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Functional Conversation App
Ages: 9-Adult   Grades: 4-Adult

This app addresses the improvement of conversation skills for older students and adults who have a variety of disorders including autism, aphasia, social language, auditory processing, and expressive language.

Outcomes

  • Contribute meaningfully to conversations
  • Improve social skills
  • Develop flexibility in self-expression
  • Generalize conversation skills to real-world situations
Functional Conversation for iPad
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$24.99
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Your students will learn to engage in and create natural conversations through prompted conversation stimulation.  Students make choices and have the freedom to select topics, responses, order of turns, and how long the conversation should last for each topic.  Hundreds of conversation topics and prompts are included.  Each can be inserted into a conversation as is or edited to reflect personal expression and preference.

First the user chooses from three options to start the conversation:

  • Talk About Me
  • Ask Someone a Question
  • Choose a Conversation Topic

Additional choices show the student the logic of conversation and a list of options.  For example, if a student chooses Talk About Me, he selects from options like these:

  • Today, I...
  • I'm going to see...
  • I have something unusual to tell you.
  • I have an idea.
  • I saw...
  • I need to...
  • I'm planning to...

Additional options lead the student to make a comment, ask a question or change the conversational topic.  The student chooses what to add or how to respond.  Each partner takes a conversation turn by tapping the button with her name on it.  You can take a picture of a student to display as a prompt when it's her turn.  A partner can take several turns in succession.

The recently added, optional, text-to-speech feature allows your student to enter text and play it back.  This means your student can listen to complete conversations, line-by-line, and realistically engage in them.  This is particularly important for students who are nonverbal or have difficulty being understood.  This new text-to-speech feature is only supported on devices running iOS7.

When the student decides to end the conversation, the conversation and data are automatically saved and dated.  You can recall, edit, and email conversations as text files.  The student can use the script he created to practice the conversation with another partner.

 

Copyright © 2012

  • 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 App incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.

References

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.

Author(s)

Larry I. Kleiman

Biography

Larry I. Kleiman, M.A., CCC-SLP, received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from U.C.L.A.  While earning his degree, he first gained experience with individuals with developmental delays working with autistic children under the supervision of the late Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas.  After earning his master's degree in Communicative Disorders from California State University at Northridge in 1980, he joined a private practice and pursued a career as a speech-language pathologist evaluating and treating individuals with developmental delays.  Two-and-a-half years later, he founded his own southern California private practice, Larry Kleiman and Associates.

Along with his staff of speech-language pathologists and audiologists, he specializes in serving individuals of all ages with developmental delays in residential, community, and clinical settings, including program development, consultation, assessment, and therapeutic intervention.  In recent years, services have expanded to early intervention and adult neurological disorders (acute and rehabilitative); however, a prime interest for more than 30 years has been individuals with autism spectrum disorders.  Larry is the author of the Functional Communication Profile (originally published in 1994), Functional Communication Profile Revised and the Functional Communication Profile Reporting Software; and Functional Conversation Games.

Introduction

Functional Conversation App is designed to replicate the kinds of natural interactions involved in conversation in ways that can be incorporated into therapy sessions.  It addresses pragmatic and expressive language, as well as creative and critical thinking abilities with an emphasis on conversational turn-taking. 

 

Minimum System Requirements

Apple iTunes Store

  • iPad only
  • English only
  • not compatible with iPod or iPhone

Android/Google Play

  • not available