2015 Youth Achievement Award

There’s an App for Your Child with LD

by Shelley Lacey-Castelot, ATACP, M.S.

Kids with dyslexia and other learning disabilities are finding that the iPad helps level the academic playing field. Below is a list of iPad apps that students find most helpful. While the list is not comprehensive—and new apps are introduced daily—it’s a starting point for young iPad users that are struggling with schoolwork.


Free Books

23,469 free classic books can be downloaded and read with the app’s e-reader.

Short Stories e-reader

Download modern and classic short stories and read them on your iPad and/or iPhone. Adjust text size, font, background colors. Browse by genre, author, rating, age rating, length and more. No e-reader included; need to use Voice-Over.


Free books for children. The International Children’s Digital Library brings a worldwide collection of children’s books to the iPad. All books have summaries in English. No e-reader included; need to use Voice-Over.



An electronic e-reader that allows any book to be read to you, with Blio highlighting each word as it goes. You can look up words or get more information on a topic by searching Google, Bing, and more without ever leaving your book.


Imports your own text file (even from the web) into the iPod or iPad, and reads the text aloud. Helpful for students who are weak readers but can understand the meaning of text through listening.


Coming soon from Bookshare, the most full-featured, accessible DAISY reader for Apple devices. This easy-to-use app connects to Bookshare for immediate, on-the-go reading. Individuals and schools supporting students can search, download, and read Bookshare books and periodicals, and manage their books in a bookshelf. Read2Go reads DAISY 2.02 and 3.0 materials.

Reading — Phonics

Word Families

Uses rhyme patterns in word families to help students learn to decode and spell. Good for supplemental practice.


More advanced rhyme patterns than in Word Families (above).

Reading — Text to Speech

Speak It!

Paste text into the app’s window to have it read to you; high quality voice.


Import documents, HTML files and have the app read the text to you, line by line (but no word by word highlighting). Four voices to choose from, all good quality.


Paste text into the app’s window to have it read to you; high quality voice.


Freddy Fraction

Use Freddy, an alien, to determine the equivalence among fractions, decimals and percents.

Algebra Pro (iPad only)

Interactive workbook with over 100 practice questions and instant “show me” lessons.

Math — Calculators

MyCalculator Pro

Graphic calculator in 2D and 3D with one-touch graphing and memory to store and recall answers.


Shows complete calculation formula as you would write it.

Math – Money Skills and Telling Time

Coin Math

Helps with identifying and counting coins, and making change. It can also be used to learn or reinforce counting by 5s, 10s and 25s. Varying levels of difficulty.

Make Change – Counting Coins

Uses realistic coins to make change and solve making-change problems.

Telling time HD

App includes activities and a chance to win virtual prizes. Move clock hands anywhere to hear time spoken. Solve time-change problems, and see times on digital & analog clocks.

Writing — Dictation — Handwriting

Dragon Dictation

Speech recognition that allows you to see and edit your text to share on clipboard, SMS, and email.

Writing — Graphic Organizers


Can import from and export to MindManager and other desktop graphic organizers. Best for semantic mapping.


Works with iThoughts or MindManager for Mac and Windows, so work can continue there.



Note-taker that captures everything. Type notes, add pictures, draw figures, insert web clips, make audio recordings, organize notes by subjects, backup to Cloud, and share notes with others.


Take notes in meetings, lectures, and interviews. It tracks what you type and draw while recording audio. During playback, just tap a word and SoundNote will jump to the proper time in the audio. Share text, drawings, and audio notes via email, or transfer them to your computer.

Synchronize Documents and Files On-the Go

DocsToGo (Documents To Go)

Edit, create and view Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF and iWork files. Carry documents with you and edit and/or create; then save to the Cloud or transfer to your computer via iTunes.


Access to DropBox, a free service that allows access to files from anywhere. After installation, any file saved to your DropBox folder will automatically sync with your iPad.

Organization and Homework Organizer

MyHomework – good

Effective for students who need to keep better track of homework.

iHomework (requires OS 10.5 on Mac)

Keep up-to-date with school work, grades, to-do’s, teacher’s information and other information in this school organizer. Can set alarms for assignments/tests.

iStudiez Pro – better

A sophisticated planner that organizes your schedule and assignments.

Reminders — Calendar


Schedule SMS text reminders to be sent to you at the times you specify, repeating as often as you choose.


A voice calendar reminder app that offers repeats, choice of alert tones, and voice reminders. Instead of typing into your device, record a voice message and have it alert you at the right time.

Study Help

Stacks Pro

Make your own study note cards, import flashcards from other websites and applications, and copy and paste flashcards from Excel, Word and Text Files.

Science & Geography

A Life Cycle App

Interactive and narrated information on 10 lifecycles.


Touch the planets to learn more about them, spin them and zoom in. Also a popular fidget tool.

United States Map Game

Learn the names and locations of the 50 states with this interactive map quiz.

Research — News

Dragon Search

Speech recognition used to search on Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, iTunes, and Twitter.

Print from iPad


Capture and edit photos, then print to HP e-printers over wifi. Also print documents and other files. Works well.

Print n Share

Print to all printers over wifi or remotely over 3G.

Scan and Read


Take a picture of text and the app converts it to readable text for the e-reader. Continuing development will improve accuracy.

14 Responses to “There’s an App for Your Child with LD”

  1. Brian Says:

    I like your long list of apps that can help people with learning disabilities. I am a high school student with a learning disability and I am writing blog about assistive technology for people who struggle with reading and writing. I hope that the information I posted is helpful. You can find my blog at “”

  2. Brandi Says:

    Great list! I’ve been considering an iPad for my 12 year old son. I’ve been interested in the Blio app for it’s text to speech and highlighting features; however, I have not seen it on the Blio website as available for iPad or apple products yet. Do you know if and when it will be available?

  3. Jane Says:

    Hi Brandi,
    Shelley Lacey-Castelot, our AT specialist, has replied to your question:
    The Blio app is available in the app store for both the iPad and the iPhone. It was released in July. Although it uses the ePub format rather than the formats in Bookshare (Daisy, XML, Daisy with images). There is, however, a process and there are software apps which can convert Bookshare book files to the Blio’s ePub format. For example, the DAISY to Epub converter from Don Johnston, Inc. One of the nicest features in Blio is how the books look like real books, with full color and pages that turn like they do in real books. Blio has highlighted readback, using text to speech voices, and sometimes, human voices, both of which are adjustable for speed and volume. Other nice features are the embedded research tools; dictionary, encyclopedia and search, which can be called up and utilized from within the books. The dictionary and research results pop up while reading the book when you press and gold on a word. You can also highlight a word or insert a note, for instance, to help the reader understand a point. Read more here:

    Additionally, textHELP Read&Write Gold is releasing web-based apps that can be used by the iPad. They are: Read&Write Web, eBook Reader, Speech and Dictionary, and more are supposed to be coming out. I am encouraging them to make these apps available for purchase, at least to people who have already purchased Read&Write Gold for their computers. Currently, their plan is to make it available to owners of site licenses of Read&Write Gold. Their eReader works elegantly with Bookshare books, is terrific and includes language support tools such as dictionary, picture dictionary, translator, highlighter, fact finder, highlighted read-back, etc. Read&Write Web has essentially the same features and works out on the web. Volume and speed of the highlighted readback can be adjusted, as it can in the Blio app. There is a great whole suite of these web-based apps and they are great tools which readers can use in a more portable manner than on even a laptop. Read more here: and watch the video here:

  4. Nadine Says:

    This list is just amazing! The only problem is , we don’t have an iPad. Could you please, please, please create a similar list for Android apps? Having a difficult time finding great LD apps for Android.

  5. Joni Says:

    Any programs for us non apple users? I have a dyslexic child that could benefit from these apps, but we have hp products.

    Excited about the new tech to help dyslexia!


  6. Jane Says:

    I’ll check and see what I can find.

  7. Jane Says:

    Have you checked the articles on AT we’ve posted on the Smart Kids website? There’s a lot of information there, if you check the Search function for Assistive Technology.

  8. sue Says:

    to Joni- you are very fortunate to be able to use kurzweil. It works with HP products and is the best there is. It works with bookshare accounts; you can download the books right into kurzweil. You are able to take notes, scan course materiels into it, takes notes, create tests, write papers(it will read the typed text back to your child to pick up any spelling errors and more. There is also a Mac version, but alas nothing for the iPad yet, which of course we need. My child, diagnosed in 3rd grade is entering high school this year, and w/ the fast paced classes the best technology use is an iPad. We are looking for apps that will work well with the iPad and may have to abandon our HP for that. Good luck in your search. if you are interested

  9. debra rios york Says:

    What is the best program Ipod for my daughted she will be a freshman in UA as IEP on reading needs help writing

  10. chris Says:

    Thank you so much for your list. I have a dyslexic child and recently purchased an IPAD for him for christmas and I wanted to get it set up with the best educational apps for his needs before wrapping it up. I appreciate people who take the time to support and assist parents of special needs children.

  11. Jane Says:

    You’re very welcome!

  12. Sara Says:

    I have just had a child diagnosed with dyslexia and I had a psychologist tell me she will never be a vet, sites like this give me hope!

  13. Tina Says:

    Sara – Get a new psychologist. Look at “Why Dyslexics Make Great Entrepreneurs” – Businessweek – you can google it. My sons doctor told me dyslexia is a gift. Trust me my son has some gifts I wish I had.

  14. Stuart McKinney Says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve never heard of half of these before. Gonna to add some of them on my list!

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