Intended to improve the conversational capabilities and social comfort of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, the Social Conversation system allows users to practice having varied conversations with Sam Martin™ about numerous topics. Through conversations with Sam, users will gain experience beginning and ending conversations, avoiding inappropriate questions and statements, implementing tips to prolong the conversation, and learning how to have cooperative conversations.
Users gain skill in finding commonalities with Sam, observing his conversational and behavioral cues, changing topics, and maintaining appropriate eye contact. Users can refer back to the educational materials to refresh their knowledge of conversational techniques and how to select conversation topics and avoid impulsive statements. On-screen assistance is also available through a help coach who provides real-time feedback. After each conversation, users will receive helpful feedback, encouraging repeated practice.
We also created the Andy Newman Conversation as a demonstration of our capabilities in helping children with autism. Users practice talking to Andy, a potential new friend at school, about common interests, siblings, pets, and where Andy lived before. Users can even try to arrange a play date. Andy will be eager to be friends with the user, but will be less likely to want to play together if the user makes more impulsive statements or makes the conversation too one-sided.