In a world where technology is a part of our daily routines, it’s no surprise that technology is also dominating in America’s classrooms. With the use of iPads and Chromebooks on the rise, we at the James Stanfield Education Company are finding new ways to implement our proven effective programs into the ever-changing structures of classrooms. As specialists in special education, we strive to make programs that promote social competence and transition readiness in students with cognitive, learning and/or behavioral disabilities. The James Stanfield Co. library currently includes over 60 research-based programs to teach social skills, work-related social skills, conflict management skills, relationship skills, and transitional skills necessary for independent living.
Now, we are proud to announce that we have created an app: Circles Social Skills Utility™!
Making the Abstract Concrete
The Circles Social Skills Utility™ follows the same social skills paradigm present in our best selling, proven effective by Harvard, Circles® Curriculum – but now available as an easy to use, accessible app.
This app teaches students the abstract concept of social boundaries in a concrete, interactive format.
This topic is especially relevant for those with cognitive, learning and/or behavioral disabilities; however, the app is also beneficial to students in general education. The visualization of the colorful circles helps students to identify and differentiate the various types of relationships they have, as well as teach them what level of touch is suitable at each relationship level (or color!) for abuse prevention.
Why Students Need the Circles Social Skills Utility™
Organizing social connections based on a person’s objective “closeness” is something that comes naturally to most. The social skills that you use every day usually don’t require a second thought—we move through the day interacting with people appropriately, knowing whose hands to shake, which subjects are OK to talk about with acquaintances, who to trust with our personal information, and more. We categorize individuals and, based on previous interactions/connections, we decide how to act towards them: these decisions include how to talk to someone and what we talk about, how much we can trust them, and how much touch and what types of touch are appropriate with them.
However, children on the spectrum, children with intellectual/developmental disabilities, and children with affective disorders have greater difficulties recognizing appropriate social boundaries and categorizing relationships. This difficulty inhibits children from creating healthy social relationships.
Without a comprehensive knowledge of social boundaries and relationship “rules,” such children are hindered from having fulfilling social interactions and thus, unfortunately, are more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse and exploitation.
The Circles Social Skills Utility™ provides students an innovative way to develop a foundation in social boundaries education to help them succeed and lead safe, healthy, and fulfilling lives.
Using the Circles Social Skills Utility™
The interactive nature of the app allows users to visualize the different relationship levels they encounter in daily life and organize them in a way that is meaningful and memorable. The user places members of their family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers into different “circles” that illustrate how close they can be to these people. This gives children and adolescents a tangible and safe example on how to approach and navigate daily social encounters.
Will You Be in One of our Circles?
We are excited for the future of the app and the potential it has in special education classes in North America as well as internationally. Leaning into the promise of current, credible curriculum is something we at the James Stanfield Company truly value. We’re so excited to be sharing Circles Social Skills Utility™ with you, and we look forward to hearing stories of social success as well as meaningful feedback!