“The concept of being social is a judgement not a test score” (Social Thinking, 2016)
This past week, I had the pleasure of attending a one day Social Thinking Conference in Tarrytown, NY. I was excited to hear Michelle Garcia Winner, the founder of Social Thinking discuss Informal Dynamic Social Thinking Assessment and Core Treatment Strategies in the home and school. For many years I have been told by colleagues that Michelle fills up rooms and now I know why! She is a natural speaker who presents information in a way that any participant can understand and appreciate. Being a blogger for Social Thinking, I have had the great opportunity to be given access to the wonderful products and resources that I get to share with my readers. Being a parent and speech language pathologist I have always found the Social Thinking curriculum to be functional, motivating for students and easy to implement at home. I wanted to share two products with you today and additional tips to be used at home. For a brief overview of Social Thinking and other product reviews, click here. To learn more about the Social Thinking conferences around the world, click here.
What type of individuals would benefit from Social Thinking? Social Thinking is a curriculum that is ideal for students with social cognitive impairments. I have found the curriculum to be useful in helping children to understand other people’s perspectives and learn how their own behavior can affect others and their thoughts about them. This idea of “perspective taking” and “social attention” is fascinating to me because how we respond to specific negative and unexpected behaviors may be not effective if we are not thinking about these questions, “Is this child socially aware?” and “Does this child understand how their behavior affects others?” The course helped me understand assessment of social skills and how to determine the type of communicator I’m working with. To learn more about the Social Communication Profile, check out this free article titled Levels of the Social Mind.
I Get It! Building Social Thinking and Reading Comprehension Through Book Chats by Audra Jensen is an excellent resource about the approach of Book Chat, which uses children’s literature to teach Social Thinking and improve reading comprehension. The book also discusses research about reading comprehension, gives strategies to help classroom teachers and provides examples of Book Chat literature and how to incorporate Social thinking concepts. One of the examples in this book is about one of my favorite books, Listening Larry in School and Listening Larry at Home. Included in the book are suggested questions such as “Why can’t the boy hear his mom when she’s talking at dinner?” and “What is Larry thinking about when his sister isn’t listening with her ears while playing the video game?” These suggested books with recommended questions can be very helpful to a parent and educator in a variety of settings. To purchase the book, click here.
Should I or Shouldn’t I What Would Others Think? by Dominique Baudry is an excellent game that can be played within the therapeutic or home environment. The game helps to facilitate the learning of Social Thinking and Social Problem Solving. I loved this game because it came with a Behavior Scale that are marked 1-5 ranging from having good and proud thoughts of someone (#1) up to behaviors that are against the rules and will make others feel angry towards you (#5). The game helps children explore their own thoughts and behaviors and how it can affect others in both a positive or negative way. One example question is “You have an extra pack of cookies in your lunch box. Your friend asks if he can have them. You say “No way”. The children have to determine what type of behavior this is which can help improve problem solving and inferencing skills. Talking through specific situations out of context can help a child deal with that exact situation when it occurs. There are also challenge questions included and an expansion pack with additional questions available here. I found this game easy to use within the home and during mealtime. Before playing the game, explain the different behaviors and give examples. Then review the directions and begin the game. If a specific behavior occurs at the table, use that as the example to begin with! To purchase the game, click here.
Would you like to learn more about Social Thinking? Check out my product reviews of the Social Detective App, the Superflex Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum and Thinking About You Thinking About Me here.