Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top App List - I'm talking to YOU! Apps to teach conversation skills


Over on our Facebook Fanpage, we hold a regular discussion time, where you can ask all our fans for advice.  If you have a question to ask, please head over to our Facebook page where you can easily enter your question for discussion by using the Questions tab.  Aspen asked:

I work with a six year old with mid functioning autism.  He has a good grasp on basic communication (wants, needs, likes/don't like), but we would like him to expand more into conversation, telling about his day etc.  Does any one know of good apps which I think might be useful but I'm not really sure how to use them, any tips on how to teach story telling to a child with autism?  Thanks!

General suggestions:
We received the following general suggestions:

Jessy said:  Just from personal experience - questions like "how was your day?" tend to go down very badly ... and even questions like "did you have a good day?"... "did you enjoy school?" aren't really welcome ... even though they COULD be answered mono-syllabically ... My daughter react better when I ask something like: "Did you do anything fun/good at school today?" .... or "Did anything interesting happen at school today?" ... I usually get an answer with these questions - although sometimes I have to accept a flat 'No' ... which is a legitimate answer ... and other times I get an elaborate fantasy story! ... which I like anyway

Melanie commented:  My son is much older, but what worked for us in eliciting a bit of conversation was keeping a daily journal.  After each class he wrote a sentence (with prompting from his aide) about what he did in class.  At the end of the day he sent me an email using the info from his classes.  That gave me great material to work with when he got home.  We are still using the it in high school.  We also keep lists.  He finally realized the power of lists by adding things to the grocery list.  Now he makes lists and schedules for lots of things.  Be specific.  Be patient.  Good Luck.

Amy asked:  Is he verbal?  If not, instead of apps, look into using a PODD communication book.


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App Suggestions
We received the following app suggestions:


** Please note: Some of these apps have in-app purchases, but they can easily be disabled in the settings of your device. There are also ads and social network links in some of these apps. Only the app's developer can control when an app is free or not. All apps that we post as free are verified to be free at the time of this post. We make no guarantees otherwise.**


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Conversation Builder


Lauren said:  Conversation Builder helps teach back and forth social exchanges.
Cara replied:  Seconding Conversation Builder.  Really, look at anything by that same app company, Mobile Education Store.  That's where my DS was when we first started using apps for his therapy 5 years ago.  It was like they were designing apps for him.  Every time he mastered one, they would come out with another one that was perfect for the next step.

From iTunes:
ConversationBuilder™ (Pat. Pend.) is designed to help elementary aged children learn how to have multi-exchange conversations with their peers in a variety of social settings.  

The auditory pattern of conversation is presented in a visual format to help students recognize and master the flow of conversation. Students will learn when it is appropriate to introduce themselves, ask questions, make observations and change the subject of the conversation.  

Being able to converse with peers is the cornerstone of developing relationships, and ConversationBuilder™ promotes development of this skill that so many elementary aged children struggle with in a fun and engaging way.



If you would like to purchase a Conversation Builder app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking the following buttons:
Conversation Builder
($9.99, iPad only)



Conversation Builder Deluxe 
(From iTunes: The content for ConversationBuilderDeluxe™ is identical to the IAP's of the award winning ConversationBuilder™, but in a stand alone app.)
($19.99, iPad only)

 
Conversation Builder Teen 
(From iTunesteen version of the popular and award winning ConversationBuilder virtual conversation simulator. It is designed to help teenaged children learn how to have multi-exchange conversations with their peers in a variety of social settings.)
($9.99, iPad only)

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Social Skills Sampler


Donna thought:  I've enjoyed Conversation Builder by Mobile Education for high functioning and Social Express for similar areas.  For mid/lower functioning I've recommended apps by Conover company.  They have a free social skills app.  It's dry and uses adults as models but gives video and breaks down each step. 

From iTunes:
This sampler includes 62 of the most common topics in the Functional Social Skills System. Included in the program are the topics of meeting/greeting people, taking responsibility, being polite and courteous, joining others in groups, apologizing/excusing self, following directions and handling criticism.

The Social Skills Sampler HD application is a complement to our Functional Skills System software. Each application contains all the digital videos contained in their software counterparts. Social Skills Sampler is a part of a series of applications that focus on functional life, literacy, math, social, health, transportation and work skills for both the iPod/iPhone and iPad.


If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking this button:

(FREE, iPad only)



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Catherine suggested:  Check out sock puppets.  He could watch a social exchange between therapist and teacher.  It will record it and he can watch it again and again.  Try to build to him participating in the exchange/record process.  Sock puppets alters the child's voice, which kids love.  Storytelling:  you might want to take pictures of a process he personally experiences (like lunch time) and start there.  Hopefully the visuals will help.

Sock Puppets


From iTunes:
Sock Puppets lets you create your own lip-synched videos and share them on Facebook and YouTube. Add Puppets, props, scenery, and backgrounds and start creating. Hit the record button and the puppets automatically lip-synch to your voice.

Friends can work together with multiple puppets and create hilarious conversations. While recording, simply tap a puppet and that puppet will lip-synch, tap a different puppet and switch auto lip-synching to it. Switch backgrounds to take your puppets to different places, move the puppets, props and scenery to animate them while recording. Cartoon and photo realistic puppets are included.


If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking the following buttons:

Sock Puppets
(FREE, iPhone/iPad)


Sock Puppets Complete
($3.99, iPhone/iPad)



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Jenni replied:  I agree, Conversation Builder is a nice app to use!  You also might want to check out Puppet Pals or Puppet Pals 2.  They are both very easy to use, and you add his picture to the story. 

Puppet Pals 


From iTunes:
Create your own unique shows with animation and audio in real time!

Simply pick out your actors and backdrops, drag them on to the stage, and tap record. Your movements and audio will be recorded in real time for playback later. 

This app is as fun as your own creativity. Act out a story of Pirates on the high seas, fight as scary monsters, or play the part of a Wild West bandit on the loose. You can even combine any characters however you want! 

Your creations are only limited by your imagination (and voice acting skills in my case). 

FEATURES 


- Create an actor from a photo
- Use a photo as a backdrop for your storytelling
- zoom and rotate your characters using two fingers
- flip them around with a double tap
- a wide variety of creative characters to download (including famous talk show hosts and politicians)
- limitless possibilities of story creations
- buy the director's pass and receive ALL current and FUTURE content!


If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking the following buttons:

Puppet Pals HD
(FREE, iPad only)


Puppet Pals HD Directors Pass
($2.99, iPad only)



Puppet Pals 2


From iTunes:
Children unlock creativity with this easy to use (but hard to put down) interactive puppet show! Even young children can create high quality cartoons from their imaginations. Kids can even star in the show along side the built-in characters! 

Teachers: Engage students by allowing them to act out historical events, practice language skills, or deliver a killer book report. The cartoons that kids are making have delighted thousands of teachers and parents around the world - let yours be next to experience this award-winning digital addition to your classroom. The finished projects are easily shared to be watched by others (share via email, Facebook, or simply copy the video file to your computer and distribute how you see fit - Hint: students love to see their work displayed on a classroom blog). 
• Create short instructional videos (in any learning area) 

• Storytelling, Reports, Historic Retells 
• Help reluctant public speakers present to the class 
• Help foreign language or ESL students practice their fluency & language skills 
• Brainstorming or storyboarding ideas and presentations 

Characters chosen from standard curriculum allow kids to fully engage with content - not even realizing they are actually learning valuable lessons that will stay with them for years to come!


If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking the following buttons:

Puppet Pals 2: Free
(FREE, iPhone/iPad)


Puppet Pals 2: All Access
($4.99, iPhone/iPad)


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For more social skills apps, check out Jenni's Top Ten List of Social Skills apps on Smart Apps for Kids.

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If you have your own question to ask, please head over to our Facebook page where you can easily enter your question for discussion by using the Questions tab.
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Odd Socks Mummy got a new phone... an iPhone!

Odd Socks Mummy also writes at Giggles and Chatterbox-ing

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