SAS Small Group Program aims to empower children aged 8 to 12 with identified social and emotional challenges, such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety disorders.
 
The revolutionary program is offered by SAS Providers around the world. Their teams of professional SAS Facilitators lead children, their families and schools through this specialised, award-winning program.
 
Since its inception thousands of cadets have graduated as SAS Junior Detectives with the program receiving numerous awards.

What is SAS Small Group?

Secret Agent Society (SAS) is a breakthrough approach for empowering children’s social and emotional skills. SAS Providers have been offering this evidence-based approach for over 10 years. The SAS Small Group Program consists of small group child sessions (club meetings), parent group meetings, teacher information sessions and Teacher Tip Sheets, paired with real-life practice missions and a system to monitor and reward skill development at home and at school. Combining family and facilitator resources, the content and program structure is accessed through an intuitive and engaging software package that streamlines program delivery and participation for all child and adults participants in face-to-face or telehealth sessions and between session activities.

SAS Small Group Program is evidence-based to empower children aged 8 to 12 with identified social and emotional challenges, such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety disorders.

 


Evidence-based curriculum

The curriculum captivates children with its espionage-themed games and activities including: multi-level gamified learning through the SAS Digital Headquarters (SAS Digital HQ); a virtual Helpful Thought Zapper; role-playing through the SAS Challenger Board Game; finding smart solutions with the D.E.C.O.D.E.R problem solving formula; and deciphering emotions through Secret Message Transmission Device Game.

The program was originally developed for children aged 8 to 12 years with Autism.  However, current research and clinical/educational use supports its effectiveness with children who have other social and emotional challenges, including ADHD, anxiety disorders, and other diagnoses or social difficulties without formal diagnosis. The program teaches children how to:

  • Recognise emotions in themselves and others;
  • Express their feelings in appropriate ways;
  • Cope with feelings of anger and anxiety;
  • Communicate and play with others;
  • Cope with mistakes, transitions and challenges;
  • Build and maintain friendships;
  • Solve social problems;
  • Prevent and manage bullying and teasing and
  • Acknowledge their personal strengths.

Initially authored by Clinical Psychologist, Dr Renae Beaumont through the University of Queensland and now based at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital, SAS is an evidence-based framework combining theories of cognitive function and behaviour change.  For over 10 years, thousands of SAS cadets have graduated as SAS Junior Detectives!

  • 2010 the SAS Computer Game was a finalist in the 16th Annual Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA) Educational Game of the Year Award.
  • 2014 SAS was awarded the Autism Spectrum Australia National Recognition Award for advancement to acknowledge the significant, positive impact the program has on children’s and families’ lives.
  • 2014 the SAS Family Kit won the United States’ Learning Magazine Teacher’s Choice Award for the Family.
  • 2018 The Autism CRC was awarded the CRC Association Award for Excellence in Innovation for its positive impact SAS has on children’s lives across the world.

 

 

SAS Professional Training

Allied health, education and disability professionals typically deliver the SAS Small Group Program. Professionals learn to deliver the program aligned with evidence-based and clinical best practice in a flexible fourteen (14) hour SAS Facilitator Training Course.

 

 

SAS Small Group Program Components

SAS Small Group is a multi-component program that up-skills and empowers not only children with social and emotional challenges, but also the parents and teachers who support them. The program includes:

Child Group Meetings: delivered as 11-22 sessions of either 45 or 90 minutes, which includes 2-4 booster sessions.

  • The first 9-18 sessions are typically delivered weekly with the following 2-4 boosters sessions spread over a six month period.
  • Ideally the program is co-facilitated by two SAS Facilitators with a group of four to six children (maximum of three children with one SAS Facilitator). If this is not possible, a single SAS Facilitator may deliver the program with three to four children

Parent Group Sessions: commence with a 2-hour parent information session, followed by 11-22 group meetings of 30-45 minutes, or 4 x 2-hour sessions, over the course of the program.

  • Parent group meetings are held throughout the program to advise and support parents on the content of child group meetings and how to help their children apply their SAS skills in real life.
  • It is optimal if parents have the opportunity for networking and facilitated discussion on the successes and challenges they have faced in supporting their children to use their newly learnt social skills.
  • Parent meetings are typically held after each child meeting and without children present.
  • If the program is being co-facilitated, one SAS Facilitator typically delivers the Parent Meetings while the other helps children to use their social-emotional skills during informal play activities.
  • If a service has multiple SAS Facilitators they have the options for holding the parent meetings concurrent to the child group meetings.
  • If the program is being delivered by a sole facilitator, children may be supervised by an appropriate adult during the parent sessions. Alternatively, the parent meeting content can be delivered at a different time/day. 

School Support: Classroom teachers are updated on the skills and content children are learning through SAS and how they can support the application of skills in the classroom and playground. This occurs through a combination of providing a series of SAS Teacher Tip Sheets, the Skill Tracker, teacher consultation, school visits, and an optional school staff presentation.

  • SAS is often written into children’s individual learning plans to assist teachers to meet the social-emotional goals of their students.
  • The SAS Small Group Program is mapped to the Australian National Curriculum.

Missions and Mission Journal: Between each child group meeting, children participate in weekly tasks, including playing 4 levels of online gamified learning, skills practice activities in day-to-day life and completion of a reflection journal.

Skill Tracker System: A short-term daily motivation tool is used to encourage children to practice specific skills at home and school, aligned with progression through each module of the program.

Assessment Measures: A combination of questionnaire booklets, an observational assessment tool, computer game performance and Skill Tracker progress, provide valuable information to guide areas of focus for each individual child as well as providing easy and comprehensive outcome reporting.

SAS Digital Headquarters: The online gateway for children to access their club meeting activities, four levels of gamified learning, digital gadget pack, a Mission Journal for self-reflection on real life practice tasks, a multi-user Skill Tracker system, and other tools. Watch the game trailer!

  

SAS Small Group Program Structure

This diagram provides an overview of the structure and timeline of SAS Small Group Program. 

 

 

SAS Small Group Program Software

SAS Facilitators initially commence their SAS journey by completing the SAS Facilitator Training Course, accessing their SAS Facilitator instructions via the SAS Facilitator Dashboard. Once linked with a subscribed SAS Provider service, the Facilitator Dashboard opens up functionality to:

  • establish groups and allocate mentors to each child;
  • review materials and prepare session process in advance;
  • facilitate live SAS Small Group meetings for children and parents;
  • access just-in-time program instructions;
  • monitor group progress between sessions;
  • send automated links to the group’s teachers and parents; and
  • access additional program resources and ongoing review the SAS Facilitator Training Course materials.

  

Each child in the SAS Small Group Program will have identified SAS Mentors (usually parents and teachers, and occasionally SAS Facilitators themselves). These mentors will be provided with a login to their Mentor Portal. Depending on the type of mentor and desired program input, each adult may have access to different SAS components such as:

  • live Parent Group Meetings;
  • Parent Meeting Notes ;
  • Teacher Tip Sheets;
  • Cadet progress overview;
  • Cadet Club Meeting Journal and Gadgets;
  • Questionnaire booklets, or the child’s
  • Skill Tracker rewards system.

SAS Digital HQ is specifically for children to access the program components. Digital HQ supports facilitators in teaching children how to recognise emotions in themselves and others, how to cope with unpleasant feelings and how to manage social challenges. Each child enters the International Secret Agent Society Headquarters, where they complete a secret agent training course to become specialist mind readers. Firstly, children are introduced to the secret agent theme, and enter the ‘control room’ where they are prompted to start playing some initial learning games. Then week-by-week they access their live SAS Club Meetings together with their SAS Facilitator and fellow club members. Between group meetings children login to Digital HQ to:

  • review the content from club meetings in their Club Journal;
  • review and refer to their Gadget Pack items for everyday life prompts to use skills;
  • play the four levels of learning games and quizzes;
  • complete Mission Journal entries; and
  • log their skills practise in the Skill Tracker.

SAS has Evolved!

Holding a vision to expand program reach to ensure that more children feel happier, calmer and braver around the world, the SAS Small Group Program has evolved. The digital edition launching in 2021 offers an innovatively designed single platform, improved reporting, and greater accessibility all whilst removing the requirement for physical resources.
 
SAS has been at the forefront of best practice and research for over 10 years by taking a continuous improvement approach. This edition is no different as we push the program into the future giving everyone to latest technology tools to reach even more families in a more efficient way.

The Future of Group Program Delivery

 

Easy to use dashboard

Everything you need, all in the one place. From creating groups, running sessions and reading the facilitator manual, you can do it quickly and easily.

Self paced training

SAS Facilitators, both new and existing, will be able to learn about SAS via interactive online modules at their own pace either individually, or together with colleagues.

Just in time resources

Access training content, SAS Facilitator Manual, and session resources when you need them, whether during a club meeting or in your own time.

Manage groups

Create groups, allocate adult mentors, schedule club meetings and parent group meetings and view their progress all within the Facilitator Dashboard.

Interactive sessions

SAS Facilitators lead sessions interactively, allowing cadets to type, draw and play their way through meetings whilst you manage group and individual participation using your device.

Easy DigitalHQ access

Cadets will access all club meetings and between session tools such as their Gadget Packs, Skill Tracker, Mission Journal and Club Journal via SAS DigitalHQ.

Mentor coordination

Parents and teachers will have their own Mentor Portal for quick and easy access to Parent Group Meetings, Teacher Tip Sheets, Questionnaires, and cadet resources.

View progress reports

Overall group and individual progress will be reviewed in one spot. Review Skill Tracker activity, Teacher Tip Sheet access, meeting attendance, mission completion, and SAS DigitalHQ play.

 


Benefits

All on a single platform

Everything you need to run the program will be in one spot, from training modules to manuals, it's all in one easy to access place.

Improved reporting

See child progress and reporting in more detail than ever. More data means better measures of program fidelity.

Greater accessibility

This move enables more people to have access to the program than ever before, with geographic conditions no longer a factor.

No more books!

The move to digital means there are no more books or other physical resources. Instead, all the resources are digitally stored for convenience.

Find out more!

Start 2021 with the new digital edition of the SAS Small Group Program. We look forward to bringing you the future of group program delivery!

Provider Packages

Become an SAS Facilitator

Enrol in the online SAS Facilitator Training Course for 2021. Complete the course at your own pace or as a coordinated group. Link with a subscribed SAS Provider and start transforming lives.

Become an SAS Assistant

Enrol in the online SAS Assistant Short Course for 2021. Complete the course at your own pace and start assisting SAS Facilitators in their group delivery.

Become a Senior SAS Facilitator

Apply to commence the Senior SAS Facilitator qualification. Demonstrate your skill in delivering the SAS Small Group Program. Unlock system functionality and be recognised for your SAS experience.

FAQs

The Social Skills Training Institute (SST) and Secret Agent Society (SAS) continue to lead the delivery of innovative therapeutic programming for children’s social and emotional skills by bringing you one integrated software package to deliver the SAS Small Group Program to families.

 The evidence-based content and program structure have now been digitised, combing family and facilitator resources within one digital system. This unique approach to program delivery means that SAS Small Group can be delivered in both telehealth and face-to-face sessions to families utilising the same digital platform. The key focus of this process was to create an intuitive and engaging platform for all users.

 The software-based delivery of SAS Small Group has many features and efficiency including:

  • Further expansion on children’s interest in technology to motivate program engagement.
  • Facilitator led child Club Meetings and Parent Group Meetings through live connections within the digital platform supporting delivery in both face-to-face and digital settings.
  • Facilitators viewing program progress of each cadet (and the whole group) at any time through SAS Digital HQ Play, Mission completion, Skill Tracker use, and Teacher Tip Sheet review.
  • Efficient coordination and communication between SAS Facilitators and each child’s parent/teacher mentors through direct linking, automated notifications, such as automated Teacher Tip sheet distribution and parent prompts.
  • Streamlined support for cadets through parent/teacher access to Skill Tracker, Gadget Pack, Club Journal, and Mission Journal.
  • New digital tools for both children and facilitators to assist the club meeting process.
  • Reduced preparation time with everything integrated and located within the one platform.
  • SAS Mentors (parents & teachers) conveniently accessing a digital online portal to review program resources and progress updates.
  • Flexibility within the facilitator controls to individualise teaching approach based on a child’s or groups immediate needs during club meetings.
  • Opportunities for expanded program reach via tele-health delivery for children or their mentors who are unable to attend face-to-face sessions.
  • Continuing to engage children in physical activities, group discussions, and role plays while integrating screen use to either record answers, review content, or to assist in the turn-taking games.
  • Less association with ‘school work’ and lost resources due to no longer relying on books and physical gadget items at each session.
  • Self-paced online professional training for SAS Facilitators, SAS Assistants, and Senior SAS Facilitators.
  • Ongoing and ‘just-in-time’ access to training and SAS Facilitator Manual content at any time.

Yes! The new platform was designed to ensure continued use in a face-to-face setting and has been specifically tailored to streamline program delivery for facilitators, cadets, and adult mentors (teacher/parents).

Children will still be actively engaging in activities during the face-to-face sessions by undertaking physical activities whilst also utilising digital tools during sessions. In a face-to-face child Club Meeting, children use the software to enter in answers and read content just like they do in a physical Cadet Handbook, however they also receive reward tokens, save and view code cards, and participate in interactive games with other cadets.

During Parent Group Meetings, parents view the presentation and additional content on their device. Throughout child Club Meetings device access is the gateway to what we currently know as their Cadet Handbook, Code Card Holder and all the other gadgets! Between sessions cadets and their mentors have easy access to the child’s Skill Tracker, relevant Teacher Tips Sheets, and to review materials in their Parent Meeting Notes and Club Journals.

SAS Small Group Program digital edition does not rely on the requirement of physical resources. The program materials and protocols will continue to be used, however these have been revolutionised to be interactive, engaging and modernised within the platform.

SAS Provider services can continue the physical version using their existing SAS Family Kits, or alternatively, more of these physical kits can purchased until the end of 2020. Overtime the physical SAS Family Kits will become obsolete as all SAS Providers transition to the new edition.

The physical SAS E-Telligence Pack  which contains the Code Card Holder, Emotionometers and their corresponding stickers, Relaxation gadget Cards, and Skill Code Cards will continue to be available for purchase in 2021. The pack may be considered as an additional purchase to provide physical reference materials to supplement to the child’s use of the SAS Small Group Program software, if desired.

If clinics and schools have the older physical games and activities they may, from time-to-time, wish to supplement their face-to-face group sessions with the use of various physical items.

Cadets and their mentors (parents and teachers) will access the SAS Small Group program resources and tools through compatible devices. The program is mostly accessed through the internet, with some elements able to be used offline. The online nature of the program means that different devices can be used at different times/locations and a set of loan devices can also be used to assist with access during group meetings. 

  • Cadets and their mentors can login using their own secure login from any compatible device to access the program materials.
  • Some tools can be accessed quickly through a smart phone at any time.
  • Each individual requires access to a suitable device during group meetings.
  • Children and their mentors can login from a variety of devices to access the same account and program materials online.

Facilitators will require access to a compatible device to:

  • Complete the self-paced online training course
  • Establish and manage each SAS group
  • Prepare for and lead live club meeting and parent group meeting sessions
  • View progress reporting between sessions

Existing SAS Facilitators, trained from 2017 or with access to the current online facilitator portal will be provided  with access to free transition support including brief training experience in preparation for the new digital edition of the SAS Small Group Program.

Existing SAS Facilitators can choose when to transition based on the number of existing family kits at their service.

A variety of SAS Provider subscription packages are available for services of different sizes including flexibility to purchase additional cadet places.

Options will be in place for facilitators to allow direct family payment for software access to assist with funding or rebate processes.

To learn more about the SAS Provider model and subscription pricing, please review the SAS Provider page

A variety of SAS Provider subscription packages are available for services of different sizes including flexibility to purchase additional cadet places.

Options will be in place for facilitators to allow direct family payment for software access to assist with funding or rebate processes.

To learn more about the SAS Provider model and subscription pricing, please review the SAS Provider page.

Pricing for enrolling in the 2021 training can be accessed via the SAS Professional Training page.

The programs core evidence-based content, theoretical framework, therapeutic approaches and program delivery structure is not changing with the release of the digital edition of the SAS Small Group Program.

For an overview of the SAS research please see our webpage “The Evidence”. Here you will find reference to a range of published and active research studies exploring the SAS Small Group Program and its variant programs.

In response to the international shift to delivering SAS via telehealth services, there are at least two teams currently running applied research studies into the telehealth application of SAS.

There is one formal research study out of York University in Canada investigating the practical implementation of SAS Small group by community-based services. This study is looking at both the physical and new digital editions of SAS Small Group resources, including the telehealth delivery of these editions.

The existing evidence base of SAS is ever-growing as different universities and applied researchers explore the application of the program with different cohorts, in different locations, and using different delivery methods.

Yes, the training course will be updated to train professionals in using the digital edition software to deliver the SAS Small Group Program. The self-paced online training course will be live from mid-February 2021, with pre-enrolments now open!

There are now three levels of SAS professional training available: 

  • SAS Facilitator -  the equivalent of the current SAS Facilitator Training Course. SAS Facilitators will meet base eligibility criteria, complete the full training experience, and link with subscribed SAS Provider services for system access to run groups with a maximum ration of 1:4 or to be connected with an SAS Facilitator colleague for groups of ratio 2:6. 
  • SAS Assistant -  a new role for any adult planning to support an SAS Facilitator in their SAS Small Group delivery. After completing a short introduction to assisting SAS groups, SAS Assistants may be asked to support the lead SAS Facilitator to manage the SAS group process, assist individual literacy or behaviour needs, or navigate turn-taking and token giving during sessions.

 

Coming Soon!

  • Senior SAS Facilitator -  for those SAS Facilitators experienced in running SAS Small Group. Senior SAS Facilitators will have demonstrated their use of best practise, unlocked system functionality to run co-facilitated groups of 1:6 together with an SAS Assistant, and open up pathways to SAS team leadership.

Existing SAS Facilitators, trained from 2017 or with access to the current online facilitator portal will be provided with access to free transition support including brief training experience in preparation for the new digital edition of the SAS Small Group Program.

To learn more about professional training and how to apply, please visit our SAS Professional Training page.

More information on how to setup your organisation as an SAS Provider, please visit our SAS Provider page.

Training in the existing SAS Small Group Program (2nd edition) is no longer available, except due to special circumstances. 

If you have any questions regarding professional training please contact us at training@sst-institute.net or call on +61 7 37208740

The digital edition of the SAS Small Group Program software will be available by mid-January 2021. With the intergrated self-paced online training units available from mid-February 2021.

In 2021:

  • The fast-access online SAS Computer Game Pack and E-Telligence Pack will continue to be available for purchase.
  • The SAS E-Telligence packs may be considered as an additional supplement to your use of the SAS Small Group Program software, if desired.
  • The SAS Posters will be available for a limited time only.
  • The SAS Challenger Board Games will be available for a limited time only.
  • The physical SAS Computer Game Packs will no longer be available.
  • The SAS Combo Pack will no longer be available.