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Site offers video reviews and demos of apps for children with special needs

Health & Wellbeing

Apps are increasingly being embraced by those in educational fields as an entertaining and interactive way to engage children who may have difficulties learning. As more and more of these apps become available to assist children with special needs, impartial reviews are highly sought after to assist purchase decisions. Hoping to do just that, and offer greater insight into the apps through demonstrations, we recently came across a4cwsn. A4cwsn — an acronym of “Apps For Children with Special Needs” — is a website run by Gary James, father of five children, two of whom are autistic. Recognizing that many apps need fuller descriptions and demonstrations than usually available on online stores such as the App store, Gary hosts video reviews of apps geared towards children with special needs. With nearly 300 apps reviewed, the videos discuss which skills the apps focus on teaching, how the apps work, and how well they carry out their educational aim — all accompanied by a visual walk-through. The website also picks out one app a day to feature as the “Featured App of the Day”, and visitors to the site can send in requests for apps they would like to see reviewed. What’s more, visitors can group together apps that they feel teach a particular skill set well, or are suitable for children with a certain disability, and save these curated collections as lists for other visitors to browse. As well as dealing with apps, the site also features reviews and demos, roughly a minute in length, of StoryBooks for the iPad in a section called “JaMeos” — an acronym for “Just a Minute”. Recently a4cwsn gave away their first iPad to four year old Joseph, an autistic child from Ohio, and another is currently on its way to a boy in North Carolina. The funds were raised from donations to the site, which is currently accepting requests from families of children with special needs to be considered for an iPad. In the crowded marketplace of online product reviews, this kind of careful, curated approach can be the difference. a4cwsn has amassed enough of a following to translate their appreciation into charitable giveaways. A model to learn from! (Related: App facilitates communication for users unable to speakApp tells visually impaired the value of paper currency.) Spotted by: Jenn Hertzig



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