A young University of Queensland (UQ) graduate and now clinical psychologist has created a world-beating social skills program called ‘spy kids’ with a spy-theme.

Dr Renae Beaumont’s spy-themed Secret Agent Society(SAS) program, spy kids,  improves social and emotional skills of children with Autism or Asperger’s.

The 12 year quest by Dr Beaumont to help children with autism led to the creation of the worldwide program that now sees her travel the world training professionals and practitioners.

The program is now available through almost 500 trained practitioners in eight countries and is recognised as the world’s best social skills program for children aged eight to 12 with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome.

The profile of SAS has risen dramatically after a randomised, controlled trial at UQ found the social and emotional skills of 76 per cent of children with Asperger’s Syndrome improved to within the range of typically developing children. This result is currently the most clinically significant change published in the world for a social skills program for children with high-functioning autism.

Dr Beaumont says SAS uses animated technology, spy gadgets and games to teach children about friendships and feelings.

“The program gives children step-by-step examples of how to make and keep friends, cope with bullying, hold a conversation and deal with emotions such as anxiety and anger.

“It’s based around a highly interactive spy-themed computer game with different levels of challenges and adventures so the sessions feel like fun, not therapy,” she says.

SAS can be delivered by a trained practitioner in a school, community or private practice setting. It includes child group sessions, parent education, teacher tip sheets, real life missions and a system to reward and monitor progress at home and school.

Dr Beaumont will present a two-day practitioner training workshop in Brisbane on 14 and 15 for educators, therapists and other professionals.

For more information visit: www.sst-institute.net/