A Queensland-based clinical psychologist has just returned from the Big Apple where she taught local professionals how to develop ‘secret agent’ skills in children.
But far from having anything to do with the CIA, the skills being taught enabled educators, therapists and other professionals to help children with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Conditions develop much-needed social and emotional skills.
Brisbane-based Dr Renae Beaumont traveled to the United States as well as Canada and the United Kingdom to train local service providers to deliver the espionage-themed Secret Agent Society (SAS) program.
International interest in SAS has been on the increase since a University of Queensland randomised, controlled trial found 76 per cent of participating children improved from having clinically significant delays in their social skills to displaying skills within the range of most children.
This is currently the most clinically significant change published in the world for a social skills program for children with high-functioning autism.
SAS is a computer-based intervention program for children aged between 8 and 12 who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition characterised by difficulties in recognising and managing emotions and socialising with others. Asperger’s can have an enormous impact on every aspect of a person’s life, particularly the ability to manage relationships and employment.
Creator and UQ graduate Dr Beaumont has spent the past 10 years developing and fine-tuning SAS to a point where it is now ready for worldwide dissemination. Dr Beaumont and colleague Kathleen Davey will host a total of 16 training sessions around the world in 2012.
Dr Beaumont’s trip to New York will be followed by sessions in Florida, Chicago, Toronto, London, Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne between May and October.
SAS features a four-level animated computer game, weekly child group meetings, home ‘missions’, parent sessions, teacher resources and a home and school monitoring and rewards system. It uses unique resources and activities specifically designed to engage children - including the Helpful Thought Missile action game, Challenger Board Game and Secret Message Transmission Device walkie-talkie game – to help them understand emotions, express feelings appropriately, talk and play with others and make friends and keep them.
For more information on SAS go to www.sst-institute.net
"Brisbane-based Dr Renae Beaumont will travel to the United States as well as Canada and the United Kingdom this year to train local service providers to deliver the espionage-themed Secret Agent Society (SAS) program"
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