Thursday, 21 April 2011

Review: Secret Agent Society Computer Game

As I mentioned in my last post, I was sent a copy of the Secret Agent Society Computer game, which teaches emotions and social skills to children aged 8-12.

One of the clever features of the game is that it taps into the fact that a large percentage of autistic children are obsessed with visual mediums such as TV & computers.

One of the core deficits in autistic children is Theory of Mind, the ability to understand what others are feeling and that others may feel differently from us. It is sometimes called mindblindness.

The SAS game aims to teach these through different scenarios: facial expression recognition, voice tone and body language.

We've been playing it for about a month now and Lyla really enjoys it. The only caveat I have is that I think she has taken the game completely literally and thinks she really is in training to be a spy. Something I will have to address in due course!

The games also feature live missions, where you put your skills into practice in the real world- absolutely vital for really learning social skills.

For instance, Lyla has a mission to spy on people she sees out and about and try and work out what they are feeling. This comes with the instruction to the child not to stare as you may blow your cover as a spy, which very cleverly avoids the problem of your child getting into trouble for harrassing people.

I've bought Lyla a little spy notebook, which she fills in her missions and it provides a context for us to talk about social situations.

The only stumbling block that we came across was that Lyla found the facial recognition part of the game very difficult and she needed to pass that level to move on. The game guide recognises this and suggests you do the game with your child, to keep them on task (although obviously you shouldn't answer for them). I found that sitting beside her, giving constant encouragement helped a lot and she was absolutely thrilled when she finally passed the level after days of trying!

The SAS game is really well thought-out and fun for kids. You can find screenshots, video outakes and lots more on the SAS website.


  1. I really like the sound of this and I thought it would appeal to my son, but I forgot that he is only interested in games that he discovers....I think this would be very good for him so I am going to have to have to come up with something clever.

  2. Sounds like a good game. My son is 10 though and he seems to understand more about things like sarcasm and tone now than I ever expected.

  3. Sounds like a lot of fun! You seem to be making it work for your Lyla.

    I'm laughing at the first part of your previous post... stress levels of mums with Autistic kids and combat soldiers! Here's the thing... I'm wondering do combat soldiers drink wine? Lots of wine?!! Lol!

    xx Jazzy

  4. This sounds like a great game, I will go and take a look. MY JJ could really do with this.

    Cheers Mich x


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