Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Life Skills Box - social stories for children

This simple app offers multiple ways to help children having difficulty with various life skills. The informative steps help establish expectations and necessary steps for different scenarios. My Life Skills Box offers three different kinds of techniques to help children learn different skills. From everyday life skills, social skills and playing with functional objects, My Life Skills Box helps reinforce specific behaviors.

If you would like to download My Life Skills Box (FREE, iPad Only), please use the link below to help support Smart Apps for Special Needs:

Offers in-app purchases for added stories and sequences ($0.99 each).

There are three different approaches offered in My Life Skills Box: Sequences, Social Stories and Functional Stories. Each approach offers one free story. Additional stories are available for purchase.

Sequences consist of step by step instructions for performing a certain task.  The free sequence included helps teach a child the steps to properly brush their teeth. Examples of sequences for purchase include getting dressed, eating a meal, showering, what to do if he gets hurt, going to the doctor and more.

The stories section includes both social and functional stories. The social stories explain social skills through interactions common between children. The included story goes through how to approach a friend to see if they want to play. Stories available for purchase include learning to compromise, learning to calm down, and more.

Functional Stories teach life skills through the use of toys. For example, the child can learn how to get ready for bed by practicing with a toy doll.

Through the use of three different techniques, caregivers are able to see which story-type works for their child. They are then able to expand their personal library of skills based on the need of the child via in-app purchases of other stories.

From iTunes:

My Life Skills Box allows a child to learn about life. If your child has difficulty learning in a natural environment, My Life Skills Box is a must - have application for your child.
The application teaches your child the necessary skills for three very important environments.
Everyday life skills – are activities such showering, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and appropriate behavior in public and school environments.
Social skills - your child will learn techniques to cope with different social situations and problem solving.
Playing with Functional Objects – the child will learn how to use objects for play.
The application separates each activity making them easier to learn.
This technique simplifies task analysis for the child.
The application stimulates the child's imagination with the use of beautiful illustrations of main characters. By using familiar voices for the characters, it allows the child to connect and identify with the characters. 

This provides the following benefits:
Awareness that comes before the behavior.
- Performing the behavior itself
- Internalization leading to independence. 

My Life Skills Box is a convenient and user friendly application.
The application runs on an iPad, iPhone and can also be used with iPod Touch (custom version). 
The free trial version allows users to experiment with the application. The contents catalog allows you to adapt contents according to your child's needs. 
The catalog will be updated from time to time with additional content based on daily life activities
The age range recommended for the use of the application: 3-12

The use of the application for children with special needs:
- Children on the autistic spectrum (ASD, PDD)
- Attention Deficit (ADHD)
- Apraxia, Dyspraxia,
- Mental retardation.

The application is recommended for use with a therapist, parent, educator ,or developmental professionals including - clinicians, occupational therapists, speech therapists and behavioral analysts.

How to Use My Life Skills Box:

Everyday life skills 
The screen displays pictures, sound, and text. Each step is described in a separate screen numbered in chronological order. When the child touches the screen the child will hear and see the action he is being asked to perform. 
Once the action is performed a check will be placed in the task box thereby allowing the child to understand that the task was performed and what the next action will be. 
The final screen will show that the entire task was completed successfully, providing positive feedback to the child (reinforcement) 
Double clicking on the screen will increase the size to full screen allowing the user to scroll left and right. 

Social skills
The screen will display a sequence of sounds and texts describing a situation with social insight. The story presents a problem, possible solutions and an assessment to the effectiveness of the solutions to the situation.
When the child clicks on the blinking cursor the screen will display a social situation from the perspective of the child, for example: "I'm bored playing alone."
Sequences are designed so that clicking the icon leads the child step by step through the entire situation in order to select an effective solution for action.
The child learns to solve a social situation when he takes into account his/her own personal viewpoint as well as the other person's point of view (theory of mind).

Functional play
The screen will display a sequence of sound and texts which teaches the child the first stages of using representations of objects. When the child clicks on the blinking cursor it will display suggestion to play. for example: "The doll is hungry"
Sequences are designed so that clicking the icon adds an action that the child can do during the game, thereby allowing the child to learn how to play with toys.

Rachel H. is listening to her son play with one of his first real friends as she researches ways to reinforce social skills for him.

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