My Community teaches children and young people appropriate social behaviors, interactions, expectations and safety precautions with various peers and adults in their community. It’s a product that works well for children and young adults with Autism and special needs. The CD-ROM is especially beneficial for young people who need help in the following areas:
My nephew is on the Autism Spectrum, so I was especially grateful to have the opportunity to try three of the Social Skill Builder products and give this Social Skill Builder Review.
The software and apps are on sale until December 1, 2017.
See below for an overview/review of three of the Social Skill Builder products
My Community – Teaches Social Skills in Neighborhood and Community Settings
For Ages 5 – 15
My Community is all about enhancing a child’s social skills and personal safety. Using video of real people interacting in different settings, this software teaches children and young people (with a cognitive age of 5-15 years) appropriate social behaviors, interactions, expectations and safety precautions, and features an assortment of peers and adults commonly encountered in the community. Children will learn about situations ranging from joining a group and working cooperatively to negotiating and managing frustration.
Community settings for the video scenarios include a restaurant, the doctor’s office, a friend’s house, the grocery store and other locations around the neighborhood. The software allows the child to predict what should be appropriately said or done next, and reinforces appropriate behaviors and responses.
Your child can get the most out of the My Community software by choosing different complexity levels:
- Level 1: Simply familiarizes the user with elements of social interaction with no requirements from the child. This can be used for desensitization purposes or just observant learning.
- Level 2: Presents multiple choice questions to students, allowing them to choose the appropriate response to the social interaction
- Level 3: Presents context cues to note in a social situation and also still images of a social situation that gives them specific information relevant to understanding the social situation being demonstrated.
- Level 4: Allows the students to match thoughts, feelings and speech to each person in a social scene. They are also asked to watch two similar videos and select the “BETTER” social response or action to give.
- Level 5: Challenges the student to predict a social action or response by filling in an open ended question.
Lesson Plans: Allows a parent to customize the sequence of video clips that are presented to the student.
Scoring & Games: Tracks the students first answer to the questions. Icons are earned for every correct first answer and a mini game is played as reinforcement after every 5 answers completed.
You can view a demo here.
And below are some screen shots:
The different level options:
Here’s a colorful screen shot (cute, isn’t it?) of the Level 5 learning options. You can see that Phone Booth is a category – which I think is funny. My nephew knows what a phone booth is – because we’ve told him – I’m not sure he’s ever seen one.
Here are the instructions
What I like about this product:
- It allows students to gain a greater awareness of social cues and increase their social thought process so they can interact more successfully with others.
- It teaches important social skills.
- It does so by using social skills modeling, an effective strategy for teaching social skills to children with Autism and special needs.
- The curriculum uses real-life video scenarios which are relate-able.
- There are over 350 videos to target a range of abilities and scenarios – WOW, 350+!
- It’s interactive and it engages learners, especially visual learners.
- The videos lead to valuable discussion (and discussion is always good).
- Teaches in the safety of a child’s home.
- You can customize –
There are a few things that could be improved:
Although the program takes up the full screen on the computer – the video is rather small
Also, the video is a bit grainy – and the sound quality could be better.
An adult has to be close by, to override the program as necessary – approve the child’s answer if the adult thinks it’s correct. It is a plus that you can approve an answer – it just means you have to be nearby.
Sometimes there is a lag between clicking on play and then the video actually starting – it pauses first– see below. I know…..this is a really minor complaint.
Some videos should probably be updated. I have to ask – does your child even know what a wall phone is?
I know – these are VERY minor complaints – the videos teach necessary skills – and that’s what’s important!
Social Detective Apps –
The Social Detective Apps (beginner and intermediate) teach school age children to become better social thinkers by putting on their “detective hats” and deciphering and understanding expected and unexpected social behaviors.
The apps teach kids how to use their eyes, ears and brain to make smart social guesses.
Social Skill Builder vocabulary/definitions-
Social Detective Tools: Social detective tools are tools we use to help figure out people, places, and situations. These tools are our: eyes, ears, and brains.
Smart Guesses: A smart guess is when a person uses all of his personal tools (remembering, seeing, hearing, knowing and feeling) to figure out a situation – and then, makes a guess based on what he knows about the world.
Social Thinker: We are all “social thinkers” – and we are aware that people around us have thoughts about our behaviors.
The You Are a Social Detective Beginner app , is an interactive app for kids ages 7 – 12, that teaches children with Autism, Asperger’s and other special needs how to appropriately engage in everyday situations and to see how others’ emotions and responses are connected to their own behavior.
Specifically, it teaches kids how to:
- Understand others’ expected and unexpected behaviors
- Understand others’ comfortable and uncomfortable thoughts
- Learn to use their social tool box items (eyes, ears and brain) to make smart guesses about social interactions
The app is based on the You Are A Social Detective! book by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke of Social Thinking.
Two Screenshots –
The Social Detective Intermediate app picks up where the Beginner app leaves off and focuses on decoding the thoughts and emotions of people kids interact with day to day.
It’s also based on the You Are A Social Detective! book by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke of Social Thinking.
Five Screenshots –
Social Detective Intermediate is iPAD compatible only
What I like about the apps in this Social Skill Builder Review:
- They teach important social skills – they allow kids to gain a greater awareness of social cues and to increase their social thought processes – so they can interact more successfully with others.
- The apps use social skills modeling, an effective strategy for teaching social skills to children with Autism and special needs.
- The real-life video scenarios are relatable.
- The comic strip portions/music are fun.
- The apps are interactive – and engaging.
- The apps can lead to valuable discussions.
- They’re fun so kids want to watch/play.
- Because they’re apps are mobile, they can be watched at home, in the car, at doctor’s office, etc.
- Kids choose their own avatar.
- Kids earn social detective tools – a coat, hat, magnifying glass and badge – which is a nice reward factor that’s built into the app.
- Parents can easily track their child’s progress.
- The apps are great tools to use with the book You are a Social Detective.
Interested in one or both?
Updates could be made –
- The voice quality of the real life scenarios could be better – as could picture quality
Will this be a valuable tool for your child?
The apps are certainly worth a try, and from other reviews I’ve read, I’d combine an app purchase with a You Are A Social Detective! book purchase. My nephew liked the comic strip portion of the apps – and he liked earning his badge. For a relatively small investment, you could certainly try this program out.
Thank you for reading this Social Skill Builder Review from How to Homeschool!
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