Introduction to Social Thinking Brittany Schmidt, MA-CCC/SLP www.abc-autism.com [email protected] 605-351-1002 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 Development: High Functioning Autism (HFA) Asperger Syndrome Pervasive Developmental Disorder: Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) Tourette’s Fragile X ADHD OCD Students 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 functions Social Curriculum • Social-Cognitive Deficits • Educational/Vocational Curriculum • Interaction of the two • • • • Biggest issues are organization, independence and initiation of communication 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 Social Communication Repetitive Behaviors and Patterns of Interest Sensory Needs Cognitive Rigidity ILAUGH 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. We need to help teach students become more efficient social thinkers, before we can expect them to produce better social skills. Example: 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 information. Why Social Thinking §Based on Executive Dysfunction (McEvoy, Rogers, Pennington) Difficulty with organization and flexibility §Based (Baron-Cohen, Leslie and Frith, 1985) Thinking about what others are thinking about you §Based 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 I L A U G H Initiating 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 information. What is the difference between language use for assistance or information versus area of interest? 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 Beliefs Personality 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 expectations Examples • Brain in Group • Listening with Eyes • Thoughts of others (Social Behavior Map) • People File Questions or Comments?