As children with social skills deficits try to navigate our highly-social world they must first learn the basics (eye contact, following eye-gaze, attending to others, etc.) and then learn to use those skills to identify others’ emotions, inference the cause of the emotions, and problem-solve the situations causing these emotions. To target these skills I use a lot of different techniques and apps. Here are my favorites.
Toca Life World for Emotion Identification & Inferencing
I love using Toca Life World! The FREE version is all you need to target social skills and make your own social scenes. Before I found Toca Life World I had so many patients who had memorized the dozens of social scenes in my clinic and I needed a fast way to make new ones with novel social situations. I quickly found that Toca Life World can be used to create social scenes “on-the-fly” or in advance. Here’s my tutorial on how I’ve been doing both.
Toca Pet Doctor for Emotion Identification & Inferencing
While Toca Pet Doctor is not free (it costs $3.99) it’s great for working on social skills! Here’s my tutorial on how I’ve been using it with more details on the least-to-most cueing hierarchy I use when I’m targeting these skills.
A special note: When inferencing the cause of emotions I prefer to ask “what made him feel sad?” rather than “why does he feel sad?” I find if I use the latter question the kids often tell me, “because he’s crying.”
Another special note: I love the Zones of Regulation and combining the framework of it while working on these skills!
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