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Empowering Student Independence

girl on laptop conference call

Who do you know looking to enhance their social skills and expand their life aspirations? The Autism Independence Project, established by the Special Education Foundation (SEF) in partnership with iSocial, offers an incredible opportunity for students with disabilities served by the Special School District.

SEF is dedicated to helping students with disabilities achieve greater independence by focusing on social skill development and expanding meaningful life aspirations. Through the Autism Independence Project, we aim to empower students to navigate the complexities of life with confidence and resilience.

So, what exactly is iSocial, and how does it contribute to this transformative journey?

iSocial Remote Group Therapy for Social Competence is a pioneering initiative developed by Dr. Janine Stichter and her colleagues at the Thompson Center for Autism at the University of Missouri. Its mission is clear: to radically improve the lives of individuals with autism, enabling them to lead independent lives filled with meaningful employment and strong friendships.

Designed as a group telehealth therapy program, iSocial provides children and adults with essential life skills in a supportive and engaging environment. Through a series of 32 one-hour evening sessions over 16 weeks, conducted by licensed professionals, students participate in fun workshops involving role-play, contests, and video discussions. This interactive approach encourages active learning and fosters camaraderie among participants.

The results speak for themselves. iSocial has been proven effective through eight university studies, with students reporting increased communication skills and social motivation. Some of the key development skills include recognition of facial expressions, sharing of ideas, turn-taking in conversation, understanding feelings and emotions, and problem-solving skills.

Here's how it works:

  • Student Identification: Educators and parents identify middle to high school students who could benefit from the program. Eligible students need internet access and basic computer skills with verbal communication abilities.
  • 32 One-Hour Evening Sessions for 16 Weeks: Participants engage in group sessions with like-minded peers, led by licensed professionals. These sessions are held in the evening, twice a week, for 16 weeks, ensuring flexibility and accessibility.
  • Results: Students find the program fun, inclusive, and effective. They develop vital social skills and gain confidence in navigating social interactions.

Join us in creating a future of limitless possibilities for students with disabilities. If you know a student who might be a good fit for the Autism Independence Project, don't hesitate to contact us at or call (314) 394-7030.

Apply today and take the first step toward a brighter future today! Together, let's empower students to reach their full potential and enjoy a life filled with independence, meaningful relationships, and endless opportunities.

The Autism Independence Project is funded with support from a grant from the Charles W. Frees & Jean H. Frees Foundation.