Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability

Pathways15: Social Eyes - Autism, Social Interaction and Inclusion in the VET, Higher and Tertiary Education Sectors

Elaine Hatfield-White, US- Understanding Social Skills

SocialEyes is a resource developed by The National Autistic Society, London in 2010. It was developed with and by people with autism alongside leading professionals in the field to facilitate social skills and social understanding with people on the autism spectrum. All resources have been extensively piloted and re-piloted with ongoing development and research since 2005.

SocialEyes will not ask people with autism spectrum to change or to acquire social skills by copying the ‘typical’ behaviour of others. The program provides people with the option of learning social interaction skills or alternative social strategies by enabling them to focus on the unwritten rules of social behaviour.

SocialEyes uses filmed social scenarios to for video-modelling and to analyse the unwritten rules of social behaviour in detail

Following a 2018 pilot group study of SocialEyes in Perth, W.A., the films were updated in 2019 and co-produced with an Australian cast and crew, 83% of whom have autism. The program is now run here in Australia and people can currently access this in Perth through NDIS funding.

The aim of this presentation is to bring the SocialEyes program to a wider audience, increase audience awareness of the difficulties people with autism experience in educational, work and social settings and to celebrate the unique strengths that people can demonstrate given tailored support such as a mentoring program.


Elaine Hatfield-White is a person with autism, a trained SocialEyes facilitator, registered Developmental Educator/ Allied Health Professional, graduate of BSc. Autism Studies, University of Kent, UK., SEN Teacher for 10 years and currently has 15 years-experience as a University Disability Officer both in Perth, W.A. and the UK.

Elaine currently works as an AccessAbility Advisor for Curtin University as well as Joint Program Manager of the Curtin Specialist Mentoring Program for students with autism. The program currently has 80 students with autism and 56 Mentors.