Saturday, February 9, 2013

REVIEW: Social Skill Builder App

I was honored to have been invited to review this app. I had already been using the Lite version and had purchased two of the additional modules, so I was very happy  for the opportunity to get access to the full version.  This app puts appropriate clips of video modeling examples literally at your fingertips: iPad => fingertips! :-).  There are four settings in these apps: preschool, elementary, middle & high school, and community.  In the LITE version ($2.99) there is one module for each setting.  More modules can be purchased for $1.99 each.  The FULL version ($12.99), comes with all 10 of the currently available modules.  Future modules will be $1.99 additional purchases.  The idea of being able to purchase modules individually is an attractive option for someone who does not want to plop down $60-90 for a full app or piece of software.

What I like about this app: It gives good examples of expected and unexpected behaviors that commonly occur in these settings.  Each module presents various clips of situations (Table Talk - cafeteria scenes, etc.) that are likely to occur in that setting.  Each clip is followed by 1-2 questions to check for understanding of the concepts.  A reinforcer is played for correct answers.  The reinforcers are appropriate for young kids. Each module displays various problems, examples, and expectations that might occur in that setting.

I have used these modules in working with both individual clients and in some of my small social groups.  We watch a clip, answer the questions, and often will launch out into further discussion of our own experiences with similar situations.  The clips fit nicely with social skills training ideas.  I look forward to new modules, I am sure I will be purchasing them all.  It is a great and easily accessible resource.  It is not terribly expensive. Everyone likes those kinds of resources!

Here is a link to the website for more details: Social Skill Builder App

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bullying, Teasing, or Social Skill Deficit?

I had an interesting experience in a group this week that has left me processing and problem solving all weekend.  I had a group of three upper middle school teens who meet infrequently, it has been several months since our last meeting.  One of the students, who I thought was doing well generally, made a series of unkind remarks to one of the others; these two had been grouped together formerly. The remarks included: "we don't like each other, why are you stuttering, you are stuttering again" along with some inappropriate laughter. Though the student being referred to did not appear to take offense, it was clear that the remarks increased the stuttering behavior and made the student uncomfortable.

My first response was to "shoot daggers with my eyes" at the student making the remark the first time (not surprisingly, this made no impact whatsoever).  My next response was to quickly verbally reprimand the student: "that is a very inappropriate thing to say...".  My third response was to shut down the conversation and deliver a mini-lecture on the importance of not teasing or making negative remarks about others.  The offender took offense at being reprimanded and became defensive.  The offendee seemed unphased by any of it.  After the session, I spoke with the offendee and  mom to apologize for the incident and to vow I would speak with the other student to get this behavior under control.

Here is the background: Both  have Asperger's.  Both tend to enjoy the sarcastic side of humor.  Both like to get attention, usually in a sarcastic manner. Although, the offendee was behaving this day.

The Offendee did not seem phased by the remarks, except for having more trouble being fluent.  Although it was "said" it did not bother the Offendee but it clearly affected the speech.

The Offender tends to say what is thought.  What was the motivation behind the remarks?
  • Desire to "one-up" the other and be "on top" socially with a new member in the group.
  • Dislike of the other student with no attempt to hide it.
  • Maliciousness, bullying
  • Genuine curiosity about why the student stutters and inability to censor  words into a respectful dialogue or to understand that one must filter ones comments. (This did not appear to me to be genuine curiosity... but I could be wrong as it is often to tell with these kids what is really going on).
My dilemma:  How to approach this issue?

Did I ever say these groups were easy?  They are most definitely the hardest thing I have ever done...

My plan:  In our individual session, I will bring this incident up for discussion.  We will do a Social Behavior Map (from Michelle Winner's Social Thinking) and dissect the Offendee's responses to the situation.  I also found a helpful tool at Jill Kuzma's site: Analyzing a Teasing Situation and Types of Teasing Flowchart.  We will use these to try and help the Offender process the effect of words.  Then we will discuss what is not appropriate in commenting to others and the difference between harmless teasing and harmful teasing. I pinned some resources on my Pinterest Board for Social Skills that might help guide this discussion: Understanding Playful Vs. Hurtful Teasing, Teens Talk about Bullying, Normal Conflict vs. Bullying. This last link seems to be for younger kids but it might help illustrate the point of Hurtful Words and how they cannot be taken back: It involves crumpling a picture for each hurtful remark and then illustrating that even when we try to remove the hurt (straighten out the paper) the scars (wrinkles) remain.

We will see how it goes... If anyone has other suggestions, I would be happy to hear and consider them.

from Blog Hoppin'