A couple of months ago, a great new social skills app, Let’s Be Social, was released by the folks at Everyday Speech. SLP, Brittany Lehane, has a growing presence on the web through her blog, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages – and the crew at EveryDay Speech launched this fabulous social skills app in January 2014.
Let’s Be Social is an interactive app in a story-question format with 5 categories of social skill learning: Personal Interactions, Navigating the Community, Social Behavior, Handling Change, and Social Relationships. Within each of these categories, there are sub-categories focusing on a specific skill area such as: conversation skills, joining a group, eating at a restaurant, respecting teachers, dealing with disappointment, hurting a friend’s feelings, and understanding jokes – just to name a few. In all – there are 25 lessons for common social skill learning topics.
My FAVORITE part of the app is the ability to create customized lessons with your own text, stories, images and questions for the user. You can add a lesson to one of the existing five skill sets listed previously, or you can create a new skill set. You can add your own images, your own text, and questions for the user to work through. EveryDay Speech had made is VERY easy to create your own lessons and content. It truly only takes about 10-15 minutes to create the lesson within the app. There is even a text-to-speech support for your lessons for students who struggle with reading. Here is a link to a YouTube demonstration of how easy it is to add your own content: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Fy-2NGCO54
Over the past few months, I have used this app in a couple of different ways with my elementary students. I have used the pre-designed lessons with my kindergarten – 2nd grade learners in social skill groups. I have specifically liked the lessons in the Social Behavior and Handling Change categories. I have also been using the customize feature. This has been my favorite application for the app. I have created specific lessons relevant to my older elementary students on the topic of: taking a joke to far, lying, good sportsmanship during a track-meet at school, and to teach what “rolling your eyes” means.
The app is priced at $14.99 as of this date at the iTunes App store. This is a good value - especially given the ability to create customized lessons. There are other apps out there to create a customized a “social story” or “video model” that might be useful to teach some of the same concepts. But – what makes the Let’s Be Social app unique is the added value of creating a story with images and also being able to create questions about the story for the user to interact with. I would highly recommend this app to SLPs, but also to special education teachers, and parents. I can even see general education teachers in the primary grades using this app at the beginning of the school year to teach some basic social skills and expectations in a fun-interactive way with their class to set the tone for the school year. In future updates for this app, I would love to see lessons specifically related to handling anger, anxiety, and being excessively silly. Perhaps a new skill-set about Handling Feelings would be a nice addition. I would also love to see a feature to upload your own short video in the stories, in place of still images.
So…. be sure to put the Let’s Be Social app on your purchase list for your personal iOS devices, or if you are like me – write it on the post-it note hanging on your computer monitor at school that is titled, “Apps to buy with 2014-2015 SLP budget.” :)
Also – EveryDay Speech will be releasing a new app soon – Let’s Use Language. This interactive app will feature 40 lessons targeting skills in Vocabulary, Sequencing, Categorizing and Opposites. I’ll have to put this one on my “post-it app shopping list” for next school year too. :) Visit the EveryDay Speech website to enter your email to receive a message when this app is released at http://www.myeverydayspeech.com/lets-use-language/
One last thing – you can find some great blog posts by SLP, Brittany Lehane at: http://www.myeverydayspeech.com/blog/ She has some great information for SLPs on using Assistive Technology and other “Therapy Thoughts” and ideas for SLPs. :)