The SAS program consists of weekly 90 minute child group lessons delivered over 9 weeks (or 18 x 45 minute lessons delivered once or twice weekly). Within a school setting, the program is ideally co-facilitated by two trained SAS facilitators with groups of four to six children (minimum of three children). If this is not possible, a single practitioner may deliver the program to a maximum of three children. Group lessons involve facilitators supporting children to participate in games and activities that teach them emotion regulation and friendship skills. Children are introduced to new skills and concepts through a computer game that they play at home and/or at school between group lessons. They also complete weekly ‘missions’ at school and at home to practise their newly learned skills.
Based on parent and staff preferences, parent information sessions are delivered as four x two hour sessions over the course of the program, or as weekly or fortnightly 30-45 minute sessions. Program facilitators advise parents and carers on how they can support their child to apply the skills from the program to real world contexts. Resources for the parent information sessions (including PowerPoint Presentations and a Parent Workbook) are included with the program materials.
The program includes three- and six-month follow-up sessions for children and parents to review learned skills and to help them to problem-solve new social challenges.
Program facilitators are provided with the resources to deliver an introductory program information session to school staff. Facilitators also give weekly Teacher Tip Sheets to children’s classroom teachers and other support staff to inform them what students are learning in the program, and how they can support them in using these skills in the classroom and playground.
The Secret Agent Society program can be delivered in either school or clinic contexts.
Methods of delivery
The Secret Agent Society uses workbook activities, visual supports, interactive games and between-session practice tasks to help children learn, rehearse and apply skills in emotion recognition, emotion regulation and social interaction. The program is delivered to parents and carers via PowerPoint presentations and a parent workbook. Classroom teachers and other support staff are educated about the program through a PowerPoint presentation and weekly tip sheets. A Home-School Diary is also used by parents and teachers to monitor and reward children’s social skill usage at home and at school.
Staff professional learning (PL):
Facilitators are required to attend a two-day training course in order to deliver the Secret Agent Society group program. Generally, facilitator training is only offered to practitioners who have tertiary qualifications in allied health, education or social services and who have had a minimum of six months experience working with children who have social and emotional challenges, such as autism spectrum disorder. Once facilitators have completed the training and deliver the group program, they can apply to be accredited. Accreditation is optional.