Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
A few years ago there was a request through the various yahoo groups for families with high functioning autistic children within a certain age group to test social skills software from Thinking Publications.
My son Nicholas fit the profile so I responded quickly with my email and our data. A few weeks later we received Nickel Takes on Teasing in a CD. The recommended age group is 6-10, with Nicholas right in the middle of that range. The CD had several different levels and you could keep track of your score and print out certificates.
This animated story stars Nickel, a female who happens to run into some tricky situations throughout her day going to school, riding the bus and hanging with her friends. In order to move up to the next level you need to finish and record your scores.
There are three sub-levels involving teasing - seeing other kids being teased, getting teased and teasing others. Each time you click on an answer it takes you to another screen with more options from situations based on the response clicked.
It was a bit tricky at first for us. I actually did the CD beforehand to get a sense of the stories and then sat with Nicholas a few times while he went through it so I could see his responses and discuss them in detail on why he chose that response.
There is read along text with highlighting. This would be suitable for a classroom or social skills group. There is a total of fourteen pages in a colorful format. Personally I was not too pleased with the voice of Nickel and thought the name was not the best one chosen for a social story for children on the Autism Spectrum.
Nickel Takes on Teasing is repetitious, which is good in teaching children on the Autism Spectrum. However, once you go through it a few times it become boring due to knowing the questions and answers. Some of the responses are silly, but this is appropriate for both boys and girls. It is available in MAC and Windows..
I went to the Thinking Publications website after we received the CD-Rom and must say I was quite surprised to see the price listed at $79.00. I am thankful we received it for free. When we were done with the CD-Rom I sold it to another family on ebay. For $25 I purchased on ebay a Social Skills Thinking game, which is a board game that has been utilized quite often.
You can view a sample of Nickel Takes on Teasing and purchase the CD at Super Duper Publications. This was the first social story in a series. Nickel goes on to tackle anger, stealing and disrespect. Always check ebay just in case someone is selling a copy at a fraction of the cost.
The Boardmaker program is a communication and learning tool that parents, teachers and therapists utilize. Mayer-Johnson has a software section that is categorized by activities, books, boards, sign language and symbols. Boardmaker is available in MAC. Here are some of the products the site sells. You can also request a brochure.
Flash! Pro 2 is a CD-Rom of teaching images. The site has a page of Samples to browse through. The site also has information for UK buyers and a catalog.
“ Autism Coach offers an extensive selection of high quality software for children within the autism spectrum from the U.S., England, Canada, Australia, and France” They have over 20 products for the age range of 2-6. These are available in Macintosh and Windows. The site specifies in the details for each product the exact age range and which ones are geared to the non-verbal population. For further details on Autism Coach.
Teach Town is a company based in Seattle, Washington that is working on software-assisted early intervention program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Teach Town - Educational Tools for Children with Special Needs.
Alpha Smart is a tool for children to use in classrooms, for field trips and homework. This is especially useful for children that have poor writing skills. You enter and edit text and can send the data to a computer or printer. I hope to get one in the coming years for Nicholas. We are interested in the Alpha Smart 3000. Some schools purchase these for the classroom. Software products by Alpha Smart.
Attainment Company will come to your location with free product demonstation. They sell Assistive Technology and communication products that cover life skills, math, literacy and reading. Software Index.
Social Skill Builder has quality learning tools that include School Rules Volume 1 and 2, check out Product Demos. You can also read their latest Press Release in pdf format.
Animated Speech's software is designed to give speech pathologists, educators and parents who work with these children an important new tool to build comprehension and vocabulary skills.
Laureate Learning Systems - language intervention software, syntax assessment, cost effective solutions and guaranteed results, touch screens and vocabulary deck cards.
Some Autism Related Publications
Disabled Placards for the Autistic Child
Autism Around the World