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#TechTuesday: iPad apps encourage beginning reading skills for kids with special needs

Kim Musgrave loves the way the iPad captures the attention of her son, Luke. Luke is 14 but functions at about a 2-year-old level due to his struggle with cerebral palsy.

Musgrave recently shared her app recommendations for kids with special needs during a parent support group meeting at Akron Children’s Hospital. Many of the apps that Luke uses to help communicate and make friends were featured in a Tech Tuesday post two weeks ago.

Musgrave also looks for apps that will engage Luke enough to interact. Apps that inspire Luke to point are ideal. She recommends the following for everyone, but especially for kids with special needs:

Tickle Finger in the Jungle (Out Fit 7 Ltd.): This is a cute animated story featuring a monkey that encourages finger use. “There are so many fun ways to interact, from tickling the monkey to actually saving him from a tiger,” said Musgrave. “This really helps Luke work that finger out because it is so motivating to him.” The first half of the book is free.


The Monster at the End of This Book (Callaway Digital Arts): This book, starring Sesame Street’s lovable, furry Grover, has been a favorite with kids for decades. Now it explodes off the screen, begging for interaction, if you dare turn the page. This interactive storybook draws children right into the story.  The award-winning app is $3.99.


The Three Little Pigs (Nosy Crow ): The classics are fun to share with your kids. The 3D version costs a little more at $5.99, but Musgrave feels it’s worth it because Luke is able to see it better.  “You can play with all the characters,” said Musgrave. “There are a million cool effects, such as when you tilt the iPad, you can look up and look down or you can get closer. You can even customize the voice.”


Elmo’s Monster Maker (Sesame Street): Every one loves Elmo, especially Luke! The monster maker gives kids lots of choices as they select the monster’s eyes, ears, mouth and nose. “And then you get to play with your monster,” said Musgrave. “Luke loves his voice. It is really silly stuff that all the kids can enjoy. This is a favorite app at our house and a real bargain at $3.99.”


Check out more Tech Tuesday posts for additional recommendations. What are your favorite apps for your kids?