Hearing aids aren’t the only electronic devices helping hearing-impaired children communicate more effectively these days. Regardless whether you want to learn or play, if you have a smart phone, iPad or tablet, chances are good there’s a low-cost application (or two) you can download.
Want to teach yourself or your baby sign language? Most of these apps come with a free trial version you can downloaded (when noted) and include lots of animation and features that educate as well as entertain.
Baby Sign and Learn (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android) $2.99
Babies and toddlers will love learning sign language from the animated characters in this application. Learning aids include animated videos, an interactive quiz and colorful flashcards. Supported sign languages include American Sign Language (ASL), Australian Sign Language (Auslan), British Sign Language (BSL), Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL), and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). A trial download allows you to explore the app before purchasing the full version.
My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language Dictionary (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android) $4.99
Parents and children can learn more than 300 ASL signs together with this instructional app. Includes 45 minutes of video, word search options and a quiz portion. Created by My Smart Hands, an international sign language company with more than 150 instructors in over 10 countries. A trial version is available for free download.
iSpeech Toddler Sign Language by Tate (iPad, iPhone) $1.99
Includes detailed illustrations and definitions of 60 common words with two animated children, Sammy (30 words) and Sadie (30 words). Created by a certified Speech Pathologist, this app includes two volumes along with detailed illustrations of each sign, its definition and an explanation on how to replicate it.
Just interested in having a little fun? There’s an app for that, too!
Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy by iStorytime (iPad) $2.99
Hearing-impaired children will enjoy this multi award-winning children’s book about a lovable dragon named Danny with the help of an animated sign-language interpreter that appears on the right-hand side of the page when the option is enabled. The story has won praise for its pro-family themes along with numerous awards, including the Purple Dragon Book Awards, Mom’s Choice Awards and the International Book Awards and is the first app of its kind for children with hearing loss.
AutismXpress by StudioEmotion (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android) $1.99
Even though this app was developed for autistic children, hearing-impaired children will enjoy using it, too. Three sensory mini-games featuring different emoticons enable children to identify and express their emotions. The Feeling Finder shows children animated illustrations corresponding to different emotions. The Emotion Matching challenge is a memory game and Expression Questions is a game for parents and teachers to play with their child.
Look in My Eyes Dinosaur by Fizzbrain (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) $2.99
Here’s another app developed for autistic children that your hearing-impaired child may love. This fun game teaches children to focus on the eyes in a series of faces to earn rewards (toys) they can store in a virtual toy box and play with later. Recommended for ages 3-6.