The App Corner

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Each week SPIN will check out an new app that children and students with disabilities and their families might find helpful.  If you have found an app you love and want to share it, send us an email at







October 12, 2016
NAMI AIR is an app created by the National Alliance of Mental Illness and is designed for youth, teens and caregivers living with mental health conditions. It is a safe place where you can speak freely, find support and encourage others, plus it is completely anonymous. With this app, you can anonymously share your own experiences, find support from others going through the same things, talk freely about deeply personal struggles, offer encouragement and emotional support to others and receive useful resources and emergency hotline information for you or your loved ones. The app is free and available for both the Apple and Android platforms. Click here for more information and download links.



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August 15, 2016
Breathing Bubbles is an app that helps kids practice releasing worries and focusing on good feelings. Select an emotion and rate how strongly you are feeling about that emotion, then choose to release a worry or receive a joy. Kids type the worry or joy into the bubble and watch it float away or towards them while they practice deep breathing. Free in both the App Store and Google Play.



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August 8, 2016
This fun app, geared for kids 5-9 years old, will show kids how fun science can be with several different activities in the Secret Lab, let them learn more about Scientists in the Library, play 3 different games in the Arcade and watch video clips and music video in the Theater.  Available in both the App Store and Google Play, this free app will inspire and teach kids about science.



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August 1, 2016
As school starts back up again, we all  need a little help to keep our schedules straight and our lives on track.  There are several apps for that, but one that is often at the top of the organization charts is the Cozi Family Organizer.  Available for free in both the App Store and Google Play, Cozi allows you to sync your iCal or Google calendar and several emails into one easy to use app the whole family can access.


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There are two fun apps that allows kids to create some beautiful, constantly shifting art and move particles around the screen, all while keeping their hands clean. Tesla Toy on the App Store is $1.99 and Triple A on Google Play is free.



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June 13, 2016
Chicktionary is a fun, free app that teaches spelling and wordplay with three game modes, Classic, Quick Play and Journey. Unlock new words and complete puzzles to get special chickens with over a million possible combinations of puzzles and words. Available on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon Apps, this game will sure to provide fun and learning at the same time. Click here to visit their website and links to download.


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Summer is a great time to go outside and look up at the sky.  With the Planets app, you can download it for free on both the App Store and Google Play. Check out planets, constellations and other things in the sky. A great way to inspire kids to get outside, have some fun science conversations and explore the universe together.



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Want to get your kids writing and expressing themselves this summer? Then try Book Creator, available for iPad, Android or Windows computers. Kids can create books and comics using their own drawings, photos, videos, music and text, adding stickers and other fun design elements. When the book is finished, your kids can share it with friends and family or even publish to iBooks or Google Play Books. The app is free to download for the first book, then a small fee for unlimited books. $4.99 for iPad and $2.99 for Android. Click here to visit the website and download to your favorite device.



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Social media apps have flooded the app stores and many of them are targeting pre-teens and teens with the promise of being able to post and say whatever they like anonymously and without any repercussions.  Unfortunately, this can lead to inappropriate behavior, bullying and makes kids more prone to being bullied and predators. There are several website that shine a light on how to talk to your children about internet safety, which apps are good and which are bad and how to keep your keiki safe while building their online profiles to be a benefit for their future, not an embarrassment or barrier to employment or admission to college. Check out these websites so you can be more internet savvy and learn how to talk with and work with your teens to becoming a good digital citizen.
Safe Smart Social
National Crime Prevention Council on Social Networking Safety
Common Sense Media
Family Online Safety Institute



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Go Noodle is a free website with interactive games and videos that can help kids focus. With over 100 activities to choose from, ranging from calm, moderate to vigorous activity, Go Noodle can help kids manage their energy in fun and easy way.  Teachers can use it to start the day with a morning stretch, have some mindful meditation before a test and have a dance party at the end of the day.  Parents can use it at home to do a bit of yoga before homework begins, sing a song between math and English worksheets and do some kinistetic practices to clear the brain after a long ride in the car.  Sign up for free at


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Sign language is not only for the deaf and hard of hearing.  Anyone can sign!  For kids who have speech delays or are completely non-verbal, signing can be a lifeline to communication and expression.  There are many different apps out there to choose from, here are two you might find useful. The ASL App, available on the App Store, has 5 free modules, including a sampler, colors, basics, gestures and hand shapes.  You can download more modules or get the whole package for $9.99.   Signing Time has been around many years and has DVD’s, flash cards, music and more. They have recently started Signing Time TV and for $9.99 a month, gives you access to their complete library of Signing Time for kids.


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Here are two fun drawing apps for kids that can help improve fine motor control and let kids express themselves while feeling like they are playing and not “working”. For Apple users, try Doodle Buddy, a free in the App Store, that lets you finger paint and use stamps to draw.  For Android users, try Kids Doodle – Color and Draw.  It is also a free app, available in Google Play Store, with 24 brushes and supports a “movie” mode that can play back kid’s artwork like a small film.


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Tap TapSee is designed to help the blind and visually impaired identify objects they encounter in their daily lives.  Simply double tap the screen to take a photo of anything, at any angle, and hear the app speak the identification back to you  (Note: spoken identification requires Talkback to be turned on). Features flash toggle, auto-focus notification, identify images from your camera roll or gallery, repeat last image and share identification via text, email or social media.  The first 100 images are free after downloading the free app, but then it becomes a subscription services with multiple options:  50 pictures for $4.99, 100 pictures for $7.99, one month unlimited for $9.99 and more. Tap TapSee is available for both Apple and Android devices.


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LetterSchool helps kids learn how to write as they play four progressive games per letter and number using fun, interactive graphics. It includes uppercase, lowercase and three different typefaces, as well as progress saved for up to three different players. Kids start by hearing the sound of the letter, then tap the dots to find the beginning of the letter, trace the letter then write the letter by memory. Available on both the App Store for $4.99 and Google Play for $3.64.


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Sight Words is a free web-based program that teaches sight words from Dolch, Fry and Common Core to help kids learn to read and write better. They provide printable flash cards, lesson plans, games, phonemic awareness and counting lessons. Memorizing sight words allow children to recognize words at a glance without having to break them down and sound them out.


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Khan Academy is a free app that available across all devices, Apple, Android and your home computer. It is often used for helping kids develop their math skills, with over 150,000 interactive, Common Core aligned exercises, students can watch videos, get instant feedback and step by step hints, building a foundation of learning as they go.  But Khan Academy also offers lessons in science, economics, history, art and more.  For every age of learning, this is one app that your child will never outgrow.


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To help kids learn about coins, both Coin Math $1.99 for Apple and Freefall Money is free for Android will teach kids how to add, subtract and recognize coin money. Coin Math will also let you make change and pay for items in a virtual store using coins.  Freefall Money has 3 separate modes of play and a fish tank reward system fir kids to add virtual fish when they complete lessons.


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First Then Visual Schedule is designed to provide positive behavior supports for kids who benefit from structured transitions. You can customize images, create multiple schedules and checklists and more. $9.99 in iTunes or $4.99 through Amazon.



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Time Timer is available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.  It is a simple, easy to use timer that allows you to save, name and customize timers for multiple activities like morning routines, interval sessions and homework. You can choose from three timer modes, alarm or vibrate signals and numerical countdowns.  $2.99 for iPhone and $.99 cents for Android on Google Play.


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Let me Talk is a free Android AAC (Augmentative Alternative Communication) app available on Google Play and Amazon.  It supports communication in all areas of life and provides a voice to everyone.  You can line up images to create sentences using their image database or add your own photo using the camera on  your device.  Click here to visit their website.


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Starfall is a free app that can be downloaded for Apple, Android or Kindle devices.  Many schools offer it as well, and you can check with your child’s teacher to see if the school has a license for use with your home computer.  Click here to go to the Starfall website or go to the App Store or Play Store to download.


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