Skip to main content

Best Apps For Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Specific Learning Difficulties

Dyslexia is a processing disorder, which primarily affects learning to read, write and spell but may also contribute to difficulties with organisation. Dyslexic children are thought to make up ten per cent of learners, and may have problems with the standard methods of learning phonics and systematic orthography taught in schools. Developmental Co-ordination Difficulty (or Dyspraxia) is a condition associated with motor co-ordination; it may affect fine motor and writing skills.

Rather than waiting for your child’s difficulties in this area to be spotted and supported by a teacher or Senco, try these Apps at home, to make the three Rs fun again.

Phonics and Rhyme apps

  • Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Safari (by Nosy Crow) for early years children, beautiful illustrations enable children to mix and match sounds while making mixed-up beasts (also available as Dogs, Oceans, Jungle, Pets, Farm). Voiced by a child, with UK dialect and some cheeky voices. Works on ipad and iphone.
  • Teach your Monster to Read (Teach Monster Games Ltd) for beginner readers, involves matching phonemes to letters while repairing a monster’s spaceship. UK voice for a narrative that develops listening and moves up and down levels.Interactive and free – Apple and Android.

Reading apps

  • Smarty Ears Apps, over 60 Apps which use up-to-the-minute technology to target speech and language skills. Developed by a team of SLTs in the US, using the latest research in the field, for everything from phonological awareness to spelling.
  • ClaroSoftware assistive technology for reading (text to speech) and writing which uses human voice, highlighted text and a range of fonts. It can be applied to text in 27 different languages, using 40+ different voices (basic package allows you to choose 4) as well as prompting with predictive text and spellchecker, detecting common homophone errors. PDFs (ClaroPDF) are within its capability as are photos, and include handy features such as ‘voice in background’ reading text while you study a different App. ClaroView can change text colour or background for visual-reading difficulties. Recognised by the Joint Council for Qualifications makes it essential for secondary level exams. Apple or Android.

Spelling apps

  • Smarty Spell This is a tool for both parents and teachers, to practise and perfect spelling skills. Up to five players choose lists of words appropriate to their theme or year group, or custom-made to a context. Easy-to-use visuals and helpful hints to get you started make it popular with children and data is collected for each individual’s performance in graphs or colour-coded lists. Ipad only.

Writing apps

  • Dragon Software Sophisticated and accurate voice-recognition software removes the barrier of a keyboard or pen, so allows the young learner’s creativity to flow unhindered, as if speaking aloud. With punctuation, formatting and correction menus. Train Words function learns to recognise individual speech as well as your customised vocabulary, such as names or abbreviations. Subscription on Apple or Apple.
  • Adjective Remix An app that targets understanding of concepts through adjectives, with useful categories, e.g. size, shape, appearance, time concepts. Can involve up to four players in a quiz-type format, with over 400 high quality real-life images and visual and auditory reinforcement of correct answers. A report card collects and highlights areas for improvement. Ipad only.
  • Sentence Ninja With 39 levels of increasing difficulty, this App teaches children to unscramble word order in phrases and sentences. Either as a single Ninja or in a group of up to five players per game, it uses real-life pictures on a choice of backgrounds (standard or less stimulating) and the items can be customised to individual’s needs. Recording facility, reward systems, data collection and printable home-work sheets. Ipad only.

Apps to help with Dyspraxia

  • Doodlejump Dynamic game of balance and judgement and fun too, which develops processing speed and visual-perception. Individuals or multiple players become The Doodler and navigate ceaselessly between monsters, projectiles, UFOs and other obstacles, defying gravity. The setting can be adapted to different themes, e.g. Christmas, Football, Ninja. Available in a variety of formats, including Android, Apple, Xbox.

Apps to help with Executive Function

Children with specific learning needs frequently have trouble with time concepts, which results in poor time-management and planning.

  • Niki Time is part of the Niki Talk Apps, designed by a software-developer dad for his own daughter. Niki Time works on a range of apple devices and presents days, weeks, months, years and seasons and weather, in picture form. You can add symbols or photos to create a timetable or aide-memoire. Uses charming French picture symbols and a range of languages. Age 3 up.

Most popular Good Schools Guide articles

  • EHCP and School Admissions

    When a child has an EHCP, a parent can name the school of their choice which gives them priority over many other applicants. 

  • Special educational needs introduction

    Need help? Perhaps you suspect your child has some learning difficulty and you would like advice on what you should do. Or perhaps it is becoming clear that your child's current school is not working for him or her, and you need help to find a mainstream school which has better SEN provision, or to find a special school which will best cater for your child's area of need. Our SEN consultancy team advises on both special schools, and the mainstream schools with good SEN support, from reception through to the specialist colleges for 19+. Special Educational Needs Index

  • Special schools

    What matters to your child with special needs or learning difficulties is finding the school that best suits them as an individual and will give them the best chances in life.

  • Learning difficulties

    A child with a learning difficulty or a learning disability will struggle to acquire new information, they may need help with independence and understanding complex ideas. No two people with learning difficulties are the same. 

  • Speech and language difficulties (Sp&LD)

    When a child is noticeably behind their peers in acquiring speech and/or language skills, communication is considered delayed. This is referred to as Speech and Language Difficulties (Sp&LD) or Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN).

Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

☑ 30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
☑ Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
☑ Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,200 schools
☑ Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

Buy Now

GSG Blog >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.


Our most recent newsletter: