Monday, July 25, 2011

#AppMondayTAS - Sosh

Do you have a child or student who struggles with social skills? If so, I would highly recommend that you check out Sosh.

About SoshTM
SoshTM is a new approach to social skills development. The Sosh methodology breaks down social functioning into five essential areas: Relate (Connect with Others), Relax (Reduce Stress), Regulate (Manage Behaviors), Reason (Think it Through), and Recognize (Understand Feelings). These 5 R's serve as a roadmap for individuals who struggle with social skills and also serve as a guide for parents, teachers, and therapists.

The Sosh App
The Sosh app (for iPod Touch or iPhone) assists children, teens, and young adults improve their social skills by providing strategies, tools, and information they can easily use in their everyday environments to navigate social situations. The app also provides feedback and guidance for parents, teachers, and/or therapists working with the user. The release of such an app has brought about an exciting revolution, as it moves social skills training into the world of mobile learning! Whereas traditional social skills tools and strategies are commonly used in superficial settings, the Sosh app was designed to work with and for individuals when the need the support the most - In the Moment, or real-time!

This app is the most comprehensive electronic and portable toolbox for social skills development! It consists of over 60 well-designed screens presenting exercises, strategies, and practical information to help users work through social situations in step-by-step manner. Below I will share what I feel are the most impressive and significant features in each section of this app. If I were to include all the features of this app, you might not read the rest of the review and miss the amazing giveaway and special offer!

  • Strength-based design, appeals to strengths of user while also building on social deficits
  • Contents of this app are evidence and research based
  • The app allows for customization by adding custom strategies, visuals, and audio recordings.
  • Strategies & tools are organized into 5 essential areas
  • Talking Strategies - presents list of strategies to help user be successful during social interactions. This section can be customized by adding media (audio or photo) to demonstrate each strategy as well as additional strategies.
  • Common Ground - encourages user to find common interests to discuss
  • What Did That Mean? - the most common idioms are explained using simple language
  • Out and About - Explore suggests nearby Locations to visit.
  • Facial Expressions Gallery - improves user's ability to recognize emotions using photos
  • Feelings - facilitates thinking about how another person might be feeling and why
  • Triggers - helps user reflect on what causes behaviors and think about whether or not actions are helpful
  • What Helps? - presents a customizable list of calming strategies
  • Shredder - virtual exercise featuring visual and auditory feedback to help the user get rid of negative feelings, thoughts, or situations.
  • Voice Meter - visual cue for students who talk to soft or loud
  • Behavior Tracking tool- virtual "clickers" to count instances of behaviors
  • Self-Monitoring - provides alerts at specified interval
  • Transition Timer - helps facilitate transitions using a count-down timer with optional warning alerts (beep or voice) at 5- and 1-minute remaining.
  • Problem Solver - template helps define problem & consider possible solutions
osh (Daily Navigation Page):

  • Journal with ability to record audio
  • Goals module, which provides option of either selecting from a list or typing in custom goals
  • To Do list with capability to include a visual for each task
  • Rate - generic scale that could be used to rate anything
  • Ability to archive & export/share data and/or media via bumping devices or e-mail
  • Favorites feature - quick way for user to access sections of app he/she uses most
  • Online forum for parents, teachers, & therapists
  • App is able to maintain data across multiple sessions/days
  • Search capability
  • Fun activity of pumping up a balloon to help relieve stress

Suggestions for Improvement:
  • Consider updating the app to fully support the iPad (universal format).
  • Modify the app so it could be used on one device with multiple children/clients/students. When the app launches, a log-in screen could appear, where the user selects his or her name and enters a password.
  • Transition Timer - There needs to be an option for "0" minutes or "0" seconds. Also, could the countdown be presented visually (like the TimeTimer)?
  • Journal - Add options to respond to questions by taking a photo or drawing. Also, provide capability to record video responses.
  • There is no easy way to delete an item on the Goals, To Do, or Favorites screens.
  • The MySosh registration form is too much to easily complete using an iPod Touch or iPhone. Either require less information or allow registration via the MySosh website.
About the Creators
Mark Bowers, Ph.D., PLLC is a licensed pediatric psychologist who has a private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has been providing psychological services to children, adolescents, and their families for over a decade. Dr. Bowers specializes in neurodevelopment disorders and is an expert in social skills development. In addition to developing the Sosh app, he is the author of the book Sosh: Improving Social Skills with Children and Adolescents, which compliments the mobile app.

Dr. Kelly Bowers is a licensed psychologist. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas. Her studies focused on the individual strengths in children, adolescents, and young adults. Dr. Kelly was named one the University of Kanasas' Women of the Distinction. Prior to beginning her role as consultant for the Gallup Organization, she served as Director of Counseling at Baker University. Dr. Kelly has contributed scholarly articles to psychology journals. She recently authored chapters in the book, Positive Psychology in Practice, and a 4-volume series titled Positive Psychology Perspectives. Dr. Bowers has been named as a Positive Psychology Fellow by the Gallup Organization and serves on the board of the Michigan Autism Partnership.

Giveaway & Offer
  • The creators of the Sosh app have provided us with 4 promo codes to giveaway to active followers and readers of the Teaching All Students blog. You can enter to win a promo code by doing the following:
    1. Comment below on this post.
    2. Tweet the following: "RT @techieteacher - @MYSOSH comprehensive social skills app featured on #AppMondayTAS - win promo codes & special 48hour discount #teachingall"
    3. Like Teaching All Students AND Sosh on Facebook. Leave a comment on either page about this giveaway.
    If you do all 3, you will be entered 3 times. Good luck!

    UPDATE: Winners of the promo codes for the Sosh app will be announced on this blog post on Friday.

- Jeremy

*** I received a copy of this app to review. ***

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