I’ve recently got an opportunity to use the Social Quest App by Smarty Ears with my clients. After using the app for a while I decided to write a review because I really like what the app has to offer, especially because there aren’t that many apps targeting social pragmatic skills in upper elementary, middle school and high-school aged students.
What I like about this app:
Social Quest uses photographs with real life situations. Essentially students go on social problem-solving quests in various locations such as community, home, and school and earn up to 70 “rewards” linked to social competencies.
You start with the main screen offering you several choices: Settings, Select Students, Report Card, Help
You use Settings to set up consequences for incorrect responses in the Receptive Section (e.g., turn on “Buzz” or “Remove Item”). You can also use this section to remove audio for reading questions.
In Select Students section you input all the new students, up to 4 of which can participate in the same game. You double tap on the student’s photo or avatar to edit selections. You can chose to focus on improving the student’s receptive skills/expressive skills or target both.
After you select you students you can place them in a number of locations to practice social skills:
- Living Room
You can place students in more than one area (e.g., Community and Home) or target different skills for different students (e.g., Sam is working on improving his receptive and expressive skills but Josh is only working on improving his expressive skills)
The receptive portion offers multiple choices of answers. You can preset it in advance to specify whether you want the student to provide two answer choices or one. Here you can help students to identify correct and incorrect responses to social situations. You can also add extra questions of your own (correct or incorrect) and ask the student to offer a response.
With either one you can expand upon the questions and initiate follow up discussions requesting that the students elaborate upon presented information.
Probably one of the best things about this app is that you can start a group discussion on a number of topics as well as to connect the students’ own experiences to presented situations.
Once you are finished you can export the results via email or save the report card in ibooks among numerous other options.
Some improvements I’d like to see in the future:
Dividing both receptive and expressive language items into categories based on the hierarchy of complexity from easier to more difficult, especially for the expressive language component which is composed of open ended questions
Additionally my students found the questions in the expressive section to be a bit vague at times (“What can you contribute to conversation re: a fire drill?”) or contain vocabulary more suited for SLP’s or behaviorists vs middle schoolers or adolescents (“modify your environment”)
Furthermore providing some guidelines regarding the child’s error patterns might be helpful for less experienced SLPs since not every SLP using this app (e.g., new graduates, clinical fellows) will be able to easily identify and categorize the student’s error patterns.
However, even given the above, the app is a good investment for SLPs who have numerous students with social pragmatic language deficits on their caseload. The app price is also fairly affordable (especially if purchased by the SLPs school district) since its only $19.99 which is relatively inexpensive considering that comparable apps have yet to be released on the market (to my knowledge).
I can definitely tell you that from the students perspective it has been a welcome addition to my therapy room as it allows them to mix activities/tasks (e.g., alternate between paper based tasks, games, etc) and target social skills they’ve been practicing already in a more interactive way.