Monday, October 24, 2011

App Helps Students Improve Social Skills

TOPEKA, Kans. -- The junior high-aged kids are talking typical teenage smack during lunch when one jokingly tells another to go jump in a lake.
The youngster on the receiving end of the mild putdown looks puzzled.
"Why would I do that?," he responds. "I can't swim."
The group erupts with laughter, and the teen with Asperger's Syndrome — a disorder on the Autism spectrum characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction — walks away hurt, his embarrassment obvious.
Mark Bowers knows of many such encounters through his work as a pediatric psychologist. A University of Kansas and Topeka-trained clinician now practicing in Brighton, Mich., northwest of Detroit, Bowers has spent his career helping children, adolescents and young adults with social anxieties or development disorders deal with everyday situations they struggle to comprehend.

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