This is the first-ever product to create a natural conversational flow—one of the most challenging tasks in therapy!
- Increase appropriate conversational interactions
- Enhance social skills
- Develop flexibility in self-expression
- Generalize conversation skills to real-world situations
The games replicate natural conversational interactions. Clients have choices and freedom in selecting topics, creating responses, determining the order of turns, and the amount of time for each topic. The skills necessary for successful conversation—vocabulary, grammar, critical thinking and reasoning with social awareness, listener perspective, and nonverbal language are integrated into the games.
Functional Conversation Games consists of:
- A 40-page manual with directions, reproducible game boards and materials, and dozens of conversation prompts and supports.
- Three card decks are used to teach 25 conversational strategies. Clients learn to express functional topics, ask questions, and give appropriate, specific comments.
Deck 1 Conversation Topics: 200 topics in the themes of Friends & Family, Everyday Happenings, Special Occasions, and Fun & Make-Believe
Deck 2 Communication Intents: 50 natural ways to introduce a topic and take-turns in conversation such as:
- using scripted words and starter phrases
- asking questions to clarify and seek information
- retelling information
- making comments
- offering an explanation
- expressing an opinion
Deck 3 Places & Events: each card lists an Everyday Place, an Everyday Event, and a Fun or Make-Believe Place or Event
Four games are provided in the manual, but the cards are designed to be used in any way that complements your therapy needs and you'll find many ways to incorporate the heavy-weight content into social language therapy. The materials are useful for persons with:
- expressive language and/or pragmatic (social) deficits
- high-functioning autism including Asperger's
- emotional impairments, mental illness, or behavior problems requiring improved social skills
- mild developmental delays
- neurological impairment resulting from stroke, brain injury, early dementia, or chemical dependency
- auditory processing disorders
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- Social-skills training programs need to be functional in their nature in order to generate carryover outside of the treatment room. Using neurotypical peers in treatment to serve as peer role models allows for generalization of targeted social skills (Rao, Beidel, & Murray, 2008).
- Social/pragmatic language skills (e.g., turn taking, topic maintenance, and appropriate question asking) allow a child with autism to fully participate in his school, home, and community. Since deficits in pragmatic language can result in isolation and depression later on in life, frequent and relevant intervention in social communication throughout the child's school-age years is vital and should be a collaborative effort between the speech-language pathologist, teacher, and parents (Koegel, 2000).
- Children with autism improved significantly more on their social skills competencies after group intervention focusing on engaging in conversation, sharing personal information, exploring common interests, negotiating compromise, and expressing emotions appropriately in comparison to children with autism who received no treatment (Cotugno, 2009).
- Children with autism or language-learning disorders may lack appropriate vocabulary to discuss personal emotional states, along with difficulty interpreting others' emotional states which may result in negative peer interactions. Theory of mind tasks (including perspective taking) need to be directly addressed for pragmatic skills to develop in these clinical populations (Miller, 2006).
Functional Conversation Games incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.
Cotugno, A.J. (2009). Social competence and social skills training and intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 39, 1268-1277.
Koegel, L.K. (2000). Intervention to facilitate communication in autism. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 30, 383-391.
Miller, C.A. (2006). Developmental relationships between language and theory of mind. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 15, 142-154.
Rao, P.A., Beidel, D.C., Murray, M.J. (2008). Social skills interventions for children with Asperger's syndrome or high-functioning autism: A review and recommendations. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 38, 353-361.