Best apps for neurodivergent students & caregivers

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Neurodivergent on June 27, 2022
There are a multitude of text-to-speech apps that you can use online. Searching Google will show you hundreds of results but we've curated only the top 5.

    Being someone who is neurodivergent or a caregiver of someone who has a learning disability can be a challenging experience. Communicating with others, keeping track of tasks and appointments, and managing time are all things that can be extremely difficult for neurodivergent students, even when they excel in other areas. In the past, these weaknesses defined children and boxed them into archaic special education classes that didn’t meet their unique needs.

    Now, assistive technology can help neurodivergent children, like those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD, develop language skills, improve their executive functioning, wake up and manage their day, and more. Apps with text-to-speech capabilities, language assistance, visual cues, and other adaptive technologies can give students with disabilities the opportunity to communicate with people and engage in activities in ways they haven’t previously been able to.

    What Are the Best Smartphone & iPad Apps For Neurodiversity?

    There are a lot of smartphone apps for neurodiverse students and their caregivers currently on the market and it can be challenging to know which of these offer the most benefit. You may have read reviews on social media or your friends may have recommended apps for you to try, but you’re just not sure if you should pull the trigger. Here are some of the best apps for neurodivergent students and caregivers and how to decide which app purchases to make.

    Best Apps For Autistic Children

    Autistic children are some of the brightest, most creative kids, but they often struggle with sensory input and overstimulation. They may misunderstand social cues and have difficulty completing self-care tasks. Smartphone apps can give autistic students tools to communicate and give their caregivers resources to support them better. Here are some of the top autism apps to consider:

    • Autism Tracker Pro: Track and Analyze ASD. The Autism Tracker Pro: Track and Analyze ASD app helps parents track symptoms, behaviors, mealtimes, medications, and solutions on a daily basis. Caregivers can create reports and look at trends to see how an autistic child is developing.

    • Otsimo. Otsimo offers ad-free access to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and more than 100 educational games that are adjustable to the child’s difficulty level.

    • Miracle Modus. Miracle Modus is a great app that can help prevent a meltdown or intervene in one with soft music and hypnotic visuals that quickly and easily calm overstimulated children down.

    Best Mobile Apps For Kids With ADHD

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a type of neurodivergence that impairs executive function and the ability to focus for significant periods of time or on tasks that are not interesting or engaging. Mobile apps with productivity features can help students with ADHD stay on track with daily tasks and help them build mindfulness skills that improve their attention span.

    • HeadSpace. HeadSpace is a mindfulness and relaxation app that helps children get more sleep and learn how to relax their busy minds. These skills are particularly useful for students with ADHD who need help learning how to slow down.

    • The 30-30 Schedule. Kids with ADHD have short attention spans and a 30-minute on/30-minute off schedule often works well for study time. The 30-30 Schedule app makes it easy for students to reduce procrastination with easy start-and-stop timers.

    • Choiceworks. Choiceworks is a dynamic, interactive calendar that can help students with autism and ADHD ease transition anxiety from one activity to the next.

    • The Nudge. The Nudge uses push notifications to remind users to complete important tasks entered into the app’s calendar. It’s a great app for students that struggle with executive functioning and staying on time.

    Best Communication Apps For Nonverbal Students

    Many autistic children are nonverbal, but not all nonverbal children are autistic. These students can also benefit from mobile apps designed to accommodate the needs of neurodivergent kids. Text-to-speech apps like Speechify in particular are extremely helpful for children who can type or write but are unable to speak.

    • Proloquo2Go. Proloquo2Go is an innovative app by AssistiveWare that allows children to tap visual symbols and type words to speak. The app gives students room to grow their language skills and offers the ability to switch between English and Spanish.

    • First Then Visual Schedule. Autistic children often struggle with routine and knowing what to expect next. The First Then Visual Schedule app allows students, teachers, and caregivers to create visual schedules in a format that makes it easy for children to understand what steps come first and what comes next.

    • Speechify. Speechify is a text-to-speech app for iOS, iPhone, Android, and Chrome that allows non-verbal students to type or scan the written text and have the content read aloud in different AI voices on any mobile device. You can download Speechify to your mobile device on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

    Best Educational Apps For Neurodiverse Students

    Many neurodivergent children struggle to understand emotions. They may have difficulty comprehending their own feelings as well as recognizing emotions in other people. Many caregivers, teachers, and even medical professionals can mistake this trait as a lack of empathy, but most neurodiverse students just need a little extra help with learning how to recognize how emotions show up in a person’s facial expressions and body language.

    These educational apps help kids to better manage their feelings and respond appropriately to the emotions of others:

    • ABA Flash Cards and Games. ABA Flash Cards and Games is an educational app designed to help children learn about their emotions and how to manage big feelings. Students learn to identify and recognize emotions in others using visual cues.

    • The Mood Meter. The Mood Meter is a mobile app that helps students become familiar with and label their own emotions from day to day and throughout the day. The app’s color-coding system makes understanding moods and emotions easier for neurodiverse students.

    Best Apps to Develop Social Skills

    Children with autism and ADHD often have trouble making friends due to their inability to understand traditional social cues or respond appropriately to the behaviors of other people. Social stories are a way for neurodivergent students to learn critical social skills in an easy-to-understand storyboard format. These apps let kids customize social story sequences, helping them to improve both their social and language skills.

    • i Create… Social Skills Stories. With i Create… Social Skills Stories, students can craft an unlimited number of social skill story books by customizing sequences of events using visual “cards.” The cost of this mobile app is $4.99.

    • Social Stories Creator & Library. The Social Stories Creator & Library is a great app for students and caregivers to create, print, and share custom social stories in a visual format. Users can include audio snippets, text, and pictures in their stories and can export them to a PDF.

    People Also Ask

    What qualifies you as neurodivergent?

    A neurodivergent person is someone whose cognitive and neurological development are considered atypical from the norm (neurotypical).

    What is neurodivergent short for?

    The term “neurodivergent” is often abbreviated to “ND,” particularly in casual texts discussing the condition.

    Can you become neurodivergent?

    Many people are born neurodivergent, and others become neurodivergent later in life due to injuries or illnesses.

    Can you be neurodivergent and not know it?

    Yes. Many symptoms of neurodivergence do not appear out of the ordinary to others.

    What is the difference between neurodivergent and autistic?

    Autism is a type of neurodivergence. All autistic people are neurodivergent, but not all neurodivergent people are autistic.

    What is the most common symptom of neurodivergent?

    There is no single symptom of neurodivergence that is more common than another. Rather, being neurodivergent is an extremely vast spectrum within which a person can fall.

    What are some resources for neurodivergent students?

    Some excellent resources for neurodivergent students include but are not limited to the Child Mind Institute, About Autism — Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network, and Foundations for Divergent Minds.

    What helps neurodivergent students?

    Neurodivergent students can use fidget toys, headphones, mobile apps, and other assistive technologies and devices to help them better manage sensory input and respond to their surroundings.

    Summary of the Best Apps For Neurodivergent Children

    The most important thing to remember when working with neurodivergent children is that each one of them is different and unique. Even two students with the same condition may have radically different symptoms and respond differently to various therapies and treatments. A solution that works for one neurodivergent child may not work for another, so caregivers and teachers need to be able to tailor their treatment plans and support resources to a child’s individual needs.

    Mobile apps are one great way to help neurodivergent students grasp difficult concepts that prevent them from having the best possible quality of life. Nonverbal students, for example, can make significant strides in their education once they are given the ability to communicate with other people.

    A text-to-speech app like Speechify or a visual symbol program like Proloquo2Go can give children who cannot speak complete freedom of language, which often results in a marked increase in educational performance levels. Try one app and if it doesn’t work well, download and try another. This type of support for neurodivergent children and their caregivers is trial-and-error, and you will eventually find programs that meet your needs.

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    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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