Apps for College Students with Special Needs


Published 2012-02-09 (Rev. 2016-06-11) -- Several helpful Apps for students with special needs attending college including class schedules note taking and audio recordings of notes.

Contact Details: For further information please contact Jessica Bosari

Quote: "Regardless of whether students plan to go to traditional four-year universities or specialized vocational education programs such as criminal justice schools, they have more opportunities than ever before."

Definition: Defining the Meaning of App

App - Also known as Application software or simply application, is defined as computer software designed to help the user to perform singular or multiple related specific tasks. Mobile applications run on hand-held devices such as mobile phones (cell phones), personal digital assistants, and enterprise digital assistants.

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Making the transition from high school to college can be a challenge for any student, but for students with special needs, it can be like waking up and finding yourself on another planet.

These students are fortunate to be attending school at a time when they have more rights and opportunities available than ever before, both in the form of laws intended to help them receive the assistance they need to succeed. And now, apps for smartphones and tablets offer even more help.

Special Needs Challenges

"Special needs" is an all-encompassing term that covers a variety of challenges and disabilities, all of which have their own unique difficulties. Students with autism spectrum disorders may have trouble with working in teams or managing time appropriately. Students with dyslexia have the challenge of coping with a pile of reading material and papers to write.

A student in a wheelchair requires access to facilities including classrooms and on-campus housing. In previous years, these students might have slipped through the cracks, been slapped with a "failure" label and quietly dropped out, never realizing their true potential.

Legal Rights for Students with Special Needs

Now, legislation exists that helps students with special needs receive equal access to education. Regardless of whether students plan to go to traditional four-year universities or specialized vocational education programs such as criminal justice schools, they have more opportunities than ever before.

Some of the legal rights include:

  • Appropriate academic adjustments in order to avoid discrimination
  • Acceptance to a program based on admission requirements, regardless of disability
  • Accessible facilities
  • Priority enrollment arrangements
  • Course load reduction

An enrollment specialist can be especially helpful navigating the rights and responsibilities of college students with special needs. And as technology advances, new applications are being developed that help special needs students learn with less assistance, allowing them to better navigate college life.

  • Penultimate is an app that makes taking lecture notes easy by using a stylus. The notes can then be organized for easy access later. While not helpful for those with fine-motor-skill challenges, this is a great app for students with attention deficit disorder or other disabilities that cause difficulties staying organized.
  • Notes Plus is another note-taking app that blends the audio-recordings of notes with typed notes and handwritten notes. This app has a number of benefits for students with learning disabilities, such as the ability to "recognize" shapes and a blow-out window that allows students to write as large as necessary and then shrinks the text down to fit within the rest of the notes.
  • Audionote is extremely helpful for students who struggle with taking notes and can actually train a student to improve that ability. It records both the lecture and written notes in real time, synching up the written notes with the audio of the lecture. This prevents students from trying to remember which formula or illustration goes with which part of the lecture, and it keeps notes in their proper order.
  • iStudiez Pro organizes class schedules, assignments and deadlines to help students stay on top of things. Keeping up with a college schedule and class load is challenging for anyone. Students with attention difficulties or autism spectrum disorders will find that iStudiez Pro is a great aid for dealing with this especially difficult aspect of college.

Students with disabilities are making great strides in acquiring the rights and privileges every person should have. The Criminal Justice Blog helps students find online criminal justice programs, making education easier to attain for those with disabilities.

Related Information:

Health & Disability Apps for iPhone & Android Mobile Devices - Disabled World
Special Needs Apps for Kids - Information on using the iPad iPhone and iPod touch Apps with children who have special needs.
Siri and Disability - Personal Assistant on Apple iPhone Takes Accessibility to New Level - Information on Siri the artificial intelligence on Apple iPhones including accessibility features for persons with disability.
Apple App Store - Special Education Section - Parents can access a wide range of apps, such as Proloquo2Go for augmentative communication solutions.
VoiceOver Compatible Apps for iPhone and Mac - List of handy and accessible compatible VoiceOver Apps for iPhone and Mac computers for persons with disability.
Autism Discovery App Tool for iOS - Spectrum Idea Lab

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