Children and young adults who are on the Autism Spectrum Disorder generally have difficulty with socialization skills. Here is a very interesting app that incorporates the best practices of Carol Gray‘s Social Stories (Gray 2002)), Comic Strip Conversations (Gray ,1994)
the Alert Program (Williams & Shellenberger, 1996), The Incredible 5 Point Scale (Buron & Curtis, 2003), The Hidden Curriculum (Myles, Trautman and Schelvan, 2004), Thinking about YOU Thinking about ME (Winner, 2007) and other professionals. The Social Express by the Language Express, Inc for $29.99 just for the month of May has taken these different theories and created one of the most interactive, beautifully designed apps. Upon opening it I thought I was going into the set of a sophisticated animated movie as there is an opening scene with characters who play a large part in the app.
First set up your user profile. If this is your first time using the app Read through the Social Express Guide and use the website to keep up with new ideas. ( http://thesocialexpress.com/product-listing/features/). The guide will explain the verbiage used throughout the app making it user friendly. Next, return to the student you are working with on Play Lesson. The app has two skill levels. Depending upon who you are working with will determine the lesson you may want to use. Quite honestly many of the topics are appropriate for all elementary school and middle school students.
Lessons include working on coping strategies, being with a group, how to talk to friends, how to start a conversation non-verbal cues and more. THe app includes 16 lessons teaching the “social rules” of life with the hidden curriculum behind them. Each lesson comes with a skill level, a hidden social key, a goal, lesson summary and follow up activities to continue working on the skill. The app monitors your progress as you answer questions during a lesson.
Throughout the lesson teaching tips pop up. If you do not want them you can turn them off in the upper left hand corner. The lesson uses 2 characters – Emma and Zach and their dog making the students who play feel like they are part of the app. This can be used as a classroom activity or at home. It meets the needs of so many children who struggle with the day to day social skills and decision making. The app makes the student feel as though they already have built in friends, which is extremely comforting. The app is a great way to show video modeling and help with some of the difficult coping strategies of daily life.
IEP Goals: During :number verbal exchanges, the student will control vocal intonation and body language to accurately match the intent of the message (e.g., student smiles when conveying something good).
The student will practice and use various conversational scripts to maintain a :duration conversational exchange.
The student will practice and use ritual greetings and polite conversational statements to maintain :number conversational exchanges. The student will practice and use appropriate initiation of conversations and requests for clarification to maintain a :duration conversational exchange