Remote options available to help kids build resilience and manage their emotions

8 Apr 2020

The revolutionary Secret Agent Society (SAS) suite of programs and tools, which help children build resilience and social-emotional skills, are now available through online, telehealth and distance education options.

Responding to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Autism CRC subsidiary Social Skills Training Institute (SSTI), has moved swiftly to ensure its team of providers can continue to empower children across the globe with the program's unique combination of espionage, technology and fun. Options include:

  • online clinical services 
  • distance education services
  • home-based use by parents and children with or without the supervision of a trained SAS professional

Kathleen Davey, SSTI Chief Operating Officer & Clinical Psychologist, said that in these uncertain times it was more important than ever for our children to develop skills in resilience and managing emotions like anxiety.

"The good news is that SAS can work really well through online delivery," Ms Davey said.

"For example, parents wishing to work with their child at home during the pandemic can find a trained SAS facilitator through our website. This provider can then coach the parents on how to progress in weekly increments through an SAS intervention at home. This will include both online modules and a series of activities and practise tasks (missions) completed away from the computer or device," she said. 

"For clinicians and educators, our suite of programs can assist you to provide a variety of intervention options within your services during COVID-19 restrictions. The SAS Computer Game Pack can be used in a telehealth or distance education delivery format for you to work with children on a one-on-one or classroom basis," she said. 

"Our Small Group Program can also be delivered through telehealth or distance education, and many of our providers have successfully provided this option for a number of years now," she said. 

"The Small Group Program is a breakthrough emotion regulation and social skills program for 8-to-12-year-old children with social and emotional challenges, including those with anxiety, autism, or attention deficit diagnoses," Ms Davey said.

The program consists of small-group child sessions, parent and teacher information sessions and resources, real-life practice missions and a system to monitor and reward skill development, which can all be delivered remotely.

To be an approved provider of the SAS Small Group program in the community, professionals are required to complete the two-day SAS Facilitator Training Course, which are run as interactive live online training sessions.

The SSTI team has been providing professionals with quality and enjoyable online learning for over two years, and a number of upcoming training dates are available.

"Despite COVID-19, there are still many effective options available for us to help children develop resilience and social-emotional skills. And these skills have never been more important than they are right now," Ms Davey said.

Screens from SAS computer game showing a variety of activities
Screens from SAS computer game showing activities to manage emotions
The Secret Agent Society (SAS) Computer Game helps children build resilience and social-emotional skills