Program concepts (below)
The program concepts that will be focussed on are: Social preparation, social norms and community expectations, conversation, negotiation and team-building skills, emotional intelligence and resilience, and the importance of community and roles of people within them.
These rules will assist the participants to have a safe environment to explore the intricacies of the game, the social dynamics involved and the importance of team work.
Each program runs for either 5 or 10 sessions, aligned with school terms. Groups can continue with the same participants into new terms. Sessions can be paid for on a per-session basis, or in advance for 5 or 10 sessions. 10 session payments will receive a discount. Pricing for sessions is under the NDIS price guideline hourly rate for social support. Weekly session rates are lower than Saturday rates, in line with NDIS guidelines.
We have four types of groups with some crossover depending on age and situation. Groups will be organised to ensure participants are matched with age-appropriate peers to build friendships and support networks.
The primary group is aimed at children from Year 3 upwards. Sessions are reduced to two hours to maintain engagement with participants and will utilise the modified player pack, allowing the group to focus on the social interactions. Adventures for the Primary School program are modified to contain age-appropriate content while maintaining our social education aims. Groups transferring from Year 6 to high school will be able to continue into Year 7 to assist with transition. These groups can be run as an after-school program or on a Saturday.
The high school group is aimed at all ages of high school student. We aim to assist students to progress through high school with more conversational solutions, less anxiety and more confidence. In addition to social education, older students will also focus on reliability, team work, decision-making and planning to prepare them for transitioning to a workplace and adulthood. Participants can choose to use the modified player pack or transition to traditional character sheets and game-play. High school groups can be run as an after-school program, on a weeknight or on a Saturday.
Our young adult groups are aimed at participants who have recently left school and want to expand their understanding and skills in social interactions, expectations of the community and workplaces. Like the high school programs, these sessions will also focus on reliability, team work, decision-making and personal planning. This can all be achieved while expanding their social circles and community interactions. Participants can choose to use the modified player pack or transition to traditional character sheets and game-play. Sessions can be run during the day (availability to be confirmed), on a weeknight or on a Saturday.
Our service is not limited to students and young adults. People from all age groups can access our programs to assist them with social interactions, anxiety and self-confidence. Role-playing is a great way to build confidence, socially interact with friends or just meet new people. Participants can choose to use the modified player pack or transition to traditional character sheets and game-play. Sessions can be run during the day (availability to be confirmed), on a weeknight or on a Saturday.
The concepts behind this program are designed to prepare participants for the expectations of society and the wider community by teaching them about the value of community and social inclusion. Participants will engage in gameplay that will provide them with typical and atypical situations that can be navigated in several ways, resulting in different consequences for different decisions – just like real life. The discussion at the end of the session will focus on behaviour and some of these outcomes to assist in learning.
Social norms and community expectations
Society expects its members to have particular behaviours and social capabilities. The ability to greet people, hold a conversation, negotiate effectively, conduct transactions and clearly express a point of view are key components in a successful social contract. But many people do not have these skills. This program is designed to provide opportunities to gain the appropriate skills to complete the social contract.
The role-play will be situated within worlds with people and entities who communicate much like ourselves – understanding conversational flow, multi-directional conversations and turn-taking in conversations will be key parts of the social interactions. Building conversational skills is a key takeaway for the program – a good conversationalist has a much easier time in the community – and improving these skills will assist with reducing social anxiety and stress when interacting in their day-to-day lives.
Through the role play, participants will have to negotiate a multitude of different situations – some in a retail sense, some in a relationship sense and some in a confrontational sense. Negotiations will result in a real-world-type reaction in the safety of a virtual world. Responses to negotiations will be discussed at the end of the session to provide insights on improving negotiation skills and outcomes.
Team building skills
Participants will be encouraged to assist each other with difficult tasks based on real life challenges. Challenges and tasks will require differing size teams working in a coordinated fashion to complete tasks. These will range from in-game physical tasks and social interactions to puzzles and riddles that will require input from all members of the team. Some challenges will require interactions with socially disengaged characters and participants will be encouraged to discover ways to bring these characters around to become part of the solution.
Emotional intelligence and resilience
Through in-game interactions, participants will learn that sometimes everyone has strong emotions, and that regulation and control of these emotions provide far more satisfactory social outcomes than if emotions are not controlled. Participants will be encouraged to express how they are feeling and why, with the aim of allowing feelings to be understood and providing guidance on how to best use those feelings. They will also learn how other participants may be feeling differently from them after the same encounter. Some social interactions may include characters who are discriminatory and socially inconsiderate and participants will be encouraged to interact with these characters in a positive way.
Importance of community and roles of people within them
In understanding the social contract expected by the wider community, participants can then use the skills gained in the sessions to improve their ability to participate in the community. Having a better relationship with the community will show that the community can be enormously supportive and accepting of all types of people. Throughout the sessions, participants will explore the roles of individuals in their communities – both in their immediate community and the wider community. Participants will be encouraged to promote their character’s skills and values to the in-game world with a view to transferring those self-promoting abilities into the real world.