Our Story

It all started at a school.

Carolyn was working with autistic students as a Speech Language Pathologist. She was tasked with teaching them social communication skills. She set out to find a neurodivergent-affirming program that was well-researched and that celebrated the individual and built a positive self-image.

She couldn't quite find the right fit. So she started building her own.

After several iterations, she had a formula that worked. The only problem was that there was only one of her and many, many adolescents that needed help. She needed to scale.

She and Lisa joined forces and built a web app that could deliver this knowledge to empower future generations. And the rest...is the history we're building right now.

two anime boys

We're Different!

Unlike most programs built to help neurodivergent students, Social Optics is built on the trauma-response model.

Life is unpredictable. Instead of teaching discrete skills, we empower teens with a framework they can apply to any situation. This develops critical thinking and shows students they can make choices just like everyone else around them. This also prepares them to face new situations with confidence because we can't predict every decision or situation that each individual will be faced with.

A bonus of our approach is that it can not only be used to help neurodivergent teenagers, but the framework can help all teens as they develop into adults and figure out who they are.

Meet Our Leaders

We are driven to make a positive impact for students, teachers, district administrators, and parents. We're here to enable teens to make choices that will lead them to the outcomes they want, so they can live their best lives.
  • Carolyn Long
    Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer
    Carolyn has 22 years experience working with autistic individuals and their families. She has worked in schools and understands what works. She delivered the Social Optics course in the classroom for 2 years in its first, manual version.
  • Lisa Litherland
    Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer
    Lisa excels in simplifying complex ideas. She strategizes and executes. She has extensive business and technology sales experience. Growing up in Japan, she learned to communicate with visual cues and gained an appreciation for anime.
  • Kateryna Sytnyk
    Fractional Chief Technology Officer
    Kateryna builds scalable products and productive tech teams. She spent a decade in Silicon Valley, building tech startups, and now teams with non-technical founders to build impactful and beautiful products.


  • Yuying Chen-Wynn
    Yuying brings a wealth of experience in EdTech to Social Optics. Having worked on product development for ABCmouse at Age of Learning and as Chief Product Officer for Barnes & Noble Education, she provides strategic advice to enhance the learning experience for our users.
  • Arsen Ghazaryan
    Arsen is a one-man SWAT team for tech. With 21 years of experience, he has built his career in software engineering, focusing specifically on EdTech for the past 9 years.