Social competence is developed through social learning. Successful social thinkers consider the points of view, emotions, thoughts, prior knowledge and intentions of others. We teach perspective taking, which is understanding that others have “thoughts” separate from our own, to interpreting and responding to the nuances of verbal and non-verbal communication.
We also teach that social communication is the verbal and nonverbal actions people exhibit when they are interacting with others in social situations. Challenges with social communication may include having difficulty with the give and take of conversation, trouble introducing and/or staying on topic, and trouble using comments and asking questions. Additionally, difficulty with narrative language or storytelling, understanding/ using social cues as well as understanding and expressing feelings, can be factors in social communication.
At Pediatric Speech and Language Specialists, we focus on social and emotional learning strategies that encourage reflection and self- awareness. We want children to think about how their actions and words have consequences. We encourage the development of perspective taking, and help children learn to read the situation. We create opportunities to practice effective social communication skills. Based on the work of world-renowned expert Michelle Garcia Winner, we teach Social Thinking® that increases their awareness of social expectations. We use innovative lessons, fun creative, hands-on activities to improve the child’s ability to interact with others at school, at home, and out and about in the community.
Signs of Social Learning Challenges
- Has trouble making and keeping friends
- Socially anxious or awkward
- Cannot see the “big picture” and may focus on the details
- Has trouble figuring out others’ intentions
- Cannot “read” body language, facial expressions, context, etc.
- Has difficulty working in a group in school
- Connects well with adults but struggles to connect with peers
- Difficulty playing with peers in ways that are expected for their age
- Often feels left out by peers and seems to be a target for teasing and bullying
- Difficulty initiating conversations and social interactions
- Trouble thinking and asking questions about others’ interests and experiences
- Poor problem solving skills
While the program explores a wide range of topics, some central lessons include:
- Non-verbal communication
- Initiating conversations/Small talk
- Problem solving and negotiating
- How their behavior impacts others
- Emotional regulation and self control
- Group dynamics/How to “fit in”
- Understanding abstract language
- Thinking flexibly
- Understanding hidden social rules
At Pediatric Speech and Language Specialists, we focus on social and emotional learning strategies that encourage reflection and self-awareness. We want children to think about how their actions and words have consequences. We encourage the development of perspective taking, and help children learn to read the situation. We create opportunities to practice effective social communication skills. Based on the work of world-renowned expert Michelle Garcia Winner, we teach Social Thinking® concepts that increase their awareness of social expectations. We use innovative lessons, fun creative, hands-on activities to improve the child’s ability to interact with others at school, at home, and out and about in the community.
There is no “one size fits all” approach to each group. We adjust our methods and strategies to address social learning needs observed when working with group participants. We may draw on published curriculum (including, but not limited to The Incredible 5-Point Scale by Kari Dunn Buron, Social Stories by Carol Gray, and the Social Thinking® approach by Michelle Garcia Winner), as well as using our extensive and diverse experience as therapists to discover and create unique activities that meet our group members’ individual needs while keeping these critical instructional techniques in mind.
Just to let you know… At PSLS, we love Social Thinking®! Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and represents a coordinated teaching methodology consisting of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools, and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at Social Thinking®. In 2008, our PSLS director, Anita Werner, participated in the Social Thinking® Mentoring program and attends the yearly Social Thinking® Providers Conference held in California, bringing back the most up-to-date information, current trends and treatment in the area of Social Thinking®. Additionally, Anita presented at the International Social Thinking® Providers Conference about Kamp Talkalot in June 2010 and about Color Me Social®, a Social Communication program she has developed (2015). Anita works closely with PSLS staff on social learning instruction, strategies and implementation. That being said, it is important to note that, this program, including its teacher or leader, is not affiliated with, nor has it been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by Michelle Garcia Winner and Think Social Publishing, Inc.