A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn how to have conversations with peers in many social settings. They learn to initiate conversations, respond in conversations, and participate in group discussions. In guided turn-taking, they learn to introduce themselves, ask questions, and sustain conversations and when or where not to change the subject. For kids on the autism spectrum, the implied safety and guaranteed success of interacting with a device first and then later practicing the same skills with peers may be just the steps they need to participate more easily in daily social arenas. ConversationBuilder can give a boost to kids who need help with peer interactions.
Ease of Play
ConversationBuilder has a video tutorial built in that models all aspects of the app from setting up for initial use to creating and managing group conversations. It takes very little time for an adult to learn the controls, and kids need only choose buttons relating to the initiation of or response to a conversation and then record that response. The controls are easy to set, and the microphone setup works seamlessly. Kids' conversations are stored in the archives so kids and parents can see how many conversations have been successfully completed and replay them as well. ConversationBuilder keeps track of how many conversations were finished in each topic area, so it's easy to select areas that need more practice or to quickly change to other topics.
Products & Purchases
A small button links to ConversationBuilderTeen in the App Store.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate