SNApps4Kids is pleased to announce an exciting new feature on its website–the SNApps4Kids Review System. In addition to the developer’s description of an app, the review system provides supplementary information that focuses on skills, not age or developmental level. The goal is to help users choose appropriate apps for children with special needs. Parents, therapists, and teachers have used and assessed these apps with children who have disabilities that may include Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, and Global Developmental Delay.

SNApps4Kids Launches App Review System

April 6, 2011–What do Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, iWrite Words and First Words Animals have in common? They require users to “drag and release” to operate them. For most kids, this skill comes naturally and is intuitive with a device like the iPad. For children with special needs, this “drag and release” skill might develop more slowly and may frustrate children who haven’t mastered it. Providing this kind of information is just one of the new features of the SNApps4Kids review system.

SNApps4Kids found that most age ratings assigned to computer applications – or “apps” – have little relevance for children who may not be developmentally on par with their peers or who have a varied range of skills. SNApps4Kids saw a need to provide supplementary information about apps for users looking to choose appropriate apps for children with special needs.

In collaboration with speech language pathologists and occupational therapists, SNApps4Kids has created an app review system that focuses on skills, not age or developmental level. Components of the review system include an assessment level, a list of embedded skills, and short video clips demonstrating the apps in use. The goal is to assist users to choose useful apps for children of all abilities. SNApps4Kids invites users to treat the website as a helpful tool to explore the numerous apps on the market as well as to share success stories.

Where do parents start? How can devices like the iPod Touch and the iPad enhance the lives of children with special needs? For some children, mobile devices paired with apps have provided a voice. Speech generating apps like ProLoquo2Go provide non-verbal or speech-delayed children with a powerful mobile tool to communicate with others and to reduce frustration. For others, apps help kids learn how to interact with others socially. My Pictures Talk allows kids and caregivers to create social stories using videos, pictures and text for children to practice social skills. For all children, apps provide educational games that serve to motivate learning. Using these apps in everyday life gives children a sense of control over their lives and provides caregivers tools to motivate, educate and improve skills. The possibilities are endless.

SNApps4Kids is a community of parents, therapists, doctors, and teachers who share information on how we are using the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch with children who have special needs.

You can see our review system in action at http://bridgingapps.org/

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