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Social Secret Spy (SSSA)  

Summer programs that have therapeutic outcomes.  Attendance is mandatory for the duration of the program and fees are typically associated. Financial support may be available. These programs have a set criteria for entry.  


Secret Social Spy Academy is a half-day, social skills intervention program that teaches students entering 2nd - 5th grade with ASD and related disabilities how to be flexible thinkers,problem solvers,and effective perspective takers. Led by a master ASD teacher who has presented nationally on her innovative practices for students with ASD, this program is in its fifth year of operation under the auspices of PALS (Providing Autism Links and Support), a non-profit group that supports services for registered constituents of the UCF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. The Secret Social Spy Academy is subsidized through fundraising efforts by PALS and collaboration from OCPS. This program is best suited for children with near-age-level language and cognitive skills. Children should also have mastered basic attending skills and be able to function in a group setting with minimal to moderate prompting. The curriculum will be based on Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® Concepts. For our younger detectives we will use a modified version of Superflex® curriculum by Stephanie Madrigal and Michelle Garcia Winner. For our older detectives we will put more of an emphasis on Social Behavior Mapping©, perspective taking and social problem solving.



Social thinking teaches the thought process behind social interactions. Students with social thinking deficits do not learn by observing others. They must first be taught to understand the “why” or the thinking behind a social rule or concept. Traditional social skills often do not address the “why” that many of our students need. This process helps individuals by teaching them to “think socially” and teaching them how to relate and think of others so they can become competent in social relatedness. Social Thinking is based on the literature and lectures of Michelle Garcia Winner. Learn more about social thinking at



Please note that this program is NOT "child care” or summer respite. These are highly planned and intensive half day intervention programs. Groups will be formed on a rolling admissions basis, based on ages, needs, and receipt of deposit, so it is recommended that applications be submitted well in advance of deadlines to secure a spot in the session of your choice. If the program session of interest has filled to capacity, your child’s name will be added to a waiting list.



Individuals must be registered with UCF CARD with diagnoses of High Functioning Autism (HFA), Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) or Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

The following is a description of a child who WOULD benefit from social thinking skills training:

• Able to speak in sentences and answer questions

• Able to sit at a table activity and share materials with


• Able to refrain from using aggression as a means to

solve problems

• Desires to interact with other children and develop


• Does not initiate appropriate social interactions or

sustain social interactions

• Has difficulty working in groups

• Does not easily process the meaning of spoken


• Does not observe/take into account other’s social

cues due to limited eye contact

• Has difficulty attending in large groups; needs more


• Very literal in interpretation of all materials

• Difficulty recognizing and incorporating other person’s perspectives

• Difficulty understanding the perspective of characters in literature

• Has difficulty talking about other people’s topics of interest

• Makes off topic remarks or over-focuses on details or topics of interest

• Attends to details, but misses the underlying concept of assignments, stories, or pictures

• Has a good sense of humor, but may miss the subtleties of humor

• May not understand the difference of being laughed at or laughed with

• Doesn’t understand when “too much humor” is “too much”

• Is limited in the ability to infer meaning, problem solve, and predict academically and socially