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Discover how CASEN grew
from concept to community
CASEN’s Concept originated when Chris was asked by his father if there was anything he wished he had in school that could help kids today.
After careful consideration, Chris said, “I wish someone would have taught me how to be appropriate on social media like I was taught life skills in the classroom.” Chris also stated that he experienced cyberbullying on different social media platforms and his father and his father’s friends “policed his social media sites” and taught him what to post and what not to post, as well as who to friend and unfriend on social media.
Chris recognized that all children may not have people like his father and his father’s friends in their lives and Chris wanted these children to still have a successful social media experience, even sooner than he had, if possible.
The purpose of CASEN is to help students achieve social wellness. Designed as a precursor to traditional social media, CASEN’s goal is to help students become prepared for mainstream social media platforms through our tool, CASEN Connect.
About Chris Clark Jr.
Chris graduated high school in 2016. He also attended college for social work. Chris struggled socially and academically at times throughout school. At different points, he had special education classes, as well as regular education classes. Chris often felt like he was trapped between two worlds. However, he believes his unique experiences helped him to relate to both groups of his peers.
There were times when Chris did not know where he truly fit in and sometimes this caused him to feel alone. To turn this around, Chris was able to find a sense of belonging through sports. He joined the track and cross-country teams in middle school and high school. Chris also participated in the drama club. These social outlets really helped him connect with his peers and gain a greater sense of belonging.
“I want to prevent kids from struggling on social media and have a safe social space.”
About Dr. Myava Clark
Dr. Myava Clark earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Concentration in Respiratory Therapy from Millersville University, a Master of Education degree specializing in Elementary Education from Arcadia University, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree specializing in Higher Education and Leadership and Administration from Capella University.
Dr. Clark has more than 30 years of experience as a respiratory therapy clinician treating both adults and children. She has worked in several hospitals in and around Philadelphia. Dr. Clark is a college professor and she has worked as a laboratory specialist and a clinical instructor.
Dr. Clark is married to Chris Sr. and she is the mother of two children, Chris Jr. and Kyra. Chris Jr. had academic challenges at a very young age and Dr. Clark used her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education to work with Chris Jr. which helped him gain the tools he needed to improve his skills.
Dr. Clark is from the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to church, physical fitness, and coaching people to live a healthier lifestyle. Dr. Clark also enjoys photography and she takes pictures at special events for her family and friends.
“Everyone needs a safe space to feel trusted, respected, and valued. CASEN is that safe space!”
About Kyra Clark
Kyra is CASEN’s Executive Assistant. She graduated high school in 2017 and went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Sociology in 2021. As of the summer of 2023, she will receive a Master of Science Degree in Health Informatics. Kyra plans to pursue a public health doctoral degree in the near future. Ultimately, she hopes to work in public health research with a focus on patient advocacy and healthcare reform.
CASEN Concept Initiated
- CASEN Connect is a social media platform designed for students with social-emotional needs, as well as other differences. CASEN originated as CASEN Connect in 2017. CASEN Connect is used as a precursor for students before going on mainstream social media platforms. CASEN is meant to support adult leaders such as teachers, parents or caregivers, social workers, psychologists and anyone who works with student groups with children who have a social deficit. In addition to the adult leaders using CASEN’s social media platform as a tool to provide learning content, CASEN provides a question of the day to build critical thinking and social awareness skills.
- CASEN Connect was created
- Chris asked Dr. Clark to help him create an application (app) that would help children with learning and thinking differences to become appropriate on social media, Dr. Clark accepted Chris’ invitation and created an app via a third party. The Clarks were able to bring their vision to life and take it from a concept to an application. Dr. Clark and Chris presented this app and their concept for teaching social-emotional learning to the superintendent of special education at the school district where Chris attended school. The superintendent, the assistant superintendent, and Chris’ high school special education teacher met with the Clarks and the administrators provided feedback and suggestions to make the app better. Each time that the Clarks and the administrators met, they made suggestions for the app. The Clarks made appropriate changes and edits. The Clarks realized that the platform that they had created CASEN Connect was limited and could not make the additional edits necessary to improve the app experience for the users. Therefore, the Clarks knew that they would eventually need to find someone else who could take this app to the next level.
- CASEN Outreach goes into the community and engages with churches, camps, community centers, and other organizations to present a healthy approach and outlook toward social media. In the summer of 2019, CASEN was invited to present CASEN’s concept through CASEN Outreach at Camp Xtreme in Norristown, Pennsylvania. During their time with Camp Xtreme, CASEN presented two one-hour sessions per week for six weeks. The first hour was for a group of campers 7-10 years of age and the second hour was for a group of campers 11-13 years of age. CASEN paired with the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General to teach the children the dangers of social media. Then CASEN spent the next several weeks teaching about types of bullying and cyberbullying, child predators, sexting, social media statistics, and some sexting laws, among other things.
- The campers reported in a survey that they really enjoyed having a safe place to talk. Some campers even reported that they would report acts of bullying in the future, whether it was experienced or witnessed.
- CASEN also presented at Bethel Deliverance International Church Education Conference with the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General in August 2019. This was a two-hour workshop for students 9-13 years of age.
CASEN Education Social Network Wellness Academy was introduced
- Developed in 2020, CASEN Education Social Network Wellness Academy is designed to teach social wellness to students. The Social Network Wellness Academy identifies the strengths of students and then builds upon their strengths to teach social wellness. Many education platforms only identify a student’s weaknesses and deficits which may cause them to feel less than or behind their peers. CASEN believes that for students to become appropriate on social media, they need to learn what it means to have social wellness. This is achieved by taking practical lessons on social-emotional learning already taught in school, and connecting them to real life situations and experiences. With CASEN, the student’s challenges and weaknesses are identified and strengthened. Then these skills will be practiced in a safe online platform via CASEN Connect.
- Social wellness is taught through CASEN Education Social Network Wellness Academy. The Social Network Wellness Academy is an online course containing seven learning modules for students 9-13 years of age. CASEN’s approach is to empower the student where they currently are and stimulate them to want to learn more. This will be done through a series of Once the CASEN curriculum is completed, the students will progress to the CASEN Connect social media app to practice what they have learned.
CASEN Connect Reconstructed and introduced to users
- CASEN hired consultants and web developers to streamline their vision and take CASEN to the next level. With a new design and CASEN-owned platform, the CASEN social media app evolved into what it is today.
- CASEN Connect is for children of all abilities. However, the primary focus is children with learning and thinking differences. It is a social media site with training wheels and filters that teaches children in a safe, monitored, protected place.
- CASEN Connect is a precursor to regular social media sites. CASEN Connect is also a learning management system (LMS). This platform allows teachers to communicate with students in a safe, controlled environment with protections in place to prevent bullying and inappropriate behavior. Student posts are not visible to other students without teacher approval. This is a monitored site that checks for bullying behavior online. CASEN Connect is by invitation only, which prevents child predators from gaining access to children.
- CASEN courses were piloted with typically developing and gifted children on a community-based Zoom platform, as well as an in-person high school autistic support classroom. CASEN took the feedback from the students and facilitators and made the appropriate changes.
- To produce the updated curriculum, CASEN collaborated with a company that specializes in creating social-emotional learning content, school curriculum, and children’s journals to assist with the social-emotional learning portion of the lessons to help make it a seamless flow.
- CASEN Parents was created to empower parents and caregivers with the same tools they use to empower children. In this program, parents are equipped with tools to help keep their children safe on social media, as well as resources and techniques to teach their children about social wellness and bullying identification.
- CASEN Parents can take any course from CASEN Education that is offered to the children, but the content is presented on an adult level. This affords parents the opportunity to continue the conversations the children are learning in the program at home. Parents also communicate with other parents concerning these topics. CASEN Parents has a LinkedIn group for parents to connect, encourage one another, build relationships, and share tips that they find useful and supportive in this community.
Social Network Wellness Academy Courses
Children and their parents can complete the entire CASEN Education program to become a CASEN Ambassador or create an individualized learning experience by completing select courses.
Social-Emotional Development in Children
Mental Health Development in Children
Academic Development in Children
Bullying Identification in Children
Physical Development in Children
Social Media Readiness
CASEN’s future plan is to build a social media platform for children on different levels of the Autism Spectrum, including nonverbal children. We also desire to create a financial opportunity for children to earn an income who otherwise would not be afforded financial compensation.