picture of christmas tree on an iPadTwo things most kids love are Christmas and iPads. What better way to celebrate both than with Christmas apps?! Whether you are looking for apps to navigate the season, learn about christmas, make a christmas card or just for creative play we have a list of kid friendly apps for all types of abilities.

The 12 Apps of Christmas:

1.123 Kids Fun Christmas Tree: kids can choose from 6 christmas trees to decorate with a variety of ornaments to choose from to decorate with a simple drag and drop menu for anyone with fine motor dexterity issues. The music can be turned on or off depending on child’s needs/interests.

screen shot of 123 kids funCost: Free

Click here for app

2. Sleeps to Christmas: Who does not get anxious about Santa’s impending arrival? Sleeps to Christmas allows you to choose from a variety of drawn characters that hold a sign that counts down the nights, hours, minutes and seconds to Christmas. Those who are comforted by routine will love being able to simply click the app and see how many more sleeps they have until the big man arrives. You can even shake your iPhone or iPad to make sleigh bell noises.

screen shot of sleeps to christmasCost: Free

Click here for app

3.How the Grinch Stole Christmas- For those with learning diffuculties or just learning to read this classic book is a perfect option. The book has narration options such as text highlighting and recorded audio where a child can choose: “read to me, read myself, or auto play”. They can practice reading skills while the word is highlighted and the audio reads the book out loud.

screen shot of how the grinch stole christmasCost: $4.99

Click here for app

4.First Words Christmas - This app has 40 illustrated Christmas words that have matching holiday sounds teaching kids seasonal vocabulary. This app helps kids learn the relationship between letters and words and the level of difficulty can be increased or decreased to match the ability of the child.

screen shot of first words appCost: $1.99

Click here for app

5.Gingerbread Doodle- This is a great app for kids that may not have the motor skills to make a gingerbread house. This app allows a child to create a virtual gingerbread house. The child gets to pick a style, mix the dough, build the house, and decorate the house. This emphasizes creative play and teaches kids a little about cooking.

screen shot of gingerbread doodleCost: $0.99

Click here for app

6. Toonia Cardcreator -This is a very easy to use app that is great for kids with fine motor issues to be able to create a personalized greeting card. Kids can pick, customize and arrange the artwork for the card and add a personal note. They can be printed to be shared or sent by e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.

screen shot of toonia card makerCost: $0.99

Click here for app

7.I Spy a Reindeer- This is a geat app for those on the autistic spectrum or early learnings to use the personal pronoun “I” and “me”. There are interactive themed stories that can teach childrent to identify and categorize words. All the animations, sound effects and narration can be adjusted.

screen shot of i spy a reindeer Cost: $0.99

Click here for app

8. More Holiday Dinner- is a great app for speech and life skills. Kids can plan the virtual meal and mix, bake and even carve the turkey, ham, roast or lamb. After they make their holiday meal they can go from the kitchen to the to the diningroom to serve up a plate. They will have a lot of fun creating the perfect holiday meal while learning to follow directions.

screen shot of more holiday dinnersCost: $0.00

Click here for app

9.Christmas with Corabelle- This educational Christmas app will teach children nubmers, colors and shapes. There are 5 educational games to play within the app which are: Christmas Matching pairs- where kids try to remember teh correct pairing of pictures, Christmas Necklace- where kids find the right combination of shapes and colors to creat a necklace, Aiming and Throwing- where a Christmas bulb has to be put in a flower pot, Matching Numbers and Amounts- where you have to move the Christmas presents to the appropriate number, and Matching Numbers and Addition/Subtraction game- which has addition and subtraction games using the numbers 1-10.

screen shot of christmas with corabelleCost: $1.99

Click here for app

10. Make a Scene: Christmas- This animated sticker app is a great way for kids to work on fine motor skills and learning picture name recall. Kids make scenes by dragging and dropping stickers on animated backgrounds.

screen shot of make a sceneCost: $2.99

Click here for app

11. ABC Christmas- this app teaches kids new words with pictures, sounds, videos and interactive games. It has 45+ chrismtas words and each word has 3 image of that word to learn things related to Christmas.

screen shot of abc christmasCost $2.99

Click here for app 

12. Christmas:Coloring book- This is a great christmas coloring book app that is ideal for kids with love vision. The crayons are all in a movable row so it doesn’t take up the entire screen and it has a zoom feature to enlarge the entire picture with bold black outlines for good contrast. There is an “in the lines” option to keep coloring in the lines if they stray a bit for those with dexterity issues.

screen shot of Christmas: coloring book Cost: $1.99

Click here for app 

An iPad with all of it’s wonderful built-in accessibility features is a great tool for kids with special needs. Paired with fun educational apps you can encourage your child’s creative play while learning important skills. These are just a few of the great holiday apps out there. If you would like to find more apps for kids with special needs whether they are holiday related or not, visit www.eastersealstech.com/apps for links to great sites that can help you search for apps.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 3.4 million Americans aged 40 and older are legally blind or visually impaired.  By 2030, that number is expected to rise to 6 million as more baby boomers develop diabetes and age-related disease.  The CDC also notes that vision loss is among the top 10 causes of disability in the U.S., and vision impairment is one of the most prevalent disabilities in children.  The white cane is a tool commonly used among this population that helps them navigate through surroundings.  Even though the cane has been used for centuries, it still isn’t perfect.  Several individuals have set out to create a better piece of assistive technology to aide these individuals.  One of these is a new type of sensor called the Enactive Torch, which aims to help enactive torchindividuals better “see” these objects in front of them.

Getting around is probably one of the biggest challenges for individuals who are blind.  In response to someone asking what it’s like to be blind and using the white cane, Cristina Hartmann stated, “There are a few things that get me: chairs and tables (my cane slips underneath), overhanging brush (again, my cane isn’t high enough), and cracks (sometimes my cane will bounce back, which is annoying).”  With further research, Enactive Torch can be developed to replace the white cane.

As the first device of its kind, the Enactive Torch looks like a large remote control connected by wire to a wristband.  It works similarly to a white cane.  However, it is dissimilar because it does not need to touch anything to inform the user that there’s an obstacle in his or her way.  Instead, it uses infrared sensors to detect objects in front of it.  When it detects an object, it sends a signal to the wristband to vibrate, and the closer it comes to an object, the more intense the vibration.

The device was developed by Tom Froese and Adam Spiers who studied in the Department of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, UK, and was tested by researchers at the University of Cincinnati.  Luis Favela, a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati said, “In my research, I’ve found that there’s an emotional stigma that people who are visually impaired experience, particularly children,” Favela said. “When you’re a kid in elementary school, you want to blend in and be part of the group. It’s hard to do that when you’re carrying this big white cane.”  In its current layout, the Torch is comparable to three to four remotes stacked on one another.  They’re working on making it more compact.

The device in its future renditions will also be good for children who deal with growing up blind. “In my research, I’ve found that there’s an emotional stigma that people who are visually impaired experience, particularly children,” Favela said. “When you’re a kid in elementary school, you want to blend in and be part of the group. It’s hard to do that when you’re carrying this big white cane.”

To learn more about the Enactive Torch, visit their WordPress site.

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Tech Tip: The Tile

December 15, 2014 Products and Devices

Never lose your items again with the Tile!  Our director of assistive technology here, Wade Wingler, shows us what to expect with this handy product.  Check it out! To learn more, visit our blog post on The Tile App or go to www.thetileapp.com.

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ATU185 – Web Accessibility Webinar Series from ATAP (Rob Carr), Intel and Stephen Hawking’s New Assistive Technology, Department of Justice Settlement with Peapod, Robots in Libraries

December 12, 2014 Assistive Technology Update

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs. Show Notes: Web accessibility webinar series: Rob Carr | Accessibility Coordinator, Oklahoma ABLE Tech Settlement Agreement between the United […]

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WatchMinder: Vibrating Watch and Reminder System

December 11, 2014 Products and Devices

There are several options available for individuals with ADHD, asthma, diabetes, etc., to ensure that they are staying on track with their medications and more.  And with all the smart devices on the market today, there are many apps specifically designed to aide said individuals.  However, Dr. Laurence Becker, child psychologist, felt alerts on phones […]

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5 Fun Sensory Holiday Crafts!

December 10, 2014 Visual

“Ohh, the weather outside is frightful…”  So doesn’t staying inside sound so delightful?  As temperatures decline and snow begins to blanket the ground, many parents seek ways to keep their children entertained.  Instead of reaching for that tablet computer, try engaging their senses with these holiday craft ideas! 1. Stained Glass Mittens Adorn the windows of your house […]

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Tablet computers and apps for the holidays!

December 9, 2014 Computers

In part two of our recent, 4th annual assistive technology holiday shopping show, our friends at Bridging Apps listed their top suggestions for anyone considering a tablet computer for someone as a holiday gift. Here is what they suggested. Top tablet recommendations : iPad mini: The iPad mini is very easy to use, has many […]

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Tech Tip: Doc and App Readers on ZoomText

December 8, 2014 Tech Tips

Josh Anderson shows us how to utilize the doc and app reader features available on ZoomText.  Check it out! To learn more about ZoomText, visit the Ai Squared website.

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ATU184 – Holiday Shopping Episode 2014 – Part 2

December 5, 2014 Assistive Technology Update

Podcast: Play in new window | Download   Your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs. Holiday Podcast (episode 2) 2015 product links Drive Deluxe Lightweight Transport Chair Price: $169.95 Where to find it: […]

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Aukey Special Edition Video Magnifier

December 4, 2014 Products and Devices

Are you looking to buy an affordable video magnifier for yourself or maybe for a loved one?  Well, search no longer!  MaxiAids is offering their Aukey Special Edition Video Magnifier specially priced for the holidays! Children and adults with low vision find that reading text on the go–or even at home–can be quite challenging.  With this Aukey Special Edition […]

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