I have reviewed several of the videos in this series myself, but the majority of the research is from my colleague, Mary-Beth Friday, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, owner of Communication Pathways and a specialist in autism spectrum disorders and social learning skills.
Social skills are challenging to teach because the hard and fast rules have so many exceptions. Navigating social situations requires monitoring your own behavior, observing reactions from others and adjusting your behavior and responses to match appropriately throughout the exchange. Phew! Since we can’t be there with our students (and, let’s be honest, kids behave differently if an adult is around), using videos to teach these vital lessons is the next best thing.
Except that it often isn’t. So many available videos are either poorly executed or portray unrealistic situations. This new series, Every Day Speech Social Videos, are a very pleasant surprise. For those of you using Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking®, you’ll find that these would blend easily. Plus, there is an increasing amount of research in the use of video modelling which should encourage SLPs to give this approach a try!
Each video is approximately two minutes long and the entire series covers a huge number of topics including:
- Nonverbal Communication (Making eye contact, Keeping personal space, Your body language sends a message, Reading a situation);
- Making Friends (Learning to say no, Politely saying no to an invitation, Calling friends on the phone, Being a good sport, Approach a group, Act like you’re interested);
- Solving Conflicts with Peers (Not getting your way, Seeing someone else’s side, Feeling jealous, Teasing vs. Bullying, Apologizing);
- Problem Solving (Disagreeing respectfully, Losing self-control, Big or small problem?, When others break the rules, A Change in Your Schedule)
- All About the Brain (Having a Flexible Mind, Brain stuck on one thing, Using a filter, Thinking about others)
- How we act in school (Working in groups, Worry about yourself, Following the group, Public vs. private, Social Rules)
- Conversation Skills: Basic (Begin and end conversation, Introducing yourself, Taking turns in conversation, Staying on topic, Voice volume)
- Conversation Skills: Advanced (Saying too much, Interrupting, Gain attention, Making Small talk, Thinking About WHO you’re Talking To, Understanding sarcasm)
One of the best parts of these videos (aside from the fact that the kids look and act typically, though I would have liked to see more racial diversity) is that they incorporate a thought bubble for each person in the social situation to help kids understand what each person is thinking and feeling.
This includes a thought bubble for the kid making a social mistake to illustrate that the student had the best of intentions. This makes “unexpected behavior” more normal and understandable which could be useful for clients to relate to as well as to not feel so alone when they make a similar social blunder.
Another positive is that the videos always review what the theme of the lesson is and then have a “redo” to show kids how things will turn out more smoothly if they follow the expected social rule for the situation.
A final plus is that these videos do take on more abstract and difficult concepts like “sarcasm,” “using a filter” and “not getting your way,” that are seen less frequently in other apps.
The pace of the narrator is appropriate for kids that might need a little longer processing time and it’s very easy to locate a video so that you could pull it out quickly as the need arose during a session. The videos have the ability to be viewed on an iPad and can be used on or offline.
The only disappointment is that the narrator repeatedly uses the term “what did (name) do wrong.” I would have preferred a less judgement laden term, like the more widely used “unexpected behavior.”
For more information, you can check out the website at Every Day Speech.
The new set of social videos will be released on May 4, 2015 and anyone who registers from my website will receive a discount of 50%. If we get the MOST sign-ups from my site, everyone who registers will receive a FREE video package so please click the link below and ask others to do the same!
Click here to register.
I received a package of 15 videos for review, but the opinions expressed here are my own and those of Mary-Beth Friday.