There’s an app for that.

As you are probably aware there are a multitude of apps for almost every aspect of your life; health, productivity, entertainment, social interaction, education, and the list goes on and on. Out of all of these apps how do you sift through and choose one that fits your needs? How do you know if it is going to be effective and easy to use? Well, hopefully this post will give you a clear picture of possible apps that will be a good fit for you.

This past week I attended the Learning Disabilities Association of America conference in Anaheim, California. Throughout the conference a main theme was technology and how it can be used to benefit this population of students. Several session discussed apps that can be utilized by students with learning disabilities, attention deficit, anxiety, visual impairments, etc. Throughout this post I have described several apps that may be helpful. Keep in mind, there are many different apps with similar functions and you can always research a particular app further before you purchase. This list ranges from apps that read material to you, correct your grammar, help you organize, and many more. If you find an app you like follow the link to view more features of the app.

Reading Apps

If you are eligible for books in an alternative format the apps below could help you access your book on a portable device (i.e. iPhone, iPad, Android devices etc.)

ClaroPDF is an accessible, professional and user-friendly PDF Viewer, Reader and Annotator.

View text PDF files and listen to them with a human quality voice and synchronized highlighting. Annotate and mark up text or image PDF files with full compatibility with other popular PDF apps and PDF programs in Windows and Mac. ClaroPDF is designed as an accessible productivity, reading and study PDF tool for all.

Price: $0.99

Compatibility: Apple products

Speech, Productivity and Accessibility
To support accessibility and productivity, ClaroPDF features built in human quality text to speech English voices with a range of synchronized colored highlighting options. A Speak in Background option lets you listen to a PDF while viewing another app – great for proofreading accessible text PDF files, listening to content whilst working in other apps, or even listening via Bluetooth speakers. The speaking rate can be up to 360 words per minute, and the Speak on Tap option makes speech easy to use. Over 40 additional voices are available in 27 different languages (full list on website) through low cost In App purchase, so you can easily customize ClaroPDF speech to suit your preference and languages. The voices are all built into the app so an internet connection is NOT needed to speak text.

ClaroPDF allows the background color of the PDF to be changed, to enhance readability. ClaroPDF also fully supports iOS VoiceOver. PDF image files cannot be spoken by Claro PDF voices, but can be fully viewed and annotated with ClaroPDF.ClaroPDF – Accessible Pro PDF Reader and Viewer with text to speech (TTS) and annotations.

screen shot of claroPDF screen

For more information about ClaroPDF follow this link.

Voice Dream Reader – Text to Speech

With high quality text-to-speech and a configurable user interface, Voice Dream Reader makes written text accessible to everyone. Control how text sounds in speech and how text looks on screen to suit every reading style from completely auditory to completely visual, plus synchronized combination of both. Load PDF and Word documents, DRM-free eBooks, articles, and Web pages. Connect to Dropbox, G-Drive, Evernote, Pocket, Instapaper, Gutenberg and Bookshare. All 36 enhanced VoiceOver voices, plus 78 premium voices in 20 languages from Acapela and NeoSpeech.

Price: $10

Comptability: Apple and Android products

Some of the AWESOME features:

– Text extraction from PDF, Plain text, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, RTF, Apple Pages, and HTML files
– Text extraction from DRM-free ePub and text-based DAISY books
– Support for DAISY 2.02 audiobooks, audiobooks as zipped MP3 files, and individual audio files.
– Dropbox and G-Drive
– Pocket, Instapaper and Evernote
– Bookshare and Gutenberg

– Personal pronunciation dictionary
– Play-Pause with gesture or remote control
– Navigation by sentence, paragraph, page, chapter, highlights, bookmarks, 15, 30, and 60 seconds
– Remembers speech and visual location where you stopped

screen shot of dream reader app

For more information about Voice Dream Reader follow this link.

Perfect OCR: document scanner with high quality OCR

Perfect OCR gives you both a very accurate general purpose OCR app and a high-quality document scanner. Now you can scan and OCR your letter-size or A4 documents with an accuracy of 90% or more, edit, copy and store the recognized text, and e-mail your documents as PDF files with text, SINGLE page image, or both together!

Price: $3.99

Compatibility: Apple and Android devices

Perfect OCR scans your documents using advanced image-processing algorithms to eliminate uneven lighting and shadows and improve contrast. The result is the clearest and most readable scans possible from the iPhone’s camera. Perfect OCR also offers SureScan, our proprietary scanning mode that delivers sharper images with less jitter or smear.

Our unique “Email to myself” feature lets you send documents to a predefined address, or even upload them to an online storage service like Evernote or Box.net, with a single tap. Uploading documents to online services via email is fast, secure, and can be done even if you’re temporarily off line. Refer to app help for details.

All processing happens on your iPhone, and the confidentiality of your data is never compromised. There is also no subscription fee, and no Internet access is needed to scan documents or run OCR.

Screen shot of Perfect OCR app

For more information regarding Perfect OCR follow this link.

Umano: Listen to news articles

Free news articles narrated by professionals. Listen to our ever growing catalog of articles from the world’s best publishers and bloggers narrated by professional voice-actors. Whether commuting, working out at the gym, or cooking at home, let Umano accompany you and enrich your day. This app is perfect for you if you like podcasts, listen to audio books or prefer to consume other audio content on the go.

Price: Free

Compatibility: Apple and Android products

Key features:
► Your daily headline news and thousands of articles narrated by REAL people
► Enjoy a wide selection of articles from Technology to Lifestyle
► Simple and intuitive design. Ideal for using while on-the-go.
► Build your own playlist or let Umano create one for you based on your interest or time available.
► Download capabilities for offline listening.
► See what your friends are listening to and share articles with friends via Email, SMS, Twitter or Facebook. Friends can listen, even if they don’t have Umano!
► Slick car mode designed for a perfect in-car experience

Screen shot of Umano app

For more information regarding Umano follow this link.

Web Reader – Text to Speech

Web Reader 2.5 for iPhone uses text to speech technology along with web page content recognition to read web pages to you. You can configure web pages to be read as soon as they are loaded, read pages manually after they are loaded, or use Cut, Copy, & Paste to read only sections of text. If you would like this app for your iPad view Web Reader HD.

Price: $1.99

Compatibility: Apple and Android products:

Some additional features include:
– Fast – Web Reader starts reading quickly and can read long and large web page content without breaks.
– Reads PDF – Web Reader now reads PDF documents. NOTE: Not all PDFs can be read!
– Read Locally Synced Files – When using apps that sync files locally to your device, like DropBox, you can now open those files in Web Reader and have them read to you. File formats supported are: HTML, Text, RTF, Microsoft Word.
– Remote Control Support – Using the devices headset or BlueTooth device, Web Reader can now be paused from those device remote controls. On BlueTooth devices supporting skip forward and skip back, Web Reader will skip forward and back by paragraphs when using those controls.
– Continues Reading When Backgrounded – With iOS 4 and beyond, if your device supports applications running in the background, Web Reader will continue to read while you use other apps.
– Image Block – Load pages faster by turning on image blocking.
– Two High Quality Voices – Two high quality voices – male or female U.S. English – speak perfect English to you.
– Voice Volume – Control the volume of the generated voices from the text to speech engine as well as control the overall volume with the device volume controls.
– Speaking Speed – Control how fast or slow web pages are read to you.
– Start Here – Tap the section of the article or book you want to start reading. Note: when reading PDF files, this is not currently available. When reading PDFs, you are prompted for a page number to start reading.

screen shot for WebReader app

For more information about Web Reader follow this link.

Writing Apps

iWordQ

In Writing mode, a simple text editor is used for writing with the support of word prediction, abbreviation-expansion and speech feedback features. Spell-check and dictionary access is included. Use speech recognition with an iPad 3, 4, mini. In Reading mode, text is shown in a more visually pleasing manner to improve readability. This is used for proofreading, reading to learn, silent reading, reading aloud, and casual reading/listening. A novel text chunking method (patent-pending) can be selected to enhance comprehension and readability of text to allow you to focus on one text chunk at a time.

Price: $24.99 (a little on the pricey side, but could be worth it if you struggle with writing).

Compatibility: Apple products

Listen for mistakes while sentences are spoken. Tap an individual word to highlight it and hear it spoken. This is useful to hear whether a word sounds correct. It may be spelled incorrectly, may be in the wrong form, or it may simply be the wrong word. Touch and swipe across more than one word to highlight a group of words that will be spoken out when you lift your finger. This is useful to hear whether word combinations are correct.

Touch and hold a predicted word to hear it spoken with high-quality text-to-speech. Words typed or selected from the prediction list will be read out loud. As you complete each sentence by adding punctuation it will be read back to you when you tap ‘space’. Selected text can also be spoken with word-by-word highlighting. Double-tap a word to select a word; drag to extend selection. Double-tap to select a paragraph. Select Speech button to display a speech review control and advance forward and backward by sentences/words.

screen shot of Iwordq app

For more information regarding iWordQ follow this link.

iReadWrite

This easy-to-use reading and writing App runs directly on the iPad with no Wi-Fi or 3G access necessary. It includes powerful support features that benefit struggling readers and writers of all ages, especially those with dyslexia, dysgraphia, or other learning difficulties.

Price: $19.99

Compatibility: iPad

Read text aloud with dual-color highlighting. Highlighting the sentence in one color and the word being read in another color helps with focus and reading comprehension. Highlighting colors can also be customized to suit your preferences. By having your writing read aloud, you can ensure that what you wrote is what you actually meant to write!
Use word prediction to complete a word being typed or suggest the next word. Suggestions are displayed on the left as a user is typing. Simply tap the word you wish to use. Word prediction uses context and the phonetic spell checker to help predict the best suggestions. Develops writing skills and helps construct sentences with ease!

Support features in iReadWrite include:
Text-to-speech
Word Prediction
Phonetic Spell Checker
Homophone and Confusables Checker
Dictionary
Picture Dictionary
Customizable Background and Text Colors
Choice of Voices and Fonts
Importing and Sharing documents

Screen shot for iReadWrite

For more information about iReadWrite follow this link.

Ginger Keyboard – Perfect Text

The Best FREE Online Keyboard with Spell Checker, Grammar Checker and Sentence Rephraser!

Price: ?

Compatibility: Android devices

Ginger Spelling and Grammar Keyboard is the only app that helps users write high-quality text in English.
Easily correct spelling typos, grammar errors and misused words with a single tap, and enjoy alternate suggestions to your writing. Ginger Keyboard is the only English grammar checker and spell checker online that not only corrects every text you write, but also suggests better ways to phrase your text. The Keyboard also supports word prediction in more than 20 languages.

Cover art for Ginger

For more information about the Ginger Keyboard app follow this link.

Relieve Anxiety Apps

Breathe2Relax

Breathe2Relax is a portable stress management tool which provides detailed information on the effects of stress on the body and instructions and practice exercises to help users learn the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing.Breathing exercises have been documented to decrease the body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ (stress) response, and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management. Breathe2Relax can be used as a stand-alone stress reduction tool, or can be used in tandem with clinical care directed by a healthcare worker.

Price: Free

Compatibility: Apple and Android devices

iPhone Screenshot breathe2relax app

For more information about Breathe2Relax visit this link.

iZenGarden

iZen Garden(TM) gives you all the peace and tranquility of a beautiful Zen Garden in your pocket, without the sandy mess!

Price: $3.99

Compatibility: Apple products

Every day when you start iZen Garden, you’ll be greeted with your “Daily Zen” – a tiny bit of Zen Wisdom to help put you in the right state of mind. A relaxing ambient soundtrack plays in the background. You select a bonsai tree, some stones, some leaves from the over 100 objects included. You rake, creating beautiful circular ripples in the sand. When it’s finished, you can fire up the meditation timer and sit in quiet contemplation, or even better, share your beautiful creation with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, or through Email.

iPad Screenshot 1For more information about iZenGarden visit this link.

Math & Money Apps

MyScript Calculator

Easy, simple and intuitive, just write the mathematical expression on the screen then let MyScript technology perform its magic converting symbols and numbers to digital text and delivering the result in real time.
The same experience as writing on paper with the advantages of a digital device (Scratch-outs, results in real time, …)
Solve mathematical equations by hand without actually having to crunch the numbers yourself.

Price: Free

Compatibility: Apple and Android products

More features include:
– Use your handwriting to write any arithmetic formula
– Write and calculate mathematical expressions in an intuitive and natural way with no keyboard
– Scratch-out gestures to easily delete symbols and numbers
– Portrait and landscape operation
– Redo and undo functions

Screenshot of myscript calculator

For more information about MyScript Calculator follow this link.

Money Counter Calculator

Money Counter Calculator FREE is a simple application that counts the user’s money. To use Money Counter Calculator FREE, the user simply enters the amount of coins and dollars they have. Money Counter Calculator FREE will then provide a total of all coins and dollars combined.

Price: Free

Compatibility: Apple products

screenshot of money counter calculator

For more information about the Money Counter Calculator follow this link.

Organization Apps

MyMedSchedule

Mobile is a secure medication schedule and reminder program, complete with pictures of your pills. It allows you to create and save easy-to-understand medication schedules. Each MyMedSchedule shows what times you should take your medications or supplements, how much to take, and the purpose.

Price: Free

Compatibility: Apple and Android products

screenshot of my med scheduler app

For more information about MyMedSchedule follow this link.

iHomework

iHomework is a student’s best friend during the busy times of the school year. Keep up-to-date with your school work, grades, to-do’s, teacher’s information, and almost everything else you need during the school year. iHomework is the only school organizer that can be with you anywhere you go, whether that be on your iPhone/iPod touch, iPad, or Mac!

Price: $1.99

Compatibility: Apple Products

Keep track of all the upcoming work for the school year.
Repeating assignments let you quickly enter work due every day, week, or month.
Record your grades for every assignment and let iHomework figure out what your report card is going to say.
Add partners to your group assignments and have quick access to their contact information.
Email assignments to your friends (when they forget to show up to class).
Organize your information however you like it.
Keep track of your work on iHomework’s built-in color coded calendar

Screenshot  of iHomework app

For more information about iHomework follow this link.

Picture Scheduler

Picture Scheduler is tasks organizer for people with disabilities.
App was optimized for creating and organizing personal tasks for individuals with disabilities. We thought that it would be great to create an app, which can help thousands of people who rely on visual and auditory supports to do their common tasks easily.
Universal iPhone/iPod/iPad app.

Price: $2.99

Compatibility: Apple products
➤ Creating visual tasks with attached audio, video or picture
➤ Each new created task is backed up into archive for later reuse
➤ Tasks can have alarms. There are five system sounds to choose from
➤ Alarms can be repeated daily, weekly, monthly or you can select specific weekdays
➤ Tasks can be organized into categories. Each category can have picture attached
➤ Once the task is done, you can hide it and reveal later
➤ You can optionally set on “Full screen” mode. Picture will go fullscreen while playing a task
➤ Video files are imported to device via iTunes file sharing feature
➤ Export & Import feature – export task or the whole category and import it to other devices
➤ Wireless WiFi sharing – share your categories or tasks wirelessly to other devices.

screen shot of picture scheduler

For more information about the Picture Scheduler follow this link.

Miscellaneous Apps

Say it & Mail it

Don’t type it! Just Say it & Mail it. The fastest way to email a voice memo to yourself or to someone else and optionally include a photo, movie and map location.

Price: $1.99

Compatibility: Apple products

“Say it & Mail it” has been designed with simplicity and speed in mind. It remembers your name and an email address, which makes it very fast and easy to send yourself an email memo.

INCLUDE A PICTURE OR MOVIE IN YOUR EMAIL
Take a photo or movie or select from the album.
Pictures are full resolution compressed jpg format
and the picture size can be adjusted.

INCLUDE YOUR MAP LOCATION IN YOUR EMAIL
When someone receives your email with an iPhone,
they will be able to click on the link to launch the map application, see your location and get directions.
When someone receives your email with a Mac or PC,
they will be able to click on the link to launch their browser to see your location
and get directions.

iPhone Screenshot say it & mail it app

For more information about Say it or Mail it follow this link.

I hope these apps are beneficial to you. If you have any suggestions of apps that have worked well for you email chancy.price@ttu.edu and they will be added to this post.

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  4. There is an accessory that works with OCR and Text-To-Speech apps called ScanJig. This is a simple stand that helps align documents and sets the focal distance for imaging. More info is available at scanjig.com

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