Socially Speaking Application Review
I have reviewed many applications over the past year, but I have never reviewed an application that could be used to assess or screen a students' speech and language. When Penina Rybak, M.A. CCC-SLP contacted me to review her Socially Speaking application, I was thrilled. The best part was that I was in the middle of assessing a students' social skills at the time. Continue reading to learn more about how to use this application in your speech and language evaluations!
The "About Us" page of the application shows some great images of childrens' toys, activities, and childrens' hands interacting with each other. The title describes that the application can be used with children who have Autism or other special needs related to social skills difficulties. Website, e-mail, Facebook, YouTube, and contact information for the developer of the application are available as well.
Prior to using the application, it is important to review the assessment and treatment protocol on the Socially Speaking LLC website. This application is meant to be used by a multidisciplinary collaborative team to assess social skills development as well as formulate and implement more precise IEP goals related to social skills. It does this through determining the childs' level of social skills development and then using this information to create social skill lesson plans as well as document progress on IEP goals. To use the application as a tool in speech-language therapy and for assessment purposes, you must choose one of the following buttons from the menu below:
Press the "Management Plan" button on the menu at the bottom of the screen to begin creating the plan. This page contains a form to complete to determine the plan of action in relation to the child. First, enter the child's background information and team members involved in the evaluation process. Then, enter the behaviors to modify, long term goal(s), materials to be used (with photos), visual format/learning style addressed (with photos), structured vs. elicied in play (with photos), and food/toy/social based reinforcers (with photos). Next, enter information into the forms related to judging performance/how progress will be determined such as the number of trials, achievement level, and how often the skill will be targeted. Finally, the last piece of the form requires the user to enter information about carryover activities and materials. To enter information into a white form box, press on the box and the keyboard will appear to type information. To add a photo to a portion of the form, press on the blue text that states "Take Photo". You will then be brought to a screen in which you can choose to take a photo or select an existing picture from the Camera Roll. Once you have selected an image to use, press the "Use Selected" button and it will appear on the form.
Press the "PreSchool Assessment" button at the bottom of the application to begin the Social Skills Checklist for Preschool. The developer of the application states that this should be completed before the team meeting and before a behavior plan is drafted. First, enter in the background information at the top of the form by pressing in the various white boxes and typing information via the keyboard. Next, complete the checklist with your multidisciplinary team by choosing between "Rarely", "Sometimes", and "Usually" related to how often the child performs each behavior. Social skill behaviors are placed into three different categories: Introductory Social Skills (i.e. active listening and making requests), Intermediate Social Skills (i.e. asking questions and sharing with others), and Advanced Social Skills (i.e. reading body language and problem solving).
Press the "EI Assessment" button to complete the Social Skills Checklist for EI-Readiness Indicators form. This form's purpose is to be filled out during the IFSP team meeting and/or before a quarterly EI progress note is written. First, enter the background information into the forms at the top of the form by pressing in the boxes and typing information via the keyboard. Then, select "Rarely", "Sometimes", or "Usually" for each behavior listed. Social skill behaviors are listed in the following categories (with the range of months each skill develops between): Early Cognitive Based Social Skills (i.e. active listening and joint attention), Early Communication Based Social Skills (i.e. verbal rejection and body awareness), and Early Play Based Social Skills (i.e. social smile and sharing).
Once the plan has been completed, press the "Preview PDF" button. This will populate your answers and information from the "Management Plan" and "PreSchool Assessment" into PDF format. Make sure that everything is correct on the form, then you can e-mail it as a PDF document to yourself. Press the "E-Mail" button in the top right hand corner to do so, and a pop-up window will appear. Make sure you are connected to the internet and have the "Mail" application associated with your e-mail address. Once you receive the PDF document over e-mail, you can print it from your computer and use it at an IEP/MET meeting.
What I Like About This Application:
- This application asks all of the right questions when thinking about social skills in multiple areas and gives examples as well as ages of development.
- You can add real-life photos to the application/report.
- The application can be used to write a management plan as well as screen a students' social skills.
- It is easy to use with boxes to fill in and multiple choice buttons.
- You can e-mail the document as a PDF to use in IEP/MET meetings.
- Screening a child's social skills via the iPad makes things easy since the iPad is so light-weight and portable.
What I Would Like to See in Future Updates:
- It would be great to have the option to print the PDF directly via the iPad in addition to e-mailing it to yourself.
- I would love it if I could save assessments on the app in different profiles so that I could later compare where a student was at the beginning of therapy to later on. Also, so that I can use it with different students and keep the files all in one place!
- Assessment/Screening: Assess a child's social skills using this application.
- Creating a Treatment Plan: Create a treatment plan for a child who has difficulty with social skills using the "Management Plan" part of the app.
- Social Skills: This application is primarily for the assessment and treatment of children with autism and special needs who have difficulty with social skills.
Socially Speaking is available for the iPad for $9.99.
Consonantly Speaking was given a copy of this application to review. No other form of compensation was given.