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Pros: Simple daily activities and short lessons provide powerful tools to help kids become more socially adept.
Cons: An adult facilitator must take the lead on almost all portions of this app.
Bottom Line: A treasure chest of social-skills-building activities created by speech and language pros that are worth the high price and need for facilitation.
Most of this app requires the initiation and guidance of an adult facilitator and would work best with small groups working in short bursts through some activities. Although it's ideal for students with pronounced social difficulties -- and especially those with special needs -- it could be a good supplement to any classroom that values SEL. On their own, students could also explore the Visuals tab, which includes more than 10 cartoon images. As they view simple explanations of how some common social interactions commonly play out, students can learn vocabulary for how to handle similar real-life situations. For example, the cartoon "Teachers Tell, Friends Ask" shows kids that while a teacher can be expected to give direct orders in a classroom ("Line up, kids!"), kids should ask, not order, their friends to do things ("Can I go first?" says one friend to another. "Sure," the second replies.)
Social Adventures is an illustrated guidebook in app form, providing teachers and parents with a tidy, powerhouse package to help kids learn positive social behavior. The app contains activities, games, and cartoon descriptions of social situations based mainly on “social catch phrases” that kids can learn to better interact with others. Created by a group of trained therapists and educators, the app focuses on seven skill areas: initiating social contact; maintaining conversations; advocating and compromising; getting regulated; interpreting non-verbal skills; negotiating space; and experiencing humor. While applicable to all kids, these resources will be especially useful to kids with special needs and/or autism.
Social emotional learning (SEL) is crucial for academic and life success, but it’s rarely in the curriculum. Most kids struggle in some way socially, and for some, these issues can be particularly challenging and inhibit academic performance. More socially acclimated kids will benefit from activities focused on the one or two skill areas where they need some extra coaching. For kids with more profound social challenges, teachers may want to utilize the entire well-organized, expert-created eight-week program.