Revolutionary Secret Agent Society program wins prestigious CRC Association Awards

17 May 2018

Secret Agent Society program wins prestigious CRC Association Awards for Excellence in InnovationAutism CRC's Secret Agent Society (SAS) program is changing the lives of thousands of children and families each year with its revolutionary, evidence-based approach to helping children address social and emotional challenges. In recognition of its impact, the program was recognised at the prestigious national CRC Association Awards for Excellence in Innovation on 15 May 2018.

The Secret Agent Society program is distributed by the Social Skills Training Institute, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Autism CRC. The program helps kids aged 8-12 with social and emotional challenges to 'crack the code' of emotions and friendships, using evidence-based animated ‘secret agent’ computer games, 'helpful thought missile' action games, bully guard body armour, Challenger board game and other resources.

It's wonderful to see the Secret Agent Society program recognised for its positive impact on children's lives. Originally designed for children on the autism spectrum, the Secret Agent Society program is now also used to help children with a range of diagnoses or just to manage general challenges in a social context, such as bullying. The program has already helped more than 15,000 children across all states of Australia (including metropolitan, regional and remote locations) as well as nine countries internationally. 

The success of our program is made possible by Social Skills Training's international network of more than 1500 trained providers who span numerous disciplines, including health, disability and education in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. 

In a world where academic skills are often viewed as most important, social-emotional skill development may not always be at the forefront of many parents’ and teachers’ minds. However, the social-emotional challenges experienced by many children in everyday life can impact on educational, career, mental health, and general wellbeing outcomes later in life. 

Multiple university and community trials have shown the program to be effective in improving children’s emotion regulation and social skills. In fact, the original Australian study for the Secret Agent Society small group program holds the most clinically significant change published in the world for a program of its kind.

The Secret Agent Society program is set to positively impact the lives of even more families in the future, with a "whole of class" version of the program developed and trialed. Autism CRC and Social Skills Training have worked closely with program author Dr Renae Beaumont, educators and other school staff to develop a 'whole-of-class' version of the program, consistent with the social-emotion skills elements of the Australian Curriculum, for delivery to all Year 5 students in mainstream schools. 

A two-year trial program was delivered successfully in 2016 and 2017 in 17 schools, and the learnings are now being integrated into the training and program resources that will soon become available for widespread use across Australian schools, increasing Secret Agent Society's reach and impact.

The CRC Association Awards for Excellence in Innovation recognise outstanding examples of the transfer of CRC research results, knowledge and technologies that have been developed for a wide range of users of research, including the community, companies and government agencies.

Download the media release: Revolutionary Secret Agent Society program wins prestigious CRC Association Awards for Excellence in Innovation.