Special Educational Needs

We hope that our apps are helpful, fun and engaging for children of all abilities, including those with special educational needs (SEN). Below, we've highlighted some of the features contained in our flagship apps that may be of particular interest in relation to SEN, as well as sharing many of the individual settings that can be altered to allow the apps to be tailored to your child's needs. We regularly update our apps and always welcome hearing feature requests from our customers! 

Squeebles Spelling Test
  • The Logic Behind the App: Squeebles Spelling Test was initially developed in 2012, as a result of seeing the frustration one of our own children experienced with the 'Look, Cover, Write, Check' method traditionally used to learn weekly spellings. We found that for a child with dyslexia, it was a mentally exhausting process to repeatedly attempt to learn how to spell a word whilst also focusing on forming the letters correctly on a page. Although both of these skills are essential, we felt learning spelling words would be more successful if it was tackled separately (an approach that children with dysgraphia may prefer too). 

    Using Squeebles Spelling Test, parents or teachers can enter and record the weekly spellings in their own voice (or use over 150 pre-recorded KeyStageFun tests) and children can then type in the words using a keyboard, which children with dyslexia often find easier. Once children have successfully learned to spell a word by typing it into the app, it's then a much simpler task for them to continue to spell it correctly on paper when the additional task of letter formation is reintroduced.  
    • OpenDyslexic Font: In 2018, we added the option for parents or teachers to select the OpenDyslexic font, on a per child basis, when using Squeebles Spelling Test. Where this option is selected with no additional 'visual stress settings', text will also appear on solid white backgrounds to make it more easily readable. These features are pictured in the screenshots above.
Visual Stress Background Colour Spelling App Visual Stress Coloured Overlay Squeebles Spelling Test App
        • Visual Stress Settings: Visual stress is more common in children with dyslexia and many find it easier to read with coloured overlays or if the words appear on a particular background. With this in mind, we added both of these options to Squeebles Spelling Test in 2020. These settings can be edited on a per-child basis from the Parent/Teacher Zone. We offer a choice of 12 different coloured backgrounds to appear behind any text a child sees and have a simulator (pictured above), so your child can quickly tell you which works best if you're unsure. We also offer a full screen overlay, which will tint the entire screen to reduce your child's visual stress. Again, there are twelve colour options and you can also change the intensity of the tint.

          The images below show the screen with a coloured background applied to areas of text (left) and with a coloured overlay applied to the whole screen (right).
Squeebles Spelling Test App - no overlays Visual Stress Coloured Overlay Squeebles Spelling Test App

      • Motivation: Motivation to persevere with learning spelling words is high because each correct answer is rewarded by earning Squeebles, turns on the mini-game within the app, along with stars that can be traded in to buy 'Squeeberangs' for use in the game. 
      • Tricky Words: Words that children struggle to spell correctly are added to a 'Tricky Words' test, so that children don't have to spend time being repeatedly tested on words that they already know how to spell, in order to be tested on those that they don't. 
      • Keyboard Options: Traditionally, keyboards show uppercase letters (irrespective of whether we're typing in upper or lower case), however, some children find lowercase letters more recognisable, so an option for a lowercase keyboard can be selected in the Parent/Teacher zone. Additionally, for children who want to see uppercase letters on the keyboard when typing a capital letter and lower case letters at all other times, we offer a 'flexible' keyboard option that will do just that. 
      • Hear/See Options: Parents/Teachers can decide if a child will just hear spelling words before being asked to spell them, or whether they will also see the word first. The settings also allow you to select whether the child will see the word for 2 seconds, 5 seconds or for as long as they wish, before attempting to spell it. Additionally, the app has an 'adaptive' option, which will automatically decrease the time a child sees the word for in direct relation to their progress. 
      • Reinforcement: If a word is spelled incorrectly, Parents/Teachers can set the app to ask the child to copy the correct spelling before moving on. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the general features of Squeebles Spelling Test, or would like to buy a copy of the app, simply click here

We've created a more in-depth guide sharing how Squeebles Spelling Test has been designed to help children with dyslexia, alongside some general information of things we hope you might find useful. Download a copy of our KeyStageFun & Dyslexia PDF guide.

Squeebles Word Search
      • An Alternative Approach: For children who struggle with the idea of being 'tested', Squeebles Word Search offers an enjoyable and informal way to increase word recognition. 
      • OpenDyslexic Font: As with Squeebles Spelling Test, in 2018 we introduced the option to use the OpenDyslexic Font throughout our Squeebles Word Search app. 
      • Tailored to Ability Level: We offer 'ready-made' word searches that are suitable for a wide variety of ability levels. However, we also give you the option to enter your own word list to create 'home-made' word searches, so that the app can be perfectly tailored to your child's needs. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the other features included in Squeebles Word Search, or would like to buy a copy of the app, simply click here

Squeebles Punctuation
  • Bite-Size: It's common for children with dyslexia to also struggle with punctuation, often omitting capital letters and full stops, and writing in long paragraphs, rather than sentences. We believe that the best way for many children to start thinking about adding punctuation into their writing is to allow them to initially practise it in isolation, away from the added pressures of spelling and letter formation. In Squeebles Punctuation, children can practise everything from full stops and capital letters, to speech marks and possessive apostrophes without having to type a single word. Not only that, we also tackle contractions (e.g. I had = I'd), possessive apostrophes and correct use of its/it's.  
  • Reading Levels: If your child struggles with deciphering more complex words, they're likely to find punctuation practice more effective if they work with sentences containing simple, easy-to-read words. Squeebles Punctuation offers a wide range of sentence types so that children can work at a level that's comfortable for them. 
  • Motivation: The app offers motivation with a fun reward system, where children can Squeebles, turns on the 'Balloon Race' mini-game within the app, along with stars that can be traded in for balloons to use within the game. The mini-game has been carefully designed to offer a reward, without stealing too much time away from learning - children will need to return frequently to the educational aspect to earn more turns on the game. 
  • OpenDyslexic Font: If the response is positive, we will continue to add an OpenDyslexic font option to several of our key apps - Squeebles Punctuation will be one of them.

Squeebles Times Tables Connect
      • OpenDyslexic Font as Standard: In our latest times tables app, Squeebles Times Tables Connect, we've used the OpenDyslexic font as standard and it's our font of choice wherever there's text within the children's area. 
      • Tailor to Ability: Parents/Teachers can lock certain table sets, so that children can't attempt questions beyond their ability level and risk becoming demoralised.
      • Multiple Choice Options: The app can be set for children to be given a multiple choice of possible answers. Generally, we believe that children think through an answer more carefully when this option isn't available, but when a child with special educational needs is new to the app and may feel overwhelmed by the idea of coming up with an answer, multiple choice can be a good way of building initial confidence. 
      • Reducing Pressure: Parents/Teachers can turn the countdown timer on or off, so that children who are struggling can relax without this additional pressure.  
      • Reward Frequency: Parents/Teachers can set the frequency of the rewards that the app gives out to high, medium or low. Children who are putting a huge amount of effort into answering a question correctly, will almost certainly benefit from being rewarded more often to celebrate their successes. 
      • Squeebles Times Tables Teaches, As Well As Tests: How can children answer times tables questions when they haven't yet learned any of the answers? If your child hasn't yet learnt any times tables or has been struggling to memorise the answers, Squeebles Times Tables teaches, as well as tests! We have a whole area called 'Step-by-Step' training, where children can build up their times tables knowledge one question at a time. And whenever a new times table fact is added in, we then go back and consolidate all the old answers to make sure that nothing gets forgotten along the way. Because learning the answers to times tables questions is necessarily repetitive, this zone has a reward section all of its own built in, to make the task feel enjoyable and engaging. 
      • Motivation: Like all of our apps, Squeebles Times Tables has a comprehensive rewards system to motivate children to persevere with their learning. The reward system feeds in to a mini-game within the app. By answering questions correctly, children can earn turns, as well as Squeebles, stars, bubble-balls and flipfish, which can all be used in the game.

If you would like to find out more about the general features of Squeebles Times Tables, or would like to buy a copy of the app, visit this page.

Squeebles Maths Race
          • A Fair Race: For children with special educational needs, it can often be difficult to find themselves in situations where they don't have a fair chance of competing with peers or even younger siblings, so we wanted to create a two-player game that allows children to compete, each at their own ability level. Our game takes place on a split screen, where children can race fish along a river by answering maths questions. The winner is the first to reach the finish line. 
          • Mixed Ability Levels: Parents/Teachers can determine what level a child will play at in the settings or, if this is not set, children can decide for themselves. This means that more able children can be asked to answer trickier questions than a less able child, thus levelling the playing field (or in this case, the river where the race takes place). 
          • Question Types: Question type can also be varied. While one player may be answering the most fiendishly hard division questions, another player can be set very easy addition questions. The app offers a choice of addition, subtraction, addition/subtraction combined, multiplication or division questions.

            To find out more about the general features of Squeebles Maths Race, or to buy a copy of the app, simply visit this page.