In this day and age, it is essential to have some social skills teaching tools in your therapy bag. A few of my private clients have needs in this area; however, it is challenging to find activities that target peer interactions without having actual peers in my sessions! You can imagine my excitement when a representative from Social Skill Builder contacted me for a review of their dynamic app: Social Skill Builder. This app brings peers to your individual sessions by way of video clips. Clients watch videos broken down into segments and answer questions presented in multiple choice formats.
The full version of Social Skill Builder includes the following modules:
My School Day (5-12 years)
School Rules (8-18 years)
After you select a module, you can choose a theme ranging from places like "Friend's House" and "Restaurant" within the My Community module to "Classroom Assignments" or "Hanging Out" in the School Rules Module. The videos that I previewed all contained questions targeting Social Thinking vocabularies such as expected and unexpected behaviors and perspective taking about feelings and emotions. Having used Social Thinking programming in private therapy sessions, I liked this carryover into an app.
The only caveat to Social Skill Builder is that the questions are too simplistic for upper elementary-aged clients. The questions that I observed in both the School Rules and My Community Modules provided four answer choices, two of which were blatantly wrong. In future updates, I would like to see questions with less obvious answer choices directed towards more subtle social cues about nonverbal behaviors. It would also be very beneficial to have an option for open-ended, expressive questions that could trigger some dialogue between the clinician and client. There wasn't much need for discussion in my sessions because my client preferred to select answers and watch video clips, leaving minimal opportunity to promote social interactions while working on social skill building.
Take a look at what the developers have to say about this app:
All of Social Skill Builder App modules use interactive video to teach key social thinking, language, and behavior critical to everyday social situations.
This award winning software assists in the understanding and growth of social skills in the areas of:
This type of interactive engagement produces a higher level of understanding and retention than passively watching video stories. Scores are tracked so that progress can be evaluated and a pause button at each video can stop the action at each teachable moment. This is wonderful for further spontaneous learning and expansion of skills presented in the app.
About the Author
Nanette Cote, MA, CCC-SLP has her own speech-language practice, Therapediatrics. She is a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist in Naperville, Illinois who was has been practicing Speech Pathology for close to two decades. Her blog, speech2me, was named one of the top Speech-Language blogs for 2012. For more information about this practitioner, please visit speech2me Blog or Facebook