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Tzvi Schectman
BY Tzvi Schectman

7 Special Needs Apps in the Google Android Market

android-logoThis Post is part six of the Special Needs iPad & App Series.

Almost from the day the iPad was launched there was an immediate buzz about the special needs apps that were available in the iPad app store. Apple quickly realized that the iPad was perfectly suited to enhancing the lives of individuals with special needs and created a special education section of the app store. Websites and blogs sprung up dedicated to reviewing apps for Assistive Communication, Social Skills, Life Skills, Scheduling and more.

With all the hype surrounding the iPhone & iPad I started to wonder: what if you are a Google geek and prefer the Android platform? Or what if you work for Google (which would mean iPhone & iPad use is prohibited) and you have a child with special needs? Are there any quality special needs apps for Android Phones or Tablets?

After digging around online, here are seven Special Needs Android Apps in the Android Market

Voice4u, is a revolutionary picture based AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) application that helps individuals express their feeling, thought, actions and things they need. It is a perfect solution for learning and communication for individuals with autism. Voice4u includes over 150 Pre-loaded icons and lets you create your own icons and categories.

Price: Subscription based- $99.95 per child per year
TapToTalk turns an Android device into an affordable AAC device. TapToTalk displays a set of pictures on the screen. When you tap a picture, TapToTalk plays a word or sentence and displays another screen of pictures. Each of those pictures can lead to another screen, and so on. For example, a picture representing Food can lead to a screen with pictures of Fruit, Vegetables, Sandwiches, Snacks and other foods.



JABtalk is an android application that provides a fresh new approach to speech and communication technology. Speech therapists commonly refer to JABtalk as an easy to use and effective AAC device. By combining personalized voice and images with an extremely simple user interface, JABtalk delivers a speech solution that is both fun to use and easy to learn.

Model Me Going PlacesModel Me Going Places
Model Me Going Places™ is a great visual teaching tool for helping your child learn to navigate challenging locations in the community. Each location contains a photo slide show of children modeling appropriate behavior.  Locations include: Hairdresser, Mall, Doctor, Playground, Grocery Store, Restaurant


Behavior Tracker ProBehavior Tracker Pro
Behavior Tracker Pro dramatically increased the efficiency of an Autism treatment program. BTP is a behavioral data collection app that allows behavioral therapists, teachers or parents to track and graph behaviors. BTP improves your child’s ABA therapy by capturing behavioral data and translating into an easy to understand graphical format.

AAC Speech BuddyAAC Speech Buddy
Price: $27.99
AAC Speech Buddy create custom PECS Speech Sets. AAC Speech Buddy was created to quickly & easily create custom Speech Sets Online ( which could be loaded on one or many AAC Speech Buddy Apps. AACSpeechBuddy allows users to quickly and easily create customized Speech Sets using their own photos or collected images, or using images from the image repository.

Price: $4.99
Created by Apps4Android, an Android software development company dedicated to developing Android applications that enhance the quality-of-life, independence and educational success of individuals with disabilities. iAugComm turns your Android into a powerful, high-quality, low-cost AAC device, which can enable individuals who are non-verbal or whose speech is difficult to understand to communicate easily and effectively using a simple, icon-based interface.

The Bottom Line

If you are in the market for a tablet or smart phone and you plan on using special needs apps, then you definitely should stick to the iPad and iPhone.  The Apple App store has a much bigger selection of special education apps to choose from and the Android Market doesn’t have any of the bestselling apps such as Proloquo2Go or iPrompts. Google is just now releasing optimized operating systems for tablet devices. It will be at least a year before the Android Market will be able to compete with the iPad App store.

The Rest of the Series:

  1. The Special Needs iPad & App Series: Welcome
  2. 7 Assistive communication (AAC) apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch
  3. 7 Scheduling and Behavioral Apps to help with transitions and more
  4. 11 Social Skills & Life Skills Apps in iPad App Store
  5. 10 Websites to Find Special Needs Apps for the iPad & iPhone
  6. 7 Special Needs Apps in the Google Android Market
  7. On a tight budget? 7 ways to get an ipad for your child with special needs
  8. 6 steps to get the iPad into your child’s special education classroom
  9. 4 Special Needs iPad/iPhone Apps for the Future

More Special Needs Apps

Looking for more special needs apps? Check out the Special Needs App Review!

With over a thousand apps now available to help individuals with special needs it has become increasingly difficult to find and choose the right special needs app. The Friendship Circle App Review gives you the ability to find the perfect special needs app for your child.

Special Needs App Review

Tzvi Schectman

Written on March 9, 2011 by:

Tzvi Schectman is the Family Coordinator for the Friendship Circle of Michigan and the Editor of the the Friendship Circle Blog. You can connect with Tzvi on LinkedIn and Google+
  • Alexicom Tech has an android application as well as apple and words on the internet!  Get a free trial at  With over 600 pages, 7000 images and 8 page sets, you don’t have to start from scratch to communicate.  We believe everyone deserves to be heard!

  • Hi,I’ve compiled a list of apps for Android (
    The list is devoted to apps for people with autism, but in fact many of them are also useful for many other people with any special needs.

  • Hi,
    My name is Yonit Hagoel-Karnieli, I’m a SLP and heading the Israeli National SGD Loan Center in Ezer-Mizion. We have, in the last 10 years, helped more than 10’000 people in need in Israel.
    Pls go into our website to read more.
    We are in the proccess of customizing the I-Pad into Hebrew and I’ll be glad to be in touch with you,
    All the best,

  • Robert Williamson

    I recommend you try our new app/cognitive support system on Android… AgileAssyst.  We developed this as faculty at BGSU and it is now available to the public through ADSLLC.  After downloading the Android User app (free), enter “11111” as a license code to see a demo of the handset.  The user app is specially designed to conform to research related to how people with disabilities interact with mobile devices.  Specifically, the user app is ONLY available on Android because Android allows for the manipulation of the home screens.  This is not in the documentation, but you will see why we chose android when we began the research related to this project when you add an AgileAssyst “widget”.  The idea is that the AgileAssyst widget is added to ALL user handset screens… this is not possible when using Apple’s iOS system.
    We did develop the “coach” handset using Apple iOS, as Apple iOS is easy to use for people without disabilities.  I guess this system having one half on Android and one half on Apple is due to it being a University related project rather than some sort of profit venture but I’d recommend taking a look.  It is the ONLY web-portal based, real time synced video modeling prompting scheduler that is fully manipulated on line and that connects real time support teams… it’s very unique in the world of cognitive prosthetics.

  • Robert Williamson

    After writing the above comment, I actually do agree with Tzvy’s original assessment of Android vs. Apple.  Right now, almost everything is on Apple so if you are going to buy a device, Apple is the way to go.  I wish Apple would open up their operating system (specifically all the small widgets on the home screens) to be manipulated by developers.  There are simply too many small widgets on Apple’s screens!  They won’t allow access to those functions when you develop apps on their system because they want all their screens to operate the same ways.  They have even migrated to that look and feel in their new MAC operating system.  This is great for users without disabilities but those with disabilities need a simplified screen that is easy to get to.  We saw this over and over when studying mobile technology usage with people with autism and other disabilities during the AgileAssyst project.  I, personally, am an avid Apple fan… I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else personally, but for people with disabilities, Apple causes problems that they do not need to create.  If anyone knows Steve Jobs, please let him know that it would sure be great to have a “simplified’ interface for people with cognitive impairments.  Android allows for this.  It will be interesting to see where things end up ten years from now.  Android is better, however Apple has the market at present without a doubt.

  • Thank you so much for compiling this list of Droid Apps! When our cell contract expired, we opted for Droids (including one for my daughter with Autism) rather than iPhone, and we’ve been wondering what apps might be out there that would be of use for her. Keep up the excellent work!!!

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  • We love the AACSpeechBuddy – for iPad, iPhone, iTouch & Android

    Speech Sets can be shared with your child’s speech therapist and can be loaded on multiple devices.

    With the easy to use web management, parents and teachers can collaborate and work on Speech Sets from any Internet Browser on your computer or mobile device.

    No other AAC app gives you the ability to share your created, customized, personalized
    speech sets with others.

    Not only does the AACSpeechBuddy give you the ability to share your created, customized, personalized speech sets with others, it also gives you the ability to load the speech set that specifically pertains to a certain individual or situation – by simply selecting a speech set or entering a profile id which changes the entire content loaded onto your APP in one easy action!

    A Speech Set consists of selected images with corresponding words/sentences. Essentially custom digital PECS icons with text and audible speech.

    Now including over 2000+ images from the Mulberry Symbols collection by Paxtoncrafts Charitable Trust.

  • Alexicom Tech just released their latest update.  The free android app now includes:
    Ability to create speaking, linking pages that never expire
    *Camera image acquisition directly in the cells
    *In-app page creation and editing absolutely free
    *Word prediction with 150k word dictionary
    *Optional word learning and tracking of frequency of word use
    *Auto-scan and step-scanning
    *Sequential and row/column scanning
    *Auditory scanning
    *Pitch/voice changes
    *32 demo pages
    *Works anywhere at any time

    Visit us at!

  • Zvi, I have a son with high functioning Cerebral Palsy. I would like to send him to a Jewish school in2 years but with all day writing his hand will be too tired for the Hebrew writing part of the day. IS there an augmentative device Hebrew? We have a machine called an ALPHA SMART3000. A basic word processor for the English but Hebrew is where  we need help. Thank you, Julia

    • Tzvi

      Julia, I am not aware of any Augmentative communication device in Hebrew. I am sorry I could not be of more help.

    • Sasha This could be helpful for conversation. For schoolwork, if your son can use an AlphaSmart, I’d consider a laptop with a Hebrew keyboard and a text to speech program. 

  • Yonit

    Hi Julia and Tzvi,
    We , in Israel, are using the Grid2 in Toughbook PC’s.
    We are in the beginning of building Apps in Hebrew.
    Please stay in direct contact and I’ll send you detailes.
    Yonit Hagoel_karnieli, The Israeli SGD Center

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  • does anyone know if there is a PECS app??

    thank you penny

  • I’m so excited… we are getting ready to release U-Sync Video Scheduler on both Android and Apple! Any day now… this is a ‘lite’ version of AgileAssyst.. the app we developed at BGSU! Oh.. a new article came out on BGSU’s website:

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  • Katja Walker

    I have just come across an app that works on all platforms – Sono Flex by Tobii Technology. We are looking to replace our DynavoxV with something more manageable and more responsive, and I would like to have the option of using any platform, as my son has problems with his hands and some of these machines may be too delicate. Has anyone used the Sono Flex app? 

  • I have just created and released an app that does Image to Speech.  Take a picture of book pages and it reads it aloud:):)  I was inspired by Ted Talk:)
    It’s $0.99 for the install, but I also posted the code for free, if one is inclined:

  • dave

    Here’s an app that takes a picture and turns it into speech, one way to use it is to take a picture photo of each page, and have it read it out aloud, thus allowing a book to be read:)

  • Tina

    Tzvi,  in the last 6 months since the previous postings has any progress been made in translating the apps like Proloquo2GO into Hebrew?  and my second question:  what is preferrable for communication assistance the iPad and its different applications or the soon to be released Windows 8 and the system from Yosi Blum in Haifa?

    • fcmichigan

      Tina, I have not yet heard of any apps like P2G Working in Hebrew. I would definitley suggest sticking with the iPad as Windows is new to the market and is an unknown at this point

      • Oren

        My GF has a non-verbal autistic teenage boy. I heard about all the wonderful apps there exist on the iPad for autistic kids, but none seem to be in Hebrew! 
        This is a sad state of affairs. Is there any hope for such apps in the foreseeable future?

  • Martin Male

    We are using Sono Flex in our schools as an alternative to Proloquo2go on the IOS and it works great. Our special education teachers and assistants have found it makes things a lot easier to communicate with their special ed. students. The full version (half the price of Proloqu2go) will allow you to import your own pictures to make things more meaningful to students by adding pictures that they understand.

  • David A. Smith

    Are there any augmentative communication Text-to-Speech software for the Android MID PC Tablets for non-speaking individuals, which includes word prediction as well as customizable Text-to-Speech exception dictionary feature?  Also, with high quality speech output at an affordable price?

  • This is so much information! Oy vey! Did I see something about eye-gaze technology with on the iPads? There’s nothing on the horizon like that with any other device, I assume. Hmm…

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