I Can Have Conversations With You!™ has been conceived by Karen Kabaki-Sisto, M.S., CCC-SLP, an ASHA-certified Speech-Language Pathologist and Applied Behavioral Analysis instructor. For over 20 years, Karen’s passion for helping hundreds of children with autism within private practice, public schools, and specialized schools improve their lives plays a critical role in the success of her app.

 

Concerned by a lack of not only the public’s view and understanding of autism, but also the professionals' knowledge base within the field and current treatment options available, Karen has developed a unique and highly effective system which she has utilized with her students and clients throughout the years. Karen is ecstatic to unveil and share her ground-breaking app with the world!

Karen Kabaki Sisto - MS CCC SLP and conversations app creator

Hello! I'm Karen Kabaki-Sisto
I'm excited to work with your child and you!

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Autism Parenting Magazine
autism app protoype
autism app prototype

(Prototype drawings)

People with autism tend to misinterpret what each conversational partner is thinking, feeling, and saying because they don’t realize that the daughter in these scenarios cannot see the father, and vice versa. Since people with autism might not understand the conversational partners' different perspectives and what they can and can't see, they might not know who says what to whom.

 

app for autism prototype

(Prototype drawings)

In this scenario, both the daughter and father are now looking at the same focus (the duck). I Can Have Conversations With You! has been clinically developed to help people with autism realize this and learn who says what to whom - and why.

 

This lesson was simply line drawings of a few scenes on paper which required the child to cut and paste speech bubbles with various phrases to simulate talking between the conversational partners.  I was extremely encouraged when my students were excited to learn from it.  Over many years, I took data on my students’ responses, continually shaping this systematic approach to conversation for people with autism.

 

Still, I wasn’t satisfied due to the nature of the presentation.  Luckily, at this point in time, technology was becoming more advanced and accessible. PowerPoint presentations on my laptop eventually replaced the paper versions of my lesson modules. After years of witnessing progress, I became convinced that making my system available to families everywhere was becoming more important to me than ever.

With tablets in the hands of millions, the device’s tactile, lightweight, and stimulating multimedia features made it the ideal device for my learning system’s effectiveness and affordability. In 2012, I started my journey of filming hundreds of videos, audio clips, interactive touch screen cues, sound effects, and data-keeping templates. Two years later, my autism app finally launched in the App Store, and the positive feedback has been amazing.

 

I Can Have Conversations With You! on the iPad is the answer for people with autism of almost every age to use different learning modalities including touch, sight, sound, automatic rewards, and instant feedback to fully understand and be able to speak during conversations. I'd be delighted to answer any questions you have about it, and I encourage you to visit the App Store to give your child this powerful and affordable tool today.

My inspiration for I Can Have Conversations With You!

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to talk, so the field of communication disorders, also called speech-language pathology, was a natural fit when I enrolled at college in 1992.  It was shortly after, as I began working as an applied behavioral analysis (ABA) instructor with my first student with autism, when I came to realize that not all children have the inborn ability to talk and understand. This fascinated me.  I wanted to understand how he was thinking and what I could do to help.  I asked questions of parents, therapists, and doctors. I observed children with autism, and I read journal articles.  This helped, but I found myself with more questions that no one could answer to my satisfaction.

My persistence led me to my speech-language department’s library. Of all the valuable information available there, the most influential item I found was - surprisingly - in the garbage can!  Old VHS tapes were being discarded, and from rummaging through them all, I discovered a video of a psychologist, not a speech-language pathologist, discussing a concept called "Theory of Mind."

The idea is that because we cannot be totally sure about what’s inside other people's minds, we are constantly developing theories of what they might be thinking, feeling, wanting, knowing, intending, and so on.  Relating well to others requires each of us to be sort of like mind-readers.  It soon became clear that a lack of 'theory of mind' is at the heart of the problems that people with autism encounter which negatively affects every aspect of communication and conversation.

I was now ecstatic to begin my journey to help in a way that no one else had done before - fusing my knowledge of speech-language pathology, behavior analysis, and Theory of Mind.  Around 2004, I sketched out a rough first-attempt lesson which included all of the crucial targets for children with autism, such as eye contact to people and objects, identification of feelings, understanding motives, and expressing the same idea in several different ways. Inspired by the events of an actual boat ride I had taken, an artist friend and I designed this prototype on paper:

 

 

Photoshoot with my talented actors!
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
press to zoom
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
press to zoom
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
press to zoom
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
press to zoom
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
press to zoom
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
press to zoom
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
Photoshoot with my talented actors!
press to zoom

Behind the scenes with my talented team!

PROFESSIONALS' & PARENTS' TESTIMONIALS

This app is proof of Karen's years of expertise and dedication to the communication needs of people with autism

~Stacey S., Behavior Analyst

Karen is truly in tune with how kids with autism communicate and understand the world.

~Carol A., Speech-language pathologist

Karen has worked with my adult son who has autism since he was a child, and then she guided me towards a diagnosis of autism regarding my daughter who is now 8. Karen is a rare find, not only as a therapist, but as a compassionate person who cares about our children's needs and my concerns as a parent.

~Janet D., New Jersey

The I CAN HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH YOU! brand, the INTERSECTING SPEECH BUBBLES AND PUZZLE PIECE logo, and the GOLDEN PUZZLE PIECE logo are trademarks of Autism Breakthrough Solutions, LLC.

 

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