Social Thinking is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner to describe how we think about people and the things we do when we are interacting with them. Some of our children have difficulty with social thinking which has nothing to do with their level of intelligence. But this difficulty affects how they behave, which in turn affects how others respond to them, which in turns affect their social emotions. These are challenges commonly seen in individuals with ASD, social communication disorder, ASperger’s, ADHD, etc. The Social Thinking Program is a treatment framework and curriculum that targets improving an individual’s social thinking.
What are the benefits?
- Children will improve in their self-esteem when interacting in a group
- They will understand more about what others are thinking and learn how to behave in a group
- They will learn to how to play with peers in school
- Children who are not able to pick up social communication naturally, will learn through cognitive ways to develop their social skills
- The program provides social thinking ‘scaffolds’ that help the children learn in steps perspective taking and social skills.
- By learning how other people think, the child can understand other people’s points of view and why specific behaviours or words are required in different situations.
- When a child learns how to think differently and flexibly, they can think anywhere. This is different from just teaching a social skill. Teaching the social thinking helps with generalisation.
What are the goals?
- Children will improve on joint attention, identifying basic emotions, shared imagination, taking turns, and sharing.
- They will learn about whole-body listening, friendly/expected vs. unfriendly/unexpected behavior, emotions and self-regulation/control, awareness of self and others, verbal and nonverbal communication.
- They will also learn about group dynamics, initiating and maintaining conversation, anxiety, verbal and nonverbal social cues, and organization.