopping my son keep hitting the home button while we are on an app.
    check out http://www.bubcaps.co.uk
    they have versions for the ipad/ipod touch and iphone and i’ve never looked back
    Lucy xxx

    • Jack Kieffer on July 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation. Readers, have you used bobcats or something similar? Share your experience with us!

  24. […] are representative of the words below them, and there are tons of pictographs to choose from!  The app is free, and it’s just put together very nicely, thanks to the people over at Android in London.How […]

  25. […] children are expected to have more complex interaction with written material.Fortunately, there are numerous apps that may be able to help children on the spectrum balance their advanced reading and decoding […]

  26. Annika on August 19, 2012 at 7:14 am

    My son could barely talk, then I thought, “Well, if he can’t speak with his voice, then maybe he can “speak” with his hands”. I then looked for resources to teach my son and I sign language but found nothing. Then I stumbled upon “Signing Time”. Not only now can my son sign his needs and wants now, but it actually helped him with his speech and increased the number of words he can say. It’s not a cure, but at least it helps while he is still working on his speech in speech therapy and he no longer gets violent because of his frustration at not being able to communicate. http://www.signingtime.com (They have apps too: Signing Time ASL – Sign Language and Potty Training Time)

    • Jack Kieffer on August 19, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Hi Annika – thanks for sharing this app! I’ll definitely check it out

  27. […] With Tons of Interactive FeaturesMiffy Goes Flying is an app that is a little bit pricier than some that we feature on Autism Plugged In, but you get what you pay for.  The actual “story” about Miffy is a solid length, so […]

  28. Amy Smith on August 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Hi. I teach children with special needs ages 18mo-5yrs old. We have been awarded one ipad per class through a grant. However, we MUST track student progress based on the ipad use. Any apps that do THAT for each individual child? Or any great ideas?? Thanks! Amy

    • Jack Kieffer on August 29, 2012 at 6:37 am

      Hi Amy – if you’re looking to track behavioral progress for all your kids, then I’d check these out:



      Let me know if this was what you were looking for!

      • Amy Smith on August 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm

        I was looking for an app to chart/track progress in various “domain areas” fine motor, receptive/expressive language, academics/cognitive, social skills etc. I am fortunate in that our school employs a BCBA & ABA techs who take care of the behavioral component & we, the teachers, implement the plan & the bcba & aba’s come to help or monitor & adjust. But I will, nonetheless check out the links, as all kids have stuff to work on, and hey, don’t we grown ups have stuff to work on too??? ;) Thanks for the help. I did find “data tracker” and experimented with it today, just not exactly sure of all the ins & outs yet.

    • Jack Kieffer on August 29, 2012 at 6:39 am

      Or, if you’re talking about tracking how well they are working with different apps on the iPad, let me know and I’ll find something!

  29. […] Educational Game for Kids HD If you liked this list, you may also be interested in reading “10 Free iPad Apps For Children With Special Needs” #af-form-367969412 .af-body .af-textWrap{width:98%;display:block;float:none}#af-form-367969412 […]

  30. vicky on October 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    i have a grandson whos 3 and not speaking hes has some services in maine but limited they think he has got appricia thats what his worker has said this would help us open the door for him so much and we know he wants to tell us stuff but not able to tell us thank you vicky gilmore please help us open his world

    • Jack Kieffer on October 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Vicky, We wish you and your grandson all the best! This list of 10 free iPad apps is a good place to start if you have an iPad or iPhone. If you have an Android device or phone, there are great FREE apps available for those as well, including iToucan Talk. Good luck! — Jack

  31. 20 Autism Apps That Are Free! - Autism Plugged In on November 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    […] on YouTubeDevelopersSuggest AppsPress20 Autism Apps That Are Free!By Jack Kieffer TweetOur “10 Free iPad Apps for Children With Special Needs” post was so incredibly popular, that Autism Plugged In has created a new list of “20 […]

  32. sarah on November 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    my son has autisum and he need a way to talk no one herenever helps us here and my son has a hard time talking and he throws a fit because he cant talk can u guys help me get him an i pad thanks

  33. […] Unfortunately, apps such as the AutisMate, with its personalized features and information library come with a hefty price tag—$149. Not swayed by the cost of the app? Not to worry, it is possible to find numerous amounts of other apps that provide the same features and are available for free. […]

  34. Great Apps for Kids! Check it Out! on April 18, 2013 at 9:01 am

    […] Another listing: 10 Free iPad apps for Children with Special Needs […]

  35. Vanessa L grant on April 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I am the mother of a 22 year old autistic son. QSAC recently sent this website to me and as I look at all the wonderful things people have been doing makes me feel happy.
    It’s not a easy job raising a son with autism alone. However, by the grace of God we are surviving.
    The idea of a I-Pad for my son if not to late would be greatly appreciated.

    Vanessa Grant

  36. uk tablet shop on September 30, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    It is nice to see that technology is helping the lives of those who required extra help. I remember to see in the BBC news about how hospitals are using apps and games for children so they know what they are suffering from. Instead of giving them a leaflet about the treatment and how they bodies behave they offer apps/games to they can play and understand the body organism.

  37. Candelaria Gutierrez on October 24, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Iam a widow, single mom with two boys who are twin brothers both have Autism and sure could use this type of help with free ipads how do I apply to try and receive some help with this , it would really help my 6 year old boys

    Thanks, a very needed mommy

  38. tassie on October 28, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Can this work on any tablet?

    • Jack Kieffer on October 28, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Which app are you asking about – specifically? Most of these work on iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone, and iPod touch.

  39. Free Ipad Apps And Autism | Get Your iPad Now on September 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    […] 10 Free iPad Apps For Children With Special Needs – Autism … – These 10 free ipad apps for children with special needs are great for kids with autism, or other special needs. List includes games, reading and writing… […]

  40. Free Ipad Kids With Autism | Get Your iPad Now on September 25, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    […] 10 Free iPad Apps For Children With Special Needs – Autism … – These 10 free ipad apps for children with special needs are great for kids with autism, or other special needs. List includes games, reading and writing… […]

  41. […] 10 Free iPad Apps For Children With Special Needs – Autism … – These 10 free ipad apps for children with special needs are great for kids with autism, or other special needs. List includes games, reading and writing… […]

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Who’s Behind Autism Plugged In?

Who’s Behind Autism Plugged In?

My name is Jack Kieffer and I'm a blogger sharing my love of technology at blogs like Cool Gizmo Toys, Greenamajigger, and here at Autism Plugged In where I'm trying to make a difference in the lives of children with autism.

Several years ago, I began volunteering with special needs kids, who gave me much joy and an appreciation for life. This blog is my way of giving back. Any proceeds from this effort are used to support my friends with autism. Read more about Jack or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.