Secret Agent Society: Operation Regulation - Transdiagnostic Trial

What’s this project about?

This study aims to evaluate whether a cognitive behavioural intervention, Secret Agent Society: Operation Regulation, can help youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities cope with their emotions and handle the day-to-day stressors in their lives. By neurodevelopmental disability, we mean a diagnosis of autism, a learning disability, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or cerebral palsy.

How will we go about doing this project?

Participating involves weekly 1-hour visits to York University, where eligible families will meet with a trained therapist for one-on-one therapy. Youth will get to do an assortment of activities and play games (e.g., computer games, problem-solving tasks, and role-playing). The activities are aimed to help build emotion regulation skills.

Families will also participate in research to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

There is no cost to the program, except for parking and travel to the university.

Who can be involved?

At this time, we are looking for youth between 8 and 13 years of age with a formal NDD diagnosis of autism, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Children need to have at least average language skills and intellectual ability and need to be interested in working on emotions with a therapist. Families need to be able to participate for 10 consecutive weekly sessions at York.

Limited space is available - families will be contacted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

What will we do with our research findings?

The results of this study will provide us with an understanding of emotion regulation processes for individuals with NDD, and help us to improve the intervention. Results of this study may also lead to a reduction of youth’s levels of negative emotions. We will write an article summarizing our findings to submit to an academic journal, present the results at national and international conferences, and create a summary of our findings to post on this website.

What is the next step?

Our project started recruitment in January 2017. We aim to recruit a total of 120 youths between 8-13 years of age with NDD over 5 years.

Want to know more about this project?

For more information, please feel free to contact or Dr. Jonathan Weiss (, Principal Investigator on the study.

This project is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the York Research Chair in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disability Mental Health.