Conversation Club provides a comprehensive instructional framework for teaching both the how and why of conversation. It targets the needs of elementary-aged children with high- functioning autism (HFA) and other social cognition challenges.
The Conversation Club helps instructors guide children through the rudiments of conversation by introducing them to a clubhouse filled with a kid-friendly cast of club members, including Friendly Freddy (the President of the Club); the twins, Looking Louie and Listening Lisa; Fix It Farrah; Good Memory Maria; New Words Nate; and the club mascot, Paco the Parrot.
Club meetings are specially designed to facilitate thinking about the social significance underlying each conversation skill. Conversation goal areas include conversation initiation and topic selection, topic maintenance, perspective taking and social motivation, environmental awareness and body readiness, active listening behaviors, gaining attention behaviors, and conversation repair. Healthy social and emotional development, and especially positive peer relationships, have been shown to have a significant impact on students academic success.
Conversation is an important means of building and maintaining friendships with peers, but for most individuals with HFA, the ability to carry on a conversation remains frustratingly out of reach. This is all part of what is known as social cognition, or the mental processes we use to make sense of our social world. As a result of brain-based differences, individuals with HFA experience significant social cognitive impairments. Meaningful conversation requires the ability to quickly and accurately process a great many rapidly changing social stimuli (both verbal and nonverbal), and respond flexibly and appropriately to the conversational context. Conversational competence further requires awareness of and sensitivity to one s conversation partner.
The Conversation Club curriculum offers a unique and highly motivating way of supporting children with HFA and other social cognition challenges to master these skills and succeed in conversation with their peers.
The Conversation Club is an empirically-based social curriculum that will help children with ASD better understand how to interact with others. The curriculum is easy-to-use, motivating, realistic, and fosters successful social interactions and generalization of those skills. It is an excellent curriculum that is essential for out learners on the spectrum! --Brenda Myles, PhD, The Ziggurat Group Author of The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations
How wonderful to have an assessment, curriculum, and progress monitoring guide in one resource that therapists and teachers can use to support the development of meaningful conversation skills. Using a cognitive behavior model, The Conversation Club helps children understand both what to do and why. This is on my shortlist of recommended resources. --Kathleen A. Quill, EdD, BCBA-D Author of Teaching Children with Autism: Strategies to Enhance Communication and Socialization
The Conversation Club is a compact, focused, and simple method of teaching kids how to have two way conversations. As a verbal but disconnected autistic child, my own inability to do that was a source of great loneliness and frustration. This innovative teaching method promises to help address these barriers for autistic children today. This is a workbook for teachers, but it can be useful to parents and other caregivers as well. --John Elder Robison Author of Look Me in the Eye