Do you have students on your caseload that struggle with initiating communication during social situations? Students struggling with initiating may benefit from an audio conversation script.
When working with students with social pragmatic weaknesses, specifically autistic students, learning the frameworks of conversation can be overwhelming. Furthermore, having strategies that can provide that framework without verbally prompting them is a great solution. Mainly, because fading verbal prompts is REALLY hard. Our students can easily become dependent on our verbal prompts to initiate communication. And, we don’t want that do we!
Help Your Students Initiate Communication Without Verbal Prompts
There isn’t anything better than watching a student initiate novel communication independently. Personally, I LOVE it! Most importantly, our jobs are to help our students be successful with independently communicating. Therefore, the strategies we use need to help provide structure without overly prompting them, if possible. If you have been finding yourself verbally prompting a lot, that might be an indicator to try an audio script!
Not only was I verbally prompting all the time, but I also wasn’t seeing a lot of generalization from doing that intervention. That’s how I got started implementing more conversation scripts to help support my autistic students. Just by adding in a visual or auditory framework, I was able to reduce my verbal prompts and see more success with independent participation in conversation tasks. In this post, I am going to be sharing 3 FREE apps to make an audio conversation script for your students.
For those of you not sure what a conversation script is, you can head to this blog post to read more about them HERE.
Benefits of Using an Audio Conversation Scripts
If you were trying to figure out if an audio conversation script is a good fit for your student, check out these benefits:
- Audio scripts are easy to make and cost-effective with FREE apps.
- You can make the audio conversation script on an iPad or phone which is easy to add to for anyone using the script with a student (this could be great for travelling SLPs.)
- Parents can make audio scripts to use at home and you can help train them.
- Using an audio conversation script can help you, staff or caregiver reduce using verbal prompts to teach communication skills.
- You can increase your student’s participation in a variety of social communication activities.
Research Study Showing Success with Using Audio Conversation Scripts
A research study by Topus, C., & Ulke-Kurkcuoglu, B. (2019) found that when they used an audio script it increased verbal interaction with autistic children. In the study, they used an audio script to teach 5 to 6-year-old autistic boys to initiate interactions with their parents during play. Specifically, the children were taught to activate an audio recorder to play an utterance (e.g., Let’s play with the duck).
When the child activated the recorder, they repeated the utterance to initiate the interaction with their parent. Subsequently, the parent would then respond to the initiation with a phrase or action that matched the request.
As the child learned the audio script, the audio recording was slowly faded (word by word) until the child started independently initiating the phrase. Based on this study, all the children maintained and generalized verbal initiations across different types of toys and settings.
The positive outcomes from this study particularly demonstrate that this intervention can increase initiation and easily generalizes to different people, items and settings. It’s important to remember that not only do we want success in our speech sessions, but we also want to see those skills used across the child’s day!
4 FREE Apps to Record Audio Conversation Scripts
As promised with this blog post, I am excited to share that you can easily make audio conversation scripts with FREE apps. Here are my top four choices for creating audio conversation scripts:
- PlayButton by Aardustry LLC Is an app that can be downloaded on your iPhone or iPad. In particular, this app is perfect to make an audio script on a parent’s, staff, or school iPad. Ideally, this means that the audio script is available to all parties that work with the student.
- Talking Button by Masanori Kubota is an app that is designed for the iPad and allows you to record your voice for 180 seconds.
- SoundingBoard by AbleNet is an app that can be used on your phone or iPad. Other notable features include making custom boards, single or multiple buttons per board, and it has switch access.
- Go Talk Now Lite – is a great app because you can add real photos, and can have a one icon page.
What Apps Have You Used to Make an Audio Script?
Do you have any user-friendly FREE apps to make an audio conversation script? Share your recommendation in the comments.