Brittany Schmidt Social Thinking intro

Introduction to Social Thinking
Brittany Schmidt, MA-CCC/SLP
[email protected]
What is Social Thinking?
The process through which we think about
people and their thoughts, intentions, point of
view, emotions, etc.
What does it Mean to have
“Good” Social Skills?
The ability to adapt one’s behavior to what
you know or don’t know about people in
specific contexts or situations.
Diagnostic Labels Related to
Weak or Poor Social Skills
Functioning Autism (HFA)
Developmental Disorder: Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
Learning Disorder (NLD)
who have no clear diagnosis but do not share space effectively!
Typical Development
Cooing, babbling, social referencing with paired
vocalizations and eye contact
Word approximations, single words, 2-3 word
phrases, sentences
All “superimposed” with the social use of these
skills with a variety of people, in a variety of
environments for a variety of purposes or
Social Curriculum
Social-Cognitive Deficits
Educational/Vocational Curriculum
Interaction of the two
Biggest issues are organization,
independence and initiation of
Where are these individuals
going as adults?
What obstacles will be the most
impactful to their adult success?
How do we prepare them?
Goal of interventions…
To use each person’s strengths to teach
increasingly abstract ideas, no matter the age.
The goal is not to make the disability go away,
but to create more awareness and then use
appropriate skills
Characteristics of ASD
Must be considered
Repetitive Behaviors and Patterns of Interest
Sensory Needs
Cognitive Rigidity
Social Thinking is demonstrated by:
Effective communication
Personal problem solving/organizational skills
These are BIG areas when it comes to
developing independence
Intervention for kids with poor social
skills, is not quite so simple as
teaching them better social skills.
need to help teach students become more
efficient social thinkers, before we can expect
them to produce better social skills.
eye contact.
Teaching Social thinking and related social skills is
the treatment model for kids who have near normal to
way above normal verbal intelligence.
Since social information develops with
increasing nuance and sophistication by 3rd
grade and older, we need to teach social
thinking and social skills that provide more
nuanced based information.
A behaviorally based social skills treatment
approach fails to provide this level of cognitive
Why Social Thinking
on Executive Dysfunction
(McEvoy, Rogers, Pennington)
Difficulty with organization and flexibility
(Baron-Cohen, Leslie and Frith, 1985)
Thinking about what others are thinking about you
on Theory of Mind
on Central Coherence Theory
(Frith, 1989)
Thinking in pieces without relating to a larger picture (conceptual
learning deficit)
There is not a single moment in the day
where social thinking and related social
skills are not required and expected.
Critical Skills Required for Social Thinking--I LAUGH
Listening with eyes and brain
Abstracting and Inferencing
Understanding Perspective
Getting the Big Picture
Humor/Human Relatedness
Initiation of Language
Ability to use language to seek assistance or
What is the difference between language use
for assistance or information versus area of
Listening with Eyes and Brain
Difficulty with auditory comprehension.
Integration of what is seen with what hears.
What is “Making a Smart Guess?”
Abstract and Inferential Language
Communicative comprehension goes beyond
the words.
Flexibility in thinking is required.
Subtlety of nonverbal language.
Perspective taking.
Getting the big picture
Information is conveyed through concepts, not
just facts.
Conceptual understanding in both language
and reading.
Organizational difficulties.
Humor/human relatedness
Beyond the knock, knock joke....
Subtle social cues.
Using humor appropriately or inappropriately?
Overarching concepts
4 steps of communication
4 steps of perspective taking
Four Steps of Communication
1. Thinking about people and what they think
and feel.
2. Being aware of you physical presence as
well as others.
3. Using your eyes to think about others and
watch what they are thinking about.
4. Using language to relate to others.
Perspective Taking
The ability to consider your own and other people’s:
Thoughts and Emotions
Motives and Intentions
Prior Knowledge/Experiences
Perspective Taking
1. I think about you, you think about me.
2. I think about why you are near me, you think
about why I am near you. (What is your intent?)
3. I think about what you are thinking of me. You
think about what I am thinking about you.
4. I regulate my behavior to keep you thinking good
thoughts about me. You regulate your behavior to
keep me thinking good thoughts about you.
Core ST Vocabulary
Expected Behavior
Unexpected Behavior
Brain and Body in Group
Listening with Whole Body
Social (Detective) Tools
Thinking of You vs. Just Me
People File
Size of Thought
Teach Social Thinking
and related social skills
through explicit
explanation of social
Brain in Group
Listening with Eyes
Thoughts of others (Social Behavior Map)
People File
Questions or Comments?

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