The Eight Apps of Hanukkah

Image of Menorah with apps

Or The 12 Apps of Christmas, or The Seven Apps of Kwanzaa. The holidays are soon upon us!

Do you have an iPad? Need gift ideas?  Do you support people with disabilities?

Or, do you simply have an iTunes gift card sitting around, unused. Here are some ideas for free and low cost apps that can help build and support important skills, for both children and adults.

Icon for Seeing AI app

Seeing AI

  • Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text, and objects.

Icon for Snap Scene Lite app

Snap Scene Lite

  • Snap Scene(TM) provides Instant scene-based communication and language learning for your child.
  • Take a photo and tag it with recordings to let your child communicate on the fly. Snap Scene turns everyday moments into chances to learn to communicate naturally.

Icon for Peekaboo Barn app

Peekaboo Barn

  • Work with your child to learn the names of animals and hear the sounds they make. Younger children will love opening the barn doors to find a new animal animation, as they learn about cause and effect and become familiar with animal names and sounds. Older children will enjoy guessing animals by sound, then seeing the animal names, which helps develop early literacy skills.

Icon for Dexteria app


  • Increases coordination and motor control in the hands and fingers
  • Works on finger isolation and motor planning.  For people aged 5 to 85!

Icon for Splat the Clown app

Splat the Clown

  • Touch the screen anywhere or press a switch to splat the clowns as they move across a target in the middle of the screen, splat five clowns to get a reward. What will you throw this time, ripe fruit, rotten cheese or a custard pie?
  • This accessible and inclusive game has been designed to encourage and develop hand-eye coordination and switch timing skills.

Icon for Pictello app


  • Everyone loves to tell fun, engaging, and imaginative stories. Go ahead and make a social story or visual schedule for a child with autism or a slide show of holiday pictures for your friends – Pictello makes it a breeze to create and share!

Image Spinner app icon

Image Spinner

  • Choose up to 10 photos and record 10 pieces of audio to create your own spinner.
  • Press or shake the spinner and it will randomly land in one of the segments. Press record to record your audio, then press stop, play it back or re-record your audio. This app can target matching sounds and pictures, taking turns, object identification.  It could be used to sequence images for “silly stories”.

Icon for Make Beliefs Comix app

Make Beliefs Comix

  • Create your own world of stories with help from this easy-to-use comic strip generator. Share your comic with the world via email or on any social media channel.
  • Use this app to create social stories.  This app contains characters of different genders, ages, & ethnicities.  Students can create their own comix and work on narrative development.  

Icon for sushi monster app

Sushi Monster

  • A game to practice, reinforce, and extend math fact fluency is completely engaging and appropriately challenging.
  • Strengthen reasoning strategies for whole number addition and multiplication by helping monsters make a target sum or product. Earn points with each correct answer… but watch out for distractions! To be successful, plan ahead and strategically select numbers from the sushi counter.

Icon for Jungle Coins app

Jungle Coins

  • Learn to identify coins, count coins, and make change.  With coins and languages available from several countries. This is a great learning app for anyone working on math concepts involving money.
  • Learn the life skill of counting your change, but make it a game!

Icon for SMule Madpad app

Smule MadPad

  • Record and use sounds from your everyday life to create music.  Use this app to work on following directions, communication, attention to details, and creativity!

Finally, are the holidays already providing you with ample stress?  Is your To Do list a mile long, and growing? Do you have relatives to deal with, and a thousand presents to wrap? Learn to relax and breathe….

Icon for the Calm app


  • This app guides you through meditation techniques and stress reduction.  Take a time out from the frenzy that is December.  This app may also be useful for individuals with autism, ADD, and PTSD.
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Kathryn Helland

Kathryn is a certified speech-language pathologist and works with children and adults with complex communication needs. She has been with the TechOWL team since 2015 and is currently working on her doctorate. She would like to examine how to best support AAC users in higher education.

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