There is increasing information in the literature on the value of using video modeling to teach social skills to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  You are a Social Detective App from Social Skills Inc. is a great app with 3 levels to break down social situations into functional terms.


The app opens with a catchy rap song about how one needs to learn to use  eyes, ears and heart in order to interpret social cues.


The app is a companion to the You are a Social Detective Book by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Cooke. It introduces the student to the task by explaining that they need to look for clues in social behavior in order to to interpret social information.



social clues



Each level has a pretest to explain the concepts required for the task. If the student gets an item incorrect on the pretest, they have to retake the pretest.

The pretest and practice videos can be replayed at any stage so that concepts can be reinforced with the student.

Level 1 

There are 16 practice videos on this level.

The tutorial explains the concept of using eyes, ears and brain in order to interpret correctly. The student must then decide if the behavior is expected or unexpected. This is done by tapping on the correct facial expression.




Expected or Unexpected behavior



Level 2 

This has 12 modeled social situations.

The student need to select if the thought is a good thought or an uncomfortable thought.

If the student gets an item incorrect, the narrator explains why it is incorrect and the student is prompted to try the item again.




Level 3 

This level has 24 example items. Each item is divided into three stages.

The first stage asks the student to select which of the toolbox items is being used to make the social decision; eyes, ears or brain.






The second stage  requires the student to make two predictions about what might happen.




Once the student has made their choices, the student is shown the video so that their inference can be verified or negated.

This is a great opportunity to discuss other social information in the video.


What I would like:

When a student attempts the item a second time, the error is still displayed and therefore there is only one possible option for the student to choose. This means that the student may not necessarily understand the concept, but is just guessing.

I thought that the terms good thoughts and ‘uncomfortable thoughts’ and ‘smart guess’ a little bit abstract for the lower functioning children. It was easily rectified though, by mediating the task requirements.

I would like the option to have the text displayed on or off as some of the children found the text distracting.

It would be great if you could have the option of selecting which video to watch in order to reinforce a concept in a particular social situation.


What I like:

I really like that the app uses social behavior  as well as facial expressions to interpret social situations.

The video models are realistic and allow for expansion of ideas and conversations. E.g. what else could he have done?

There is a lot of repetition of concepts in order to reinforce the three aspects of social thinking.

Performance graphs can be emailed by level.

On level 3 the student is required to make inferences. I really liked the fact that it was highlighted that there is more than one possible reason for something to happen.

The app uses interactive video scenarios of real students to engage the user to answer questions, make smart social guesses and establish outcomes. The use of peer appropriate models is really beneficial in facilitating engagement.



You are a Social Detective is a fantastic complement to teaching social skills with interactive video modeling. It is available on the App store  for $24.99


Do you want to find more apps to assist you? You need look no further than YappGuru, where you can type in a keyword to find apps to suit your needs.

Thank you to Social Skill Builder for providing me with a copy of the app for review. All opinions are my own. 


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