Friday, January 11, 2013

Sōsh: Improving Social Skills Just Got Easier!


Do you work with tweens, teens, or young adults on social skills? If so, Sōsh may be an important app for you to take a look at. It is designed to be used by individuals with Asperger's Syndrome, on an iPhone or iTouch,  but will work on an iPad as well.

Home Screen
Per the designer, Sōsh addresses five essential abilities for social skills development including Relate, Relax, Reason, Regulate, and Recognize. The Home screen is easy and intuitive to use. Sōsh is a strength-based road map for individuals who want to be social, and a guide for the adults who are supporting that individual in achieving their goals.

At $39.99, Sōsh seems relatively pricey, until you consider all that it offers. With over 60 well designed screens of exercises, strategies, and practical information to work through social situations in a step-by-step manner. In addition, Sōsh is available for a free seven day trial at their website here.  There really is so much available in Sōsh that I will focus on only some of the highlights.

Talking Strategies
The Relate bubble corresponds with connecting with other folks.  Clicking it opens five more bubble links: What Did That Mean, First Impressions, Talking Strategies, Out and About, and Common Ground. Each covering a different issue. What did that mean for example is a massive collection of idioms. This allows a user to look up an idiom to gain a better understanding when they here it. Common ground is a data-base that the user creates listing topics that they are interested in, and another of topics that they hear other folks discussing. Double tapping on a word in the data base opens a google search for that word. First impressions is another data base, where the user creates a rolodex of sorts of everyone they meet. The rolodex can include the person's name, phone, relationship, interests, and things you've discussed with them.  First impressions has the ability to import info from your contacts, or by "Bumping".

Too Loud!
The Regulate bubble corresponds with managing behaviors. Clicking it opens four more bubble links: Voice Meter, Monitor, Interest Log, and Tracking. Voice Meter is a simple volume meter with a visual display with the likert scale Too Soft, Just Right, and Too Loud. This is useful in helping students modulate their voice volume.  Interest Log lets the user enter an activity and how long they engaged in the activity. The Tracking bubble presents a screen with two behaviors and clicker counters to gather data on the occurrence of a given behavior.

Problem Solver
The Reason bubble corresponds with thinking things through. Clicking it opens four more bubbles: Transition Timer, Perspective, Mental Strategies, and Problem Solver.  The Transition Timer is just what it sounds like. A simple time with minutes and seconds, with the option of including a beep or voice warning when there is 5 or 1 minutes left. The Perspective bubble helps to put a stressful situation into perspective for the user. The user is able to type in a situation, and then use a scale to rate how much of an effect a given situation has on their life. The Problem Solver bubble allows the user to enter a problem, and then write out 3 different solutions. They then can check a box by the solution they choose. At the bottom there is a box to rate how well the solution they chose worked.

In addition to the practical problem solving tools above, Sōsh has a built in journal with ready email capability, a goal page, and a robust online archival system.

I have touched only on a few aspects of this incredibly rich app, and encourage anyone working social skills to take a closer look, as this is a goldmine for therapists, parents, and most importantly, folks struggling to manage social skills.

Here is a video of Sōsh in action with Dr. Mark Bowers, author of Sōsh: Improving Social Skills with Children and Adolescents.

Happy Therapy!

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