Feature App #3: Model Me Going Places™
User by: Christina Casserly, Scoil An Linbh Íosa in Galway City
Model Me Going Places is freeDownload on the App Store
Download on the Google Play Store
Christina uses this App with all of her pupils with SEN even though it is a social stories App. aimed at children with ASD. She works in Scoil An Linbh Íosa, a primary school in Galway city, and finds the App. useful for any student with SEN who needs helps developing their social skills and appropriate etiquette.
This App. is based on the DVD "Model Me Going Places™", an addition to the popular Model Me Kids® videos for modelling social skills for children and teenagers with Autism and Asperger Syndrome.
The App. is a collection of visual social stories for helping children learn to navigate challenging locations in the community. It uses specific locations and each location contains a photo slideshow of children modeling appropriate behavior.
Christina finds the App easy to use:
The opening screen of the App. is simple, tap anywhere to continue to the basic menu. This menu presents six icons: Hairdresser, Mall, Doctor, Playground, Grocery Store and the Restaurant. Each includes a set of 12 photographs with a child modeling the expected and appropriate behaviors for each setting. The information icon provides a link to the Model Me Kids® website.
The social story begins with instrumental music and text appears on the bottom of the screen and is read aloud by a child narrator. There are minimal navigation buttons, which facilitates ease of access for the user. The green arrow button progresses the story and the orange arrow button plays the previous photo. Alternatively press the blue slide show button to advance the photos automatically. A home button brings you back to the main menu. The statement “That was easy!” is included at the end of most social story scenarios.
Christiana finds many applications for the App., beyond its social stories function. She describes some as follows:
The App. is useful for any student that needs helps developing their social skills and correct etiquette. The stories are examples of appropriate behaviour and are presented in a creative and interesting way that appeals to children. The stories specifically target two areas that children often have difficulty with, namely waiting calmly and keeping their hands to themselves.
My students enjoy watching the pictures and listening to the voices and music. For my students who are unable to read, I just set the button to keep the slides moving continuously. After we listen and watch the story, I discuss the story with the children and ask them to reflect on how they behave and act when they are in a similar situation. For my children who struggle with expected social behaviours, this App. helps them to identify their emotions and handle stress.
I also use this App. with my children who have speech and language difficulties. I turn down the sound and the children have to formulate sentences that they see in the photo set. I also ask them sequencing questions, i.e. tell me what happens first/next/last. In addition the children are learning new vocabulary such as cashier, clippers, menu etc.
Similarly parents can be encouraged to use this as a preparation tool prior to bringing their children on an outing to prepare them for the experience.
Alternatively after the outing they could reflect on their actions and behaviours.
However, a social story for children with ASD is more effective if the children themselves are in the photos and the social situations are places that they regularly go themselves, for example photos of them with their parents going to the local supermarket.
In spite of this, this App. is fantastic as it is free and easy to use and navigate. The students have no problems using it on their own. It is an attractive and appealing App. as the quality of the sound and photos are excellent and the language is clear and simple, except for Mall which I substitute with “Shopping Centre”.
Overall Model Me Going Places is an effective App. for teachers who may be new to Resource teaching and are beginning to use social stories. It gives them a sample of what should be included when they formulate social stories with their individual students and their particular challenging situations.
Cost of App.: Free
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (Requires iOS 4.0 or later)
Christina also uses various Apps. with students with Dyslexia and has kindly provided us with a list of Apps. she has researched.