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You Can Be A Social Detective App Review

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We Hated Our Teacher This Year and It Was Awesome


*Please note:  I do not have companion book or CD, which would be great for reinforcement.  This app is the 1st level of the You Are A Social Detective CD.


I downloaded the You Can be A Social Detective App to my Iphone5S from the iTunes Store.   After the introduction, you’re asked to make an avatar from a selection of cartoon characters.  One player at a time, but you can start the app over at any time with a new player.

System Requirements: iOS 7.1 or later.  May be used on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.


To become a Social Detective, the player is asked to earn a Coat, Hat, and Magnifying Glass.

MOM TIP:  Completing this entire app is too much for one sitting!  I would split playing into three 20 minute time periods, or more if needed.


The child must be able to manipulate a touch screen by pressing on the buttons (most look like smiley faces).  If needed, you can push the buttons for them.   I could see the videos fine on my iPhone 5s, but the bigger the screen the better for viewing.


  • I like that the game does not move forward till you press a button, so breaks are okay if needed.  It also doesn’t have a timer, so players are not rushed and panicked.  You can take as much time as you require, so pressures is off.
  • The short videos are great.  This diverse group of kids are maybe 4th or 5th grade and all do a nice job.
  • Visual behavior modeled is awesome for visual learners, and for reinforcement.  It takes a lot of guess work and misunderstandings out when the students can actually view the behaviors labeled as expected or not expected.
  • I know from personal experience, my son is more likely to gravitate to modern technology like apps, then to just read a book.
  • After playing, the app gives percentages that child got correct so that you can monitor their progress.  If the child plays enough, they can memorize the answers, but at least they will be memorizing the lessons.


  1. Avatars for players.
  2. Coat section (BEHAVIORS), 3 still questions, 16 short videos, All answers are expected or unexpected.
  3. Hat Section (THOUGHTS), 3 still questions, 12 short videos.  All answers are comfortable or uncomfortable.
  4. Magnifying Glass (SMART GUESSES using EYES, EARS & BRAIN), 3 still questions, 24 short videos, Answers are different for every question, two answers per question (with four choices).  **The magnifying glass section really challenging.  I got some answers wrong!


To earn the coat, the players see cartoon sketches of kids with a male voice over reading the directions and offering explanations.  The player then chooses EXPECTED behavior or UNEXPECTED behavior when asked a question.   If you get them wrong, you are given the option to go back and do the same questions again.  Once you have all correct answers, you earn your coat.

Next step is watching short videos, and then being tested on what you have learned.  When you get it wrong, it explains why and then asks you to try again with the same video.  When they get an answer correct it moves to a new video.  The videos are a few seconds of kids modeling behaviors, such as eating in the cafeteria, and playing a game of basketball.  If you get it correct, they move to next video.

Examples of bad behavior include pushing another student, throwing away a food tray, not playing nicely with others or transitioning.

There is a lot of emphasis on the eyes, body and brain, with questions and drawings that say, “Are your eyes in the conversation?” 

To earn the Hat, the students learn about their thoughts (either good or uncomfortable).  This section focuses on how your actions make others feel.  Once you earn the hat, you move on to videos, some of which focus on facial expressions like smiles, pouts, complains, shakes head, yells, thanks friend, makes weird face.

Lastly, you earn the Magnifying Glass by using your Toolbox items (eyes, ears and brain). Players are encouraged to use their social smarts to become social detective.  The goal is to figure out what people are thinking or planning to do next by making smart guesses.

This is the most complex portion with them really having to pay close attention and  be detectives.  They have to conclude if the situation is using eyes – like for seeing that someone likes StarWars because of their shirt.  Ears – to listen to what the person is telling them.  And Brain – observing if they’re going to throw ball by the way they’re holding their arm up with a ball in it.

Overall, this is an all around social thinking workout that I recommend positively.

You Are A Social Detective

From the App Manufacturer:

For Ages 7 – 12 

Discover how to become a better social thinker with Social Skill Builder’s You Are A Social Detective Beginner App. This interactive App teaches children with Autism, Asperger’s and other special needs how to appropriately engage in everyday situations. It teaches them how to use their eyes, ears and brain to make smart social guesses and investigate clues to see how others emotions and responses are connected to their own behavior. Based on the You Are A Social Detective! book by Micelle G. Winner and Pamela Crooke of Social Thinking, the following social concepts come alive for children:

· Understanding Others’ Expected and Unexpected Behavior

· Understanding Others’ Comfortable and Uncomfortable Thoughts

· Learning to Use Your Social Tool Box Items (Eyes, Ears and Brain)

· Learning how to make Smart Guesses from you social tool box items

The You Are A Social Detective Beginner App allows the child to choose their own avatar and earn their social detective tools as they learn how to improve their social skills. Educators and parents can track and share progress by emailing graphs and percentages of outcomes after playing. This fun and engaging app is a great learning tool and autism resource for teaching social skills to all children!

Developed for teachers, therapists, counselors and parents Social Skill Builder’s apps use real life scenarios and video modeling to teach social skills to children with Autism, Asperger’s and other special needs. 

Visit SocialSkillBuilder.com for more information about our unique, award winning programs! For more information about Social Thinking, visit socialthinking.com.

Please visit www.socialthinking.com for more information on their amazing products.  The You Can Be A Social Detective App is currently available on iTunes for $24.99.