How Secret Agent Society Small Group Program empowers kids

How Secret Agent Society Small Group Program empowers kids
Posted on Wed 13 Nov 2019

Written by Tina Wild

 

The Secret Agent Society (SAS) Small Group Program helps kids 8 to 12 years of age who have social or emotional challenges to crack the code of friendships and find their tribe.

This evidence-based program is one of the most successful of its kind in the world, providing children, including those on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or with anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anger management difficulties and undiagnosed difficulties, with the tools and skills to change their everyday lives by making friends, and feeling happier, calmer and braver.

Read Samuel’s story about the program’s impact on his and his family’s lives.

 

Samuel’s story

Samuel’s mum, Rachael, heard about  Secret Agent Society (SAS) Small Group Program through a friend and several health professionals. Rachael was interested in how it can help build social skills in kids and decided this was a “must-do” for her 11 year old son, Samuel.

 

What difference did Secret Agent Society (SAS) Small Group Program make to Samuel?

  • The weekly rewards specific to his interest in computers and technology captivated his attention and maintained the motivation to continue with the course. The robot hand was a huge success!
  • His confidence improved, for example, he now chooses his own library books at the local library and will borrow them by himself. At home, with verbal prompting, he will explain handball rules to his younger sister.
  • He’s now aware of looking at people's faces when speaking to them and is able to identify emotions through facial expressions and different tones of voice.
  • He particularly enjoyed the computer game part of this program.
  • He’s now willing to think and show more interest in other people’s topic during conversation.
  • He tries different activities, such as riding his bike at home on the streets with other boys his age, who are all from different schools.
  • Overall, he looks more comfortable and happy with who he is, which is so lovely and heartening to see. The skills he’s learned can be used for life, so it was definitely worthwhile investing the time.

 

What difference did Secret Agent Society (SAS) Small Group Program make to you as a parent?

- We were taught new ways to help Samuel to improve his communication both with peers and family. 

- Our confidence increased in being able to follow strategies and use the same language from weekly topics; like anxiety and anger, which we learned on computer games called emotionometer and play code.

- The inclusion of games to name and identify emotions was very engaging for Samuel’s learning. The secret agent detective computer game has scenarios where several children are playing together and one of the characters gives hints on how it’s best to ask people to join in playing and what to do if people say no to playing.

- The program helped us to understand how Samuel thinks and acts, and as result, improved our ability to communicate with him. We now change the way we chat by asking questions in a different way, this helps to get more information about the topic being discussed.

- We are better equipped with teaching tools to help continue to help Samuel develop his skills at home. We can refer to emotions such as anxiety and anger, and can prompt ways to relax as needed. The O2 regulator equipped us with relaxation tools, such as positive thinking, doing a physical activity, listening to music or reading a book. Samuel puts these methods into practice and can now calm down quicker at home and school.

 

“The course helps both parents and the child. The skills learnt can be used for life, and the child can practise social skills in a safe environment during sessions then apply them in other environments once they’ve built confidence.”

 

Interested in finding your tribe?

To register your interest, or for further information visit the website, call 1300 888 378 or email: ask@cerebralpalsy.org.au

Written by Head of Reserach at Cerebral Palsy Alliance Reserach Institute, Dr Iona Novak and published in Source Kids 12 December 2019, this article brings you the latest on how to maximise child development through neuroplasticity. 

The Pararoos play their first match on home soil since the 2000 Paralympic Games this month. And you're invited! 


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