New Tool Helps High-Functioning Learners with Autism Become Fully Independent and Socially Integrated

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Skills® Advanced Cognition is a web-based system that enables parents, educators and professionals who work with children with autism to design and implement evidence-based teaching programs using the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA).

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“Advanced concepts are the skills and abilities that are needed to take individuals out of the basics and super-charge their ability to function independently and successfully throughout their daily lives,” said Eliana Ferreira, SKILLS® managing director.

SKILLS® today announced the release of Skills® Advanced Cognition which is utilized to maximize the learning potential of higher-functioning children with autism who demonstrate inflexible thinking and difficulty identifying relevant information. The web-based system is a specialized tool for the design and implementation of advanced teaching plans to help higher-functioning individuals diagnosed with autism reach their fullest potential. Characteristics of high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD), formerly known as Asperger’s syndrome, include: awkwardness and challenges sustaining conversation; difficulty understanding social rules, sarcasm, irony and humor; lack of empathy; difficulty understanding complex concepts; and obsessive interest in a particular subject. The new program helps to teach these important skills to high functioning individuals. Lessons with Skills® Advanced Cognition have been proven effective in several research studies. These lessons include sensory perspective taking; disengagement; detecting sarcasm and deception; following rules; and safety awareness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in 68 children is born with ASD in the United States alone. According to Asperger’s Network Support, approximately 75 percent of all people diagnosed with ASD, or about 2.6 million individuals nationwide, are high functioning, having a DSM-IV diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Programs such as Skills® Advanced Cognition will enable this population to live more independently, improve social skills and develop meaningful friendships.

The Advanced Cognition program includes advanced concepts for high-functioning learners. Advanced concepts are skills and cognitive abilities that help people function more successfully and more independently in complex social, academic and vocational environments. Many highly verbal individuals with ASD and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) already possess foundational language, academic, and self-help skills but still struggle significantly with navigating the more complex aspects of the social and academic world.

“Advanced concepts are the skills and abilities that are needed to take individuals out of the basics and super-charge their ability to function independently and successfully throughout their daily lives,” said Eliana Ferreira, managing director of SKILLS®. “The goal with Skills® Advanced Cognition is to support the effort for every individual with ASD to reach his or her fullest potential.”

Advanced concepts are skills that build on foundational language and social skills by helping individuals tie all of their abilities together in order to function at a higher level. For example, sharing and turn-taking are simpler social skills, but advanced concepts in perspective taking can help an individual identify what a peer would actually like, thereby allowing him to share something that would interest the peer or make the peer happy. Advanced Cognition in perspective taking also allows an individual to identify others’ interests and what they already know and do not yet know, thereby allowing the individual to introduce conversations that are relevant, on topic and interesting to others. Similarly, completing a worksheet is a simpler academic skill, but the advanced concepts of self-management and attention-shifting allow the child to shift attention to other socially important events (e.g., the teacher talking) and then shift back to the worksheet, without constant reminders.

For more information, visit or call 877-975-4559.

About SKILLS®: With two patents pending, SKILLS® is the worldwide leading provider of software as a service solution for behavioral health, attending to the needs of four key segments: mental health clinicians, educators, managed care organizations, and families. The SKILLS® portfolio of web-based and mobile application tools is based on the evidence-based principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), with several studies published in peer-reviewed journals on its solid psychometric properties and clinical effectiveness. Founded in 2010, SKILLS® products are used in school districts and managed care organizations nationwide and by families and autism treatment providers worldwide. For more information, visit

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Stacey Price
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