$30.99View in iTunes
Conversation Builder is an app designed for primary school aged children to support them to develop their social skills and ability to have multi exchange conversations with peers in a variety of social settings. For children with autism, initiating and maintaining conversations with peers can be challenging. This tool supports children to practice, rehearse and learn from their mistakes, to ultimately have successful multi step conversations which stay on track and can be customised to their interests. The app supports children to role play conversation to target skills such as turn taking, topic maintenance and appropriate questioning in a fun and engaging way.
What we think
The app uses a visual and clear layout, making it easy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to navigate and use independently or with a peer. The app follows the natural flow of a conversation, while also being very structured and predictable. The app’s narrator provides clear instructions to guide the conversation. Overall, the structure of the app and the explicit instructions give the app a strong evidence base to support learning for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The app allows children to practice conversations with peers in typical social situations. The app gives a photo of a social setting, the child picks one of three sentences that would be most appropriate, record their response, listen to their response, receive feedback and then continue through the conversation with up to 8 exchanges. The app has a simple interface with an easy to learn pattern.
The app can be used in a variety of environments. For example, the app would be suitable to use at both home and school, with both peers and family, or even independently. The apps settings can be customised to ensure that the complexity of the conversation can grow as the child’s skills develop. There are a variety of topics (e.g. animals, holidays) and over 160 conversations to choose from. The app can also be easily adjusted to change who initiates and responds in the conversation.
The app can be motivating for children in a variety of ways. Firstly, the topics of discussion can be customised to suit a child’s interests in order to encourage motivation. Secondly, the app’s narrator provides positive and constructive feedback to motivate a child and also uses bright colours and buttons to provide positive feedback.
The app is able to be used by teachers, parents, therapists and school aged children. As the app is so versatile across its audience and the environments that it can be used in, it makes it a great resource to use to target a range of skills.
The app has a broad range of conversation topics to appeal to different students interests. The amount of conversation turns and the person starting the conversation can be adjusted to suit the skill level of the child and the size of the group.
The app targets the social conversation skills in an easy, step-by-step way making it easy for students to use both independently and with peers or adults.
The app could be improved to make the app more accessible for older children by allowing for more conversation turns. However, the app provides a good range of topics which can be a good starting point for older children to expand on with adult support, without using the app if appropriate.
The app not only targets conversation skills, but also a broad range of social skills. There is much more social learning than conversation alone. Children are encouraged to also develop their understanding of turn taking and theory of mind to understand other people’s areas of interest.
A great positive of this app is that it creates opportunities for conversation initiation. Children can develop their skills 1:1 and then generalise these skills to a group situation. The feedback provided by the app is explicit and provides in the moment teaching opportunities. It is a great resource that encourages conversation between peers but also discussion about children and adults to discuss why certain answers are more appropriate than others and the hidden rules behind these.