The iMsocialTM program targets specific areas of social learning, such as communication skills and self-safety skills. Not only is the focus on the skill itself but also on the rules of social interaction. The targeted learning areas aim to build a social toolbox of skills that will help participants to interact with peers and build friendships.
Each social skill within the iMsocialTM program will start at a basic level and is built up to a more complicated level. The advanced skills however won’t start at a basic level and requires participants to have mastered the previous skills.
Each skill module will have an explanation on how to teach the skill using video modeling and will also have extra activities that will support participants to both learn and reinforce the skill.
Importantly, while the iMsocialTM program has been developed for participants with autism both with and without an intellectual disorder, the program can also benefit participants who are having difficulty in social situations or utilising self-protective behaviours.
To read more and see references Click: Introduction to iMsocial
The iMsocialTM program addresses a range of communication skills from the seemingly simple communication of ‘saying hello’, to the more complicated communication skills like ‘joining in a conversation’ or ‘interrupting a conversation’. Teaching explicit communication skills helps participants to increase the process and success of sending and receiving information.
However, iMsocialTM does not focus solely on teaching the technical part of the communication skill, it also provides the reasoning and need for the skill.
The iMsocialTM program uses Social StoriesTM to reinforce skills taught in the video modeling sessions. In particular, participants create their own stories to ensure the stories are written from the their perspective and use their vocabulary.
The iMsocialTM program focuses on teaching participants play skills and ensures that everyone involved enjoys the activity. Some of the skills will require structured teaching and others will be taught through real play situations. Where possible, peers with increased play skills provide positive role models for others participants. However in the home environment, siblings/friends can also support participants with autism as positive role models for play skills.
To read more and see references Click: Play Skills
Boundaries of Touch
The iMsocialTM boundaries model and iModeling BoundariesTM app supports participants to learn appropriate affectionate communication and greetings between different people. The model is based on a visual and structured approach to teaching affectionate communication skills. However, the boundaries model allows for different greetings and touch in different circles.
To read more and see references Click: Boundaries of Touch
The iMsocialTM program teaches participants to use facial expressions to show different emotions. It also teaches participants to use the correct body language for the emotion. Having these skills will allow participants to learn how to support their messages with the correct emotions.
Equally, the iMsocialTM program utilises peers and other people in emotion-based activities in the program. This gives participants the opportunity to learn what the same emotion looks like on different peoples faces. These activities enhance participants skills to read someone else’s message correctly and supports them to have successful interactions.
To read more and see references Click: Emotions
The Bully Defence Strategy
The Bully Defence Strategy teaches participants the appropriate strategies for dealing with bullying. It not only teaches participants how to deal with bullying but also enables the recognition of the various forms of bullying when it occurs. This means that participants are better placed to protect themselves when they are being bullied or provide support to a peer who is being bullied.
To read more and see references Click: Bully Defence Strategy
Sensory and Relaxation Activities
To ensure the children in the iMsocialTM program are able to participate in the groups without being affected by sensory difficulties, activities have been included to support participants with the regulation of their sensory stimuli.
Relaxation exercises are effective in teaching participants with autism and other special needs how to self-regulate and develop self-control over their body, mind and behaviour. Relaxation techniques support participants to develop longer attention spans, become more focused, experience greater relaxation, reduce their anxiety, and develop more body awareness. The iMsocialTM program incorporates activities that will focus on relaxation