Helping Children with Autism: A University research and evidence based program
iSocial is a learning environment for teaching social competence to youth who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or have similar social deficits. iSocial enables social interaction and provides support for the development of social competence in a safe, completely controlled environment. There have been eight independent university research studies that prove the efficacy of the program. This curriculum is proven to maximize student learning and assist in skill acquisition and maintenance.
A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
In the VLE version students and implementors appear as avatars where they interact with one another to develop social skills. Many children with ASD who won’t talk to others in person but will speak when using an avatar to represent themselves.
Dr. Janine Stichter is a professor at the University of Missouri and is associated with the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental disorders. Deploying $12M in federal grants in a span of seven years, she and her team have perfected the iSocial therapy curriculum. It consists of 32 lessons that are evidence-based and proven effective in helping children with ASD greatly improve their social skills.
Learners participate with a small group of peers in immersive and interactive activities that target the development of social competence. Across five units, the 32 lessons are systematically sequenced to scaffold the students’ learning. Each unit has a balance of direct teacher instruction, video and process modeling, and structure and naturalistic interactive learning through games and cooperative learning activities.
The environment is meant to be highly engaging and realistic to encourage students to generalize and maintain the skills learned and practiced. iSocial aims to bring evidence based practices to all types of programming and school districts; including rural and small school districts that may not have access to this type of intervention.
There are five units with a total of 32 lessons. Each lesson is approximately 45 minutes.
Throughout each lesson of each unit, implementers use evidence based strategies (i.e., Cognitive Behavior Intervention, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Scaffolding). The five units are:
- Recognizing Facial Expressions
- Sharing Ideas
- Turn Taking into Conversation
- Understanding Feelings & Emotions
- Problem Solving
Studies prove efficacy
Seven years of independent university research studies prove iSocial is effective. Detail is available on each of the studies upon request.
“The Social Responsiveness Scale* (SRS) for communication improved by 29% and social motivation improved by 31%.“
“Over 65% of the children in large tests made positive improvements throughout all 5 SRS subscales.”
*The Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) is distinct from other measures in that it provides a continuous measure of social ability (from impaired to above average) instead of a categorical yes/no identification of ASD impairments.
Benefits to Schools
iSocial data reporting: Accountability is key for schools right now for a variety of data reporting including teacher evaluation, demonstrating student progress, for School Improvement Plans (SIP) and for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) of a building/district. iSocial provides several important data points for teachers to demonstrate student progress for their own evaluation and for demonstrating aggregated data for student growth on the SIP. It provides aggregated data for a building/district to demonstrate AYP.
iSocial is also research/evidence based which is a requirement of IDEA and helps students stay in their Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). For example, the state of Michigan Department of Education is highlighting and focusing heavily on appropriate implementation of LRE beginning this year. iSocial provides special educators an evidence based curriculum to support students in their LRE and keep them there.
“Schools need the data points provided for teacher evaluation and proving Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Fulfills requirements for IDEA and least restrictive environment (LEA).”
—Christi Owens, Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education
All about ASD.
“Thank God for iSocial! There is nothing on the market to help high functioning adolescents except for squeeze balls and trampolines. They have been totally ignored”
—Julie Azuma, Founder and Owner, Different Roads for Learning
A visionary team.
iSocial has an exclusive agreement to co-promote with Sandbox & Co. and reach over 20 million teachers, parents, and students in over 200 countries every month.