Social Skill Builder's My Community

Many people with autism have social deficits. To help them learn what behaviors are acceptable, many use social stories which detail certain situations they may find undesirable or may have difficulty in deciding the correct course of action. These social stories can come in the form of books, videos, and software. My wife and I use social stories with our son so I was very excited to take a look at Social Skill Builder's My Community software for The Parent Bloggers Network.

My Community is set up like a town. By clicking on different icons, you can see different scenarios played out at a friend's house, the movie theater, the doctor's office, a restaurant, and the grocery story. You can also view social situations in the car, on the phone, and while crossing the street.

My Community is also divided into five different levels:
  • Level 1 -- you are shown videos of both appropriate and inappropriate behavior in social situations and are given a recap of the situations
  • Level 2 -- you answer multiple choice questions based on the information you see in videos
  • Level 3 -- you are shown multiple images and must pick the one that best answers the question you are given
  • Level 4 -- you match the thoughts and feelings of the people in the images by placing speech balloons above their heads
  • Level 5 -- you predict what happens in the situation by entering text
The videos are short and cover a wide variety of scenarios that could arise in each section of the town. The questions are straight-forward and are brief enough that the user will not become bored. To keep the learning fun, there are short games the user can play once he's answered five questions in Levels 2-5. The more questions one answers correctly, the longer one is able to play the games. The program keeps track of how many questions your child has answered and what percentage of those were answered correctly.

Social Skill Builder should be commended for making My Community so highly customizable. Not only can you focus on certain locations (the doctor's office, restaurant, etc.), you can also choose to work solely on certain social skills. If your child has difficulty in understanding others' feelings, you can select that skill in the lesson plan and your child will only be shown videos and images that pertain to understanding others' feelings.

This software was well-designed and would benefit anyone with social deficits. One of my favorite parts of the program was Level 4 as it taught you how to read facial expressions. While my preschool-aged son was unable to use this software (the program is designed for kids with a cognitive age of 5 to 15), I do know that one day he will be able to use and learn from this program.

The only negative thing I can think of about this software is there were no scenarios available for school. While I know Social Skill Builder produces separate software titles that deal solely with school, it would've been nice to include it on this title as well.


TwoBusy said...

The product sounds very interesting, although at $70/disc... that's not an easy sell.

(At least to individuals. Maybe their price point is set more with school budgets in mind.)

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