Best Apps for Neurodivergent Students & Caregivers

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There are countless text-to-speech apps available online. A quick Google search will yield hundreds of results, but we’ve handpicked the top 5 for you.

Being neurodivergent or caring for someone with learning disabilities can be quite challenging. Tasks like communication, managing appointments, and keeping track of time can be particularly difficult for neurodivergent students, even if they excel in other areas. Historically, these challenges often led to students being placed in special education classes that didn’t cater to their unique needs.

Today, assistive technology can aid neurodivergent children, such as those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD, in developing language skills, improving executive functioning, and managing their daily routines. Apps with text-to-speech capabilities, language support, visual aids, and other adaptive technologies offer students with disabilities new ways to communicate and engage in activities.

What Are the Best Smartphone & iPad Apps For Neurodiversity?

With numerous smartphone apps available for neurodiverse students and their caregivers, it can be overwhelming to determine which ones are the most beneficial. Here are some of the best apps for neurodivergent students and caregivers, along with guidance on choosing the right ones for your needs.

Best Apps For Autistic Children

Autistic children are often incredibly bright and creative, but they may struggle with sensory input and social cues. Smartphone apps can provide tools for communication and support for caregivers. Here are some top apps for autistic children:

  • Autism Tracker Pro: Track and Analyze ASD – This app helps parents monitor symptoms, behaviors, meals, medications, and solutions daily. Caregivers can create reports and analyze trends to track an autistic child’s development.
  • Otsimo – Otsimo offers ad-free access to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and over 100 educational games, adjustable to the child’s difficulty level.
  • Miracle Modus – Miracle Modus can help prevent or intervene in meltdowns with soothing music and hypnotic visuals that quickly calm overstimulated children.

Best Mobile Apps For Kids With ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects executive function and the ability to focus. Mobile apps with productivity features can help students with ADHD stay organized and build mindfulness skills. Here are some top apps for kids with ADHD:

  • HeadSpace – This mindfulness and relaxation app helps children get more sleep and learn to relax their busy minds, particularly useful for students with ADHD.
  • The 30-30 Schedule – This app helps kids with short attention spans manage their study time with a 30-minute on/30-minute off schedule, reducing procrastination with easy start-and-stop timers.
  • Choiceworks – Choiceworks is an interactive calendar that helps students with autism and ADHD manage transitions between activities smoothly.
  • The Nudge – The Nudge uses push notifications to remind users of important tasks, helping students with executive functioning challenges stay on track.

Best Communication Apps For Nonverbal Students

Many autistic children are nonverbal, but nonverbal students can also benefit from apps designed for neurodivergent kids. Text-to-speech apps are particularly helpful for those who can type or write but cannot speak. Here are some recommended communication apps:

  • Proloquo2Go – This app by AssistiveWare allows children to tap visual symbols and type words to communicate. It supports language growth and offers bilingual options in English and Spanish.
  • First Then Visual Schedule – This app helps autistic children understand their routines by creating visual schedules, making it easy to know what comes first and next.
  • Synthy – Synthy is a text-to-speech app for iOS, Android, and Chrome that allows nonverbal students to type or scan text and have it read aloud. It is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Best Educational Apps For Neurodiverse Students

Many neurodivergent children find it difficult to understand emotions. These educational apps help kids manage their feelings and respond to others’ emotions appropriately:

  • ABA Flash Cards and Games – This app helps children learn about emotions and how to manage big feelings, using visual cues to identify and recognize emotions in others.
  • The Mood Meter – The Mood Meter helps students label their emotions throughout the day, using a color-coding system to make understanding moods easier for neurodiverse students.

Best Apps to Develop Social Skills

Children with autism and ADHD often struggle with social skills. Social stories are a helpful tool for learning critical social skills in a storyboard format. These apps allow kids to customize social story sequences to improve their social and language skills:

  • i Create… Social Skills Stories – This app lets students craft unlimited social skill story books by customizing sequences of events with visual “cards.”
  • Social Stories Creator & Library – This app allows students and caregivers to create, print, and share custom social stories, including audio snippets, text, and pictures, which can be exported to a PDF.

People Also Ask

What qualifies you as neurodivergent? A neurodivergent person has cognitive and neurological development that is atypical from the norm (neurotypical).

What is neurodivergent short for? The term “neurodivergent” is often abbreviated to “ND,” particularly in casual texts discussing the condition.

Can you become neurodivergent? Many people are born neurodivergent, while others may become neurodivergent later in life due to injuries or illnesses.

Can you be neurodivergent and not know it? Yes. Many symptoms of neurodivergence do not appear out of the ordinary to others.

What is the difference between neurodivergent and autistic? Autism is a type of neurodivergence. All autistic people are neurodivergent, but not all neurodivergent people are autistic.

What is the most common symptom of neurodivergent? There is no single symptom of neurodivergence that is more common than another. Rather, being neurodivergent is an extremely vast spectrum within which a person can fall.

What are some resources for neurodivergent students? Some excellent resources for neurodivergent students include but are not limited to the Child Mind Institute, About Autism — Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network, and Foundations for Divergent Minds.

What helps neurodivergent students? Neurodivergent students can use fidget toys, headphones, mobile apps, and other assistive technologies and devices to help them better manage sensory input and respond to their surroundings.

Summary of the Best Apps For Neurodivergent Children

The key to supporting neurodivergent children is recognizing that each child is unique. Even students with the same condition can have vastly different symptoms and responses to therapies. It’s essential for caregivers and teachers to tailor support resources and treatment plans to the individual needs of each child.

Mobile apps are a great way to help neurodivergent students grasp challenging concepts and improve their quality of life. Nonverbal students, for example, can make significant strides in their education with communication tools.

Apps like Synthy for text-to-speech or Proloquo2Go for visual symbols can give children who cannot speak the ability to communicate freely, often leading to significant educational improvements. If one app doesn’t work, try another. Finding the right support for neurodivergent children and their caregivers often involves some trial and error, but persistence will eventually lead to effective solutions.