Give me 5!!!!! Social Skills multiplayer version by The Developmental Garden is a must have for teaching context and meaning to both social exchanges and nonverbal communication. You can retain data for up to 5 students – elementary age or older. I have had the single version of this game for quite a while, and it is one of the most requested games I have for students that are a little older and need to work on reading nonverbal and other key social cues. Every detail in this app’s construction is meant to educate and keep kids engaged in learning. Why is this app so popular? One reason being is that for kids that are often so isolated due to lack of social skills, the chance to view their peers in action in a safe environment is a plus. Not every kid in the videos is on their best behavior, and I think that fact alone makes this app so utterly relatable. Wee doggies, haven’t we all blown it at times?
Once your individualized profile is set, play begins with having a virtual friend (male or female) drop a rainbow disc down a pachinko like board. Extra points are awarded if you can land the disc in a highlighted spot. The spots correspond to the domains of social skills addressed in the app. The eight domains that are covered are: manners, using words, nonverbal and verbal communication, making yourself understood and understanding what others are saying, feeling overwhelmed and then using calming strategies, looking at the big picture in a situation, and picking the appropriateness of when, where and who you are speaking to. Multiple examples in each situation are presented in a short video clip and then you are given a question about the context of the clip. Right answers give praise and then further reinforce with a shout out of “Give me 5”. You can also record your own phrase of encouragement if you would like. Rather than dwell in negativism for wrong answers, you are gently told that this will be viewed again later so that you can try again. And try again, kids do. All correct responses are given feedback as to why a particular response is correct, and what a nice way to present it in the privacy of a game. It is like having your own personal coach there, cluing you into the know and then guiding you in how to respond. On some level every kid wants to fit in, and knows when they are out of synch. Give Me 5!!!!! helps present and then gently nudges kids to broaden their repertoire of responses.
I love this app for the ability to take data and track up to 5 children. The content of the video clips are based on everyday occurrences and ones that frequently come up for kids. Once that data is analyzed, it is easy to practice strategies and responses to missed items in a stress free setting or in a child’s natural environment – complete with support. The app is also packaged in a board game, and customer service is excellent should you have any problems in running the app. I initially had problems because I didn’t realize the pachinko board used gravity (which meant putting my iPad in an upright position for play) to get it started. It was something so simple, but I was dumfounded in what to do. Customer Service quickly responded and I was up and running the same day. This app has never left my iPad, and I would encourage anyone to check it out and see if it fits in with your curriculum.
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play everyday; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.