Motivate Kids With Special Needs: First & Then App

motivate kids with special needs first and then ipad app


App: First & Then

Developer: Alisha Forrest, KidEx

Platform: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Price: $1.99  First & Then – Alisha Forrest

Category: Behavioral App / Visual Schedule App


Do This Before That

Getting kids to do something they don’t care for might seem impossible.  But, the occupational therapist who designed the First & Then app makes this challenge just a little bit easier!  Using visuals and a timer, First & Then helps you motivate kids with special needs.

First & Then helps children understand the concept of:

– First, you have to do something you consider undesirable.

– Then, you get to do something you like!

Autistic children sometimes get fixated on doing only activities they enjoy, so this app will be sure to help them through tasks they don’t particularly like.


kids with special needs app


Kids who are autistic find it challenging to understand the “first, then” concept. They don’t enjoy having to do something they don’t like before doing something they prefer. However, this is a much needed lesson that will see them through their school career and even further.

The first activity might include doing homework, eating a vegetable, or picking up their toys.  The second activity is likely to be something like playing with a favorite toy, going to the park, watching a favorite television show, or eating dessert!


First & Then is Easy to Use

The app is simple and easy to use. The first screen asks you to insert pictures that occur “first” and  “then.”

You can either choose photos from the First & Then Library, choose images from your own photo library, or take your own photos using your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.




First & Then prompts you to select an image from a number of pre-loaded pictures to insert in the “first” screen and the “then” screen.




If you select from the First & Then Library, the app displays a number of images for you to choose from.



Once you select your picture for each board, it is ready to display.


Visuals Helps Motivate Kids With Special Needs

A colored timer helps kids visually see how long they should spend on each activity. There will be times set for both the “first” and the “then” screens.

Time is represented by a colorful pie chart.  This visual support helps kids by turning green to indicate that the child must keep going.  The pie turns amber to tell the child that they need to finish the task soon.  And, when the pie turns red the child will know it’s time to stop the task.

The app includes interactivity by allowing the children to drag their activity into the “Finished Box” after they have completed it.




First & Then succeeds as an app that will motivate kids with special needs by providing them with a “reward” for completing a less preferred activity.  They will soon understand you have to first work before you can play!


Want to Get This App?


First & Then – Alisha Forrest


*Discover the Secrets to Finding Great Special Needs Apps


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4 Responses to Motivate Kids With Special Needs: First & Then App

  1. Sarah on October 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I am looking for the First & & Then app for a student I am working with. This app does not come up when I search for it in my apps, nor can I download it from your site.
    Can you please help?
    I would LOVE this app to help with a student.
    Many thanks,
    Sarah Hubbard

  2. Lorraine Allen on October 9, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I really like the app but there are no photos in the First Then That Photo library .
    Can you help please?

  3. Martin Male on June 10, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    We are looking at First & Then for several students however we use Android devices. Is there or is there going to be this app available for the Android devices?

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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.