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Research project

Pediatric Evaluation of Emotions, Relationships and Socialisation

Digital tool to assess social skills and identify social problems.

PEERS is a novel commercial product that can assess, describe and diagnose social impairment in children and young people. Currently there are no comprehensive, well-validated tools available to detect social impairment, which limits our ability to identify those in need of intervention. The PEERS tool will address this substantial unmet need and provide us with the opportunity to lead the field internationally by designing the first comprehensive social assessment tool. 

PEERS is an individually administered computerised iPad application. It includes 3 ‘cognitive’ subscales (attention-executive, social cognition, communication), which contribute to social function, organised into 2 levels: basic and complex. It utilises ‘social’ stimuli, such as videos, audio clips, and photos of real life social scenarios.

Get involved!

We are currently looking for teenagers who are living in Melbourne and are between the ages of 12-18 years to trial our new social skills assessment app. Teens will be asked to complete a 90 minute assessment. Parent/guardians will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire. To find out more please follow the link below.

Find out more

Why PEERS is important

Social competence develops naturally in most children, but is underpinned by a complex set of skills, each contributing to ultimate social success. Skills integral to social competence include: ability for self-regulation, perception of emotion from facial expression and gesture, social information processing, understanding irony and sarcasm and the ability to understand another’s perspective. Measuring these skills is challenging. Best practice advocates that social assessments should be ‘ecologically sensitive and valid’, that is, as close as possible to real life experience. To provide these opportunities, social assessment tools need to utilize up-to-date technologies to best depict real-life social situations and enhance emotional engagement in the task by enabling the child or teen to become a part of the social situation.