The Engage Social Skills Program

A curriculum to empower group learning in special education environments

The Engage program enables K-12 instructors to incorporate learners with a range of learning disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders, into their group instruction. Engage bridges the gap between an already established educational system that serves most children and the complex reality of an increasingly growing number of children with a unique and varying set of needs and educational abilities. According to research, these students with varying abilities are not succeeding in school nor in later life. It is time to engage students in a new way.
— Co-creator Pamela Smith, M.Ed

What is the Engage Social Skills Program?



The Engage program is a comprehensive, out of the box solution for instructors engaged in teaching groups with learning disabilities. The curriculum, delivered through the UnitusTI cloud system, provides step by step goals and specific activities that help you as an educator to create a cohesive community of learners.

  • A developmental approach to building the necessary social skills in a learner with special needs so that they can learn more and more from the world around them and their therapy or school setting.  By breaking down social skills, Engage has focused on building the necessary foundation for any person to become an empowered participant in their world.
  • A structured approach to the process of building trust, exploring, fostering groupness, and working together.  

The Engage Social Skills program uses a three phase educational model (Exploration, Groupness and Academics) to train and support educators and therapists who work with groups of learners with special educational needs. The goal of the program is to provide innovative processes for working with groups of learners that may struggle with understanding social cues, making friends or learning new concepts in natural environments and group settings.

The program is available through our UnitusTI cloud data management service.  

This isn’t what I thought it was going to be. I thought we would be learning like games and how to take turns and stuff but instead it’s like we are learning about each other.
— 10 year old student in a class using the Engage method

Who is it for?

Any educator, caregiver or therapist who is searching for strategies to creating a cohesive learning environment for groups of learners with special education needs such as Autism. 

The ENGAGE curriculum has been a wonderful tool to encourage cooperation among our students! It’s amazing to watch our little learners solve problems as a team... and build friendships by working together! Thanks to Pam’s (co-creater of Engage) support and the easy-to-follow teaching materials, we have seen our group of preschoolers with ASD develop independence and learn to value their peers as partners and part of a group!
— Kate Paul, Natural Environment Specialist

Why should you use it?

Instructors who have participated in the Engage social skills program indicate an increase in connectedness between themselves and their learners. They also report increased independence and effective communication from learners and a decrease in their need for adult support to participate.  The program enables you as an instructor, therapist, or caregiver to set environments and provide structure and authentic activities to empower learners to be accountable, responsible, independent members of a group, no matter what level of challenge your group of learners faces.

The Engage teachers taught me to allow children to find and experience their own motivation without pressure from me to perform. I learned to share my own motivation as an interesting part of what was happening, rather than a dictum of what should occur. The small group experiences I had consisted of three to four children with autism, and were valuable learning experiences for me. Recently, using techniques I’d learned from the Engage teachers, I was able to help a child with very limited eating repertoire truly enjoy the experience of eating lettuce. Because we spent time noticing the different colors of the leaves, he found his desire to try something new.
— Alison Reddy, former paraprofessional and parent of ASD son

How does it work?

We all build relationships as a way to navigate the world and be successful. This happens for some very easily, but for people with special needs it can be a struggle. This doesn’t mean that they can’t do it, rather that they may need more time or a modified approach. Engage provides specific goals for you to follow so that you do not miss any of the foundational pieces of the puzzle.


Engage in Action


Engage Tip of the Month Video

The Engage Program co-creator, Pamela Smith, with another helpful tip for engaging with your child. Designed initially for teaching group behavior to children with autism, the Engage method crosses boundaries to instruct parents, caregivers, educators or therapists in teaching any student how to engage effectively in group behaviors.


Engage Blog


Engage in the Media


How can you get it?

The full Engage social skills curriculum is available as part of the UnitusTI electronic data management cloud service. Schedule a free demo or just contact us for more information.