Friday, May 29, 2015

You Are a Social Detective app {Review}

Social Thinking Programming has revolutionized teaching children with autism pertinent social skills. Just about everywhere you turn, school classrooms, speech, language, and social work groups are utilizing the teaching tools from Social Thinking curriculum.  One of my favorite books in particular for elementary-aged clients is, "You Are a Social Detective", winner of a 2012 Mom's Choice Award and a 2012 National Parenting Publications Award.  Now, this award winning book by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke is available in an app that includes excerpts from the book along with video modeling for rating expected and unexpected behaviors. You will find this app appropriate for children between the ages of 7-12 years old.  As with any educational app, users should be monitored by a parent or professional during play in order to provide explanations and feedback. This review is based on my experience using it during private treatment sessions with an 11 year old client.  Let's take a closer look...

Each of the three testing levels included in this app contain instructional information taking directly from the "You Are a Social Detective Book."  Here are some sample screen shots that you will find:

Before you can play, you will need to set up a profile.  It's quick and easy and you get to select your own detective avatar.  Having a profile helps you to store and collect data as well as resume play wherever you left off from the previous session.

There are three levels of play with each preceded by a brief pretest before moving on to video clips with questions.  The first level targets expected vs. unexpected behaviors.  This particular stage was the most challenging for my client as she struggles with these concepts in school and during our sessions.  I did find it very helpful having the book's descriptions of these behaviors reviewed right before the video portion.  Given that we meet for individual sessions, it really helps having video clips of actual scenarios so we can discuss social experiences in our 1:1 sessions.  

Level 1 Pretest

Level 1 Test Sample
Next, you progress to understanding others' comfortable and uncomfortable thoughts based on our actions.  Once again, you watch a brief video and then are asked to rate behaviors given two answer choices.  My client did benefit from prompts to wait and listen to each question and answer choices as they were read aloud before making a selection and as a result, she did very well on this portion.

Level 2 Pretest

Level 2 Test Sample
Finally, level three addresses learning to use your social toolbox items (eyes, ears, and brain) and making smart guesses in social scenarios.  This level required good attention skills and a bit more concentration and focus in comparison to the previous levels as the answer choices increased in number and complexity.  On occasion, there may be more than one, correct answer choice so players are encouraged to keep looking for additional selections.  

Level 3 Pretest

Level 3 Test Sample
Overall, I really liked the combination of an awarding winning book with video modeling, especially given the challenges of working on social skills during individual treatment sessions.  In future updates, I would love to see more video clips added with increasingly challenging questions and/ or the opportunity to answer a question without answer choices.  If you would like to view a video of this app in action, then you should visit this link:

Thanks to Social Skill Builder for providing me an opportunity to trial and review this app.  Other than the redemption code, no other compensation was received in exchange for my review and opinions expressed here are unbiasedly mine.

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