She has pioneered a teaching system and app to show autistic children how to make conversation.
I asked Karen whether this app can help autistic adults as well as kids.
The answer is “Yes.”
Even though the scenes are about kids, you can learn the same concepts that kids learn when you use the app.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN
How this app teaches children with autism a new way of thinking. They can take can then take charge of their own communication in any social situation.
Contrary to what many people think, autistics have affective and compassionate empathy. But they may struggle with cognitive empathy. Cognitive empathy means being able to understand what the other person is thinking by reading social and facial cues.
To understand how to make conversation, children need to understand what happens before and during a conversation:
Before a conversation, a child must identify and understand body language, facial expressions, motions, physical feelings, what the conversation partner’s needs and wants are, and the reasons why their conversation partner feels the way he does.
During a conversation, a child needs to learn how to match the social situation appropriately and learn how to say the same concepts in different ways. Using those skills leads to more language flexibility, making the conversation more interesting.
The I Can Have Conversations With You App ties all before and during conversation components together, so that the child can get the overall gist of the conversation. Using the app, the autistic child will learn figures of speech, nicknames, and other social subtleties.
The app’s success – A mother of one of Karen’s students called her one night to tell her to tell her that, as she was tucking her 11 year old son into bed he said, “Karen’s computer teacher me to talk, and I’m talking so good now!"
Students are much more engaged with Ipads/tablets. They take interest in the characters in the stories. Research has shown that children with autism learn better visually.
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