Friendly Apps for Social Success

These high-tech helpers for special-needs kids teach expected social behavior.

How Would You Feel If...

ages 6 and up (iOS, $1.99)

How Would You Feel If... poses that question in 56 different life situations designed to lead to discussions of a child's reaction and feelings. Each illustrated "card" asks a question, such as, "How would you feel if your favorite football team lost?" The appropriate and incorrect responses receive feedback, and a child's results can be viewed on a graph.

Model Me Going Places

ages 3 and up (iOS, free)

This app presents slideshows of children modeling appropriate behavior in everyday places, such as school, a store, or a restaurant. Each slide is accompanied by audio narration and descriptive text. Model Me Going Places helps reinforce expected behavior and lessens the fear of new places in a child with autism or Asperger's syndrome. Be aware that the app contains advertisements for the company's line of social-skills DVDs.

Touch and Learn—Emotions

ages 4 and up (iOS; free)

Photos of children with different facial expressions provide safe practice in recognizing feelings. Accompanying audio guides the user in trying to identify which child is showing which emotion. This program helps children with developmental delays learn to read body language and recognize and name common emotions.

Social Adventures

(iOS; $9.99)

Created by parents, Social Adventures offers an eight-week social skills awareness program that can double as individual lessons as needed for practicing relationship behaviors and initiating interactions. Designed for children with autism spectrum disorders and social difficulties, this app offers valuable practice in thinking about and behaving during a variety of social situations.

From the book Breaking Through: Using Educational Technology for Children with Special Needs, by Barbara Albers Hill

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