You are here

Social skills

We offer a number of evidence-based social skills group programs to help young people to improve their social and emotional skills.

Secret Agency Society (SAS)

The Secret Agency Society (SAS) program is an evidence-based social skills program for 8 to 12 year olds with social skills deficits, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A university randomized controlled trial found 76% of children with Asperger’s Disorder who participated in SAS improved from showing clinically significant delays in social and emotional functioning to displaying these skills within the range of typically developing kids.

SAS is a fun, espionage-themed group program in which children act as ‘secret agents’ to develop and practise new emotional and social tools that they continue to use in the ‘real world’, including: recognising and managing their own feelings, coping with change, detecting other people’s emotions, talking and playing with others and dealing with bullying.

Who

Primary school aged children with social skills deficits

When

Terms 1 and 3 (depending on demand)

Duration

9 weeks (starts in Week 1 of the school term)

Day

Saturdays

Length

80 minutes (60 minutes with children; 20 minutes with parents)

Time

Varies

Superflex®

The Superflex® program is a social thinking program created by Michelle Garcia Winner, a Speech Language Pathologist, from the United States. Superflex® is a fun and motivating, superhero-themed group program. The children act as superheroes and use their flexible brains to feel self-empowered to overcome their enemies (eg. ‘Rock Brain’: someone who isn’t flexible and can’t consider others’ opinions). Superflex® helps children with social skills deficits to be aware of their thoughts and social behaviours and to develop strategies to be more flexible in their thinking and to feel empowered to self-regulate their social behaviours. The program includes content such as:

  • Being aware of and challenging our thoughts and behaviours
  • Understanding how our brains work and process social information
  • Behaving in ‘expected’ ways instead of ‘unexpected’ ways
  • Regulating emotions
  • Considering other people’s thoughts and feelings
  • Listening to, paying attention to, and helping others

Who

Primary school aged children with social skills deficits

When

All school terms (depending on demand)

Duration

9 weeks (starts in Week 1 of the school term)

Day

Saturdays

Length

50 minutes

Time

Varies

Advanced Social Superheroes

Our principal psychologist, Birgitta Osterberg, used the foundations of the Superflex® program (such as the terminology and characters) to develop the Advanced Social Superheroes program that helps children to develop skills in emotional understanding and regulation. The program includes content such as:

  • Identifying different feelings and describing the severity of the feelings
  • Describing how our thoughts affect our feelings
  • Evaluating whether thoughts are helpful or unhelpful
  • Explaining how our body feels when we feel an emotion
  • Understanding that feelings change
  • Understanding how our thoughts and feelings impact our behaviour
  • Developing self-monitoring skills to shift our thoughts to change our feelings and behaviours
  • Asking people questions to determine what they are thinking
  • Developing effective communication skills to have a conversation
  • Working as part of a group to solve problems
  • Understanding wants versus needs
  • Understanding the right time versus the wrong time

Who

Primary school aged children with social skills deficits and/or deficits in emotional understanding and regulation

When

All school terms (depending on demand)

Duration

9 weeks (starts in Week 1 of the school term)

Day

Saturdays

Length

50 minutes

Time

Varies

Intensive school holiday social skills program

During select school holidays we operate intensive social skills programs created by our principal psychologist, Birgitta Osterberg. The programs are specifically tailored to meet the strengths and needs of children currently obtaining treatment with us in individual therapy, family-based therapy or group therapy.

Participating children practise the social skills they have been learning at HMHK in play-based situations, such as games, group activities and group challenges. The aim of the program is to help children to interact more positively and effectively with their peers.

Who

Primary school aged children with social skills deficits

When

School holidays following Terms 2 and 3 (depending on demand)

Duration

2 weeks (Weeks 1 and 2 of the school holidays)

Day

Varies

Length

100 minutes

Time

Varies