Sans Siri Society Program Aims to Connect and Build Friendships
Pacific Child & Family Associate, a provider of behavior analysis services for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, has announced the development of the Sans Siri Society, a society that helps decrease dependence on interactive technology and creates opportunities to make genuine connections between individuals with autism who are of similar age and who share common interests.
“At Pacific Child & Family Associates, we’ve witnessed firsthand how human interaction is hindered once a child becomes dependent on interactive technology like Siri. Thus, we’ve created the Sans Siri Society,” said Dr. Michael Cameron, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Chief Clinical Officer at Pacific Child & Family Associates. “With the Sans Siri Society, we hope to give individuals the opportunities and skills they need to enjoy the delightful benefits of friendship and with greater ease and less discomfort.”
Building and maintaining friendships is one of the biggest hurdles for many people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) due to communication and comfort obstacles. The iPhone’s Siri and other interactive technology have given these individuals the opportunity to avoid some of the obstacles they experience with personal interactions, but it comes with a social price. The more a person with ASD interacts with technology, the more likely they will be to build barriers to real life conversation, thus losing the opportunity to build upon existing relationships and skills involving communication, behavior, or interaction. This outcome hinders not only friendships, but education, employment, and everyday activities.
Participants of the Sans Siri Society are volunteers without ASD who are vetted and coached to understand ASD and their new potential friend with ASD. They must be willing and available to talk, share stories and provide an opportunity for social engagement and also be open to feedback and instruction. After communication between individuals occurs, Sans Siri Society members must be able to provide options for “store and forward video” and the deconstruction of the social interaction.
Parents monitor the first few telephone call interactions and then special precautions are put into place. After this, the volunteer can continue to participate in conversations with the individual with ASD and also give feedback to their new friend to help them better understand where they are excelling from a social perspective.
For more information about the Sans Siri Society and how to take part, call (844) 599-5588.
This article was featured in Issue 25 – The Benefits of Tele-Therapy and Behavior Support