What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that ConversationBuilder is designed to help kids have multiple-exchange conversations with their peers in many typical social situations. Kids who are on the autism spectrum often have trouble having conversations with peers and with others. Using this tool for practice helps them rehearse, learn from mistakes, and ultimately have successful, multi-step conversations within the format of more than 100 included scripts and more that parents or therapists can customize. Kids who can access a device with a touchscreen can be mostly independent in participating in the conversations. Kids who are blind or who have motor disabilities can still access this app with help in selecting the correct answer and recording. Kids who are nonverbal can select the correct choice; someone else or a communication device can provide a voice for them.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- asking questions
- conveying messages effectively
- friendship building
Engagement, Approach, Support
Kids will enjoy recording their voices. Though the execution isn't the most sophisticated, the modules are interesting and the language is kid-appropriate.
A video tutorial helps users get started setting up the app. Text descriptions in the information button at the bottom of the screen also can be used as a quick reference when setting this up for kids.
What's it about?
Kids practice conversations with virtual peers in typical social situations. Given a photo of a social setting, they pick one of three sentences that would be most appropriate socially, record it, listen to a response, and continue through the conversation in the same way with up to eight exchanges. When kids select the right answer, a green record button pops up under the photo, and the correct sentence is left alone above the photo. Kids record the sentence, and then they have the option of listening to their voices or going to the next set of sentences. Conversation topics include a base conversation module, animals, friends around town, holidays, playground, water, and winter.
Is it any good?
The modules in CONVERSATIONBUILDER are very appealing and easy to use. Kids like the bright photos and the feedback of their recorded conversations. They interact with the device and with each other when it's used in a group, so there's more social learning going on than conversation alone.
In addition to the built-in modules, you can set up customized conversations for kids. You'll make a list of the kids who will be practicing and note who will start the conversation. Then choose to use the app's stock photos or to import your own to further customize the experience or to add some of the diversity that the app's included photos lack. Kids take turns recording their parts of the conversation related to the photo. They can replay what has been recorded at any time. Parents or therapists will want to replay each conversation and help kids analyze whether it was successful and why or why not.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about transitions. Create a group conversation with family members describing a difficult transition that is both conversation and social story.
Practice a conversation one-on-one with kids and then construct a similar conversation without the device to help generalize the skill.