Post by:

Michelle Artreche

Created on:

April 10, 2023

The LEGO Foundation Selects Social-Emotional Learning Video Game Start-Up to Boost Skills to Neurodivergent Youth

Social Cipher was selected to be a new member of the LEGO Foundation’s Play for All Accelerator to help expand their reach around the world to neurodivergent children in schools and at home.

Vanessa Castañeda Gill and Lucy Stevens at Lego Foundation headquarters in Denmark.

April 11, 2023 –Today, Social Cipher announced their partnership with the LEGO Foundation. They were selected to join a new cohort that will help scale their impact to reach children on the spectrum at home. The LEGO Foundation’s Play for All Accelerator  is a program that accelerates products, services, and experiences that recognize neurodivergent children's strengths and nurture their skills.

Social Cipher, a 50% neurodivergent company, is a social-emotional learning game platform that helps the neurodiverse build a relationship with their greatest advocates (counselors, teachers and parents).Their curriculum is based on the Building Blocks of Learning and CASEL for their gaming series, Ava. Social Cipher has worked with over 150 schools and centers across the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. 

"We’re excited to partner with Social Cipher to give more neurodivergent youth access to playful education offerings designed with them in mind. Through their game-based approach, young people build peer-to-peer relationships alongside professionals who support and nurture social-emotional skills to best support their needs.” said Christina Witcomb, Senior Director at the LEGO Foundation.

The latest research found that between 10% to 20% of the global population is neurodivergent. Now more than ever, inclusive learning systems are key to empowering autistic youth and helping them develop self-advocacy skills. Social Cipher is currently deployed in four countries, helping neurodiverse youth foster a positive sense of self, while practicing their social-emotional skills. 

“There is now a better understanding of the prevalence and importance of neurodiversity affirming practices and resources, and game-based learning is one of the solutions that is helping neurodiverse kids around the world,” said Vanessa Castañeda Gill, CEO of Social Cipher. “We are building accessible and creative modes of gameplay that will scale our reach to neurodiverse youth.”

Social Cipher and the LEGO Foundation will also be working with experts and advisors from the National Association of Special Education (NASEN) as well as innovation strategists from Founders Intelligence, an entrepreneur-powered consulting firm. Together, they will develop and scale playful learning concepts which use play-based learning as a tool to enhance the lives of autistic children.

In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, starting today through April 18, Social Cipher will be releasing a free trial of their award winning game series, Ava, for new users. This will provide the opportunity for educators, mental health professionals, and families to try their SEL games with their youth ages 10-15. Create your account to access your free game trial here.

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