Social Communication Groups

Social Communication and Social Strategies Can Help Your Child Navigate the Social World

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
  • Perspective-taking
  • Understanding hidden social rules

Our Approach:


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.

Our Groups

Talking Toddlers: A Toddler Communication Therapy Group

Parents often ask “What can I do to help my child talk?” This “parent-child” group therapy was designed to encourage expressive language skills in very young children that need a little extra help. A speech-language pathologist leads this group of parents and tots to help foster relationships that build communication. This group addresses how to speak to your child to help develop language. Playful activities will be provided to help children learn how to use words for communication. This group will focus on establishing the prerequisites to communication such as: - Eye contact - Attention - Imitation - Communicative turn-taking - Requesting by pointing, vocalizing, and using words - Soliciting another’s attention - Using single words or short phrases to express intentions

Child to Child: A Preschool Social Communication Group

This very popular group was designed to help children, ages three to six years, learn to improve their ability to interact and communicate. This program is based on the principle that children learn language and social skills as they interact with their peers. The children are encouraged to communicate feelings and express themselves as they play with each other. This early intervention program integrates a relationship-focused developmental model with well-validated teaching practices such as Hanen and Greenspan’s Floortime® along with other evidence based approaches. In the context of this group, Social Thinking® concepts and vocabulary are introduced to early learners using the Social Thinking® curriculum, We Thinkers! (by Ryan Hendrix, Kari Palmer, Nancy Tarshis, and Michelle Garcia Winner [Social Thinking®](http://socialthinking.com/). In our group, we focus on important skills such as: - Greeting others - Cooperating with peers in play - Making smart predictions about others’ intentions - Recognizing expected social behaviors - Making conversation - Asking/forming questions - Listening to others when they speak - Turn-taking - Expressing their feelings/thoughts - Responding to aggression/conflict - Negotiating Children with and without speech and language problems join together for fun, exciting activities that are designed to stimulate language and social interaction. In this supported environment, verbal and physical prompts are utilized to encourage children to show, invite, share, trade, greet, and interact with others. Over time the therapist support is faded as the children begin to use their skills spontaneously. This group meets one time a week, typically for an hour and a half. Each session is divided into a group lesson, and practice time including games and activities. The last ten minutes is dedicated to a parent consultation, so that parents understand what the group covered and what parents can do at home to support social learning. If parents are unable to attend, feedback can be arranged via email, phone calls, or face-to- face conferences. Because we know a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work when teaching social communication, groups are thoughtfully created to bring together students of similar abilities, personalities, and ages. A consultation is required prior to joining a group. There is no charge for this appointment which allows us to meet your child to determine whether he/she would benefit from this Social Thinking® and social communication approach. To schedule a consultation or to learn more please call the PSLS office at (480) 991-6560. 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 www.socialthinking.com. In 2008, our PSLS director, Anita Werner, participated in the Social Thinking® Mentoring program and attends the yearly ® 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._

Kid Talk: An Elementary Social Communication Group

This elementary school social communication therapy group was designed for children age seven to ten or eleven years of age. This therapy group focuses on: **Social skills:** - Listening and connecting with others - Flexible thinking - Understanding the hidden rules in different situations - Reading social cues and others plans - Making and keeping friends **Language skills:** - Asking and answering questions - Staying on topic - Switching topics - Processing of information - Formulation and sequencing thoughts in conversation - Small talk and conversation **Cooperating with peers:** - Following rules and plan of the group - Joining in play - Taking turns - Good sportsmanship - Negotiating with peers - Problem solving skills The Kid Talk group focuses on learning [Social Thinking®](http://socialthinking.com) concepts and figuring out hidden social rules. Children are taught to think through social situations and are provided with guided practice to learn how to take the perspective of others, from peers to parents. This greater focus enables social success for children because it helps them understand **why** they are supposed to act a certain way rather than memorizing social rules. Social Thinking® concepts are taught so that children, parents and therapists communicate openly about social expectations. Children work on learning how to relate to others and better understand their perspective. This group meets one time a week, typically for an hour and a half. Each session is divided into a group lesson, and practice time including games and various activities. The last ten minutes is dedicated to a parent consultation so that parents understand what the group worked on and what they can do at home to support social learning. If parents are unable to attend, we can arrange to communicate via email, phone calls or face-to-face conferences. Because we know a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work when teaching social communication, groups are thoughtfully created to bring together students of similar abilities, personalities, and ages. A consultation is required prior to joining a group. There is no charge for this appointment which allows us to meet your child to determine whether he would benefit from this Social Thinking® and social communication approach. To schedule a consultation or to learn more please call the PSLS office at (480) 991-6560. 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._

Tween Talk Groups: A Middle School Social Communication Group

Both Tween Talk and Teen Talk are cutting-edge groups that focus on social learning in a warm friendly environment. In our safe learning environment, our tweens and teens are taught to think through social situations focusing on why we engage in particular social acts. Our groups target being successful social thinkers; considering the points of view, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, prior knowledge and intentions of others. Teens and tweens learn Social Thinking® concepts and hidden social rules. We use innovative, age-appropriate techniques to help tweens and teens understand how their words and actions influence the way people think about them. PSLS is a warm, safe environment for tweens and teens to learn social learning concepts through direct instruction, reasoning, and practice. **We work on the following skills:** **Social cognitive skills** - Increasing self-awareness - Identifying expected social behaviors - Understanding the effect of one’s behavior on others - Thinking flexibly - Perspective taking - Understanding hidden social rules - Reading social cues - Listening attentively - Social networking - How to develop friendships **Communication** - Asking and answering questions - Staying on topic - Switching topics - Specific word finding - Processing of information - Formulating and sequencing of thoughts in conversation - Reasoning and problem solving - Understanding body language - Holding thoughts and not interrupting others - Reading between the lines of what people say **Cooperating with peers** - Negotiating with peers - Being a good leader and participant - Taking turns - Good sportsmanship - Responding to teasing This group meets one time a week, typically for an hour and a half. This session is divided into a group lesson, and practice time including role-playing, and various activities. The last ten minutes is dedicated to a parent consultation so that parents understand what the group worked on and what they can do at home to support social learning. If parents are unable to attend, we arrange for them to receive feedback via email, phone calls or face-to- face conferences. Because we know a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work when teaching social communication, groups are thoughtfully created to bring together students of similar abilities, personalities, and ages. A consultation is required prior to joining a group. There is no charge for this appointment which allows us to meet your child to determine whether he would benefit from this Social Thinking® and social communication approach. To schedule a consultation or to learn more please call the PSLS office at (480) 991-6560. 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 [www.socialthinking.com](https://socialthinking.com). 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._

Teen Talk Groups: A High School Social Communication Group

Both Tween Talk and Teen Talk are cutting-edge groups that focus on social learning in a warm friendly environment. In our safe learning environment, our tweens and teens are taught to think through social situations focusing on why we engage in particular social acts. Our groups target being successful social thinkers; considering the points of view, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, prior knowledge and intentions of others. Teens and tweens learn Social Thinking® concepts and hidden social rules. We use innovative, age-appropriate techniques to help tweens and teens understand how their words and actions influence the way people think about them. PSLS is a warm, safe environment for tweens and teens to learn social learning concepts through direct instruction, reasoning, and practice. **We work on the following skills:** **Social Cognitive Skills** - Increasing self-awareness - Identifying expected social behaviors - Understanding the effect of one’s behavior on others - Thinking flexibly - Perspective taking - Understanding hidden social rules - Reading social cues - Listening attentively - Social networking - How To develop friendships **Communication** - Asking and answering questions - Staying on topic - Switching topics - Specific word finding - Processing of information - Formulating and sequencing of thoughts in conversation - Reasoning and problem solving - Understanding body language - Holding thoughts and not interrupting others - Reading between The lines of what people say **Cooperating with peers** - Negotiating with peers - Being a good leader and participant - Taking turns - Good sportsmanship - Responding to teasing This group meets one time a week, typically for an hour and a half. This session is divided into a group lesson, and practice time including role-playing, and various activities. The last ten minutes is dedicated to a parent consultation so that parents understand what the group worked on and what they can do at home to support social learning. If parents are unable to attend, we arrange for them to receive feedback via email, phone calls or face-to- face conferences. Because we know a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work when teaching social communication, groups are thoughtfully created to bring together students of similar abilities, personalities, and ages. A consultation is required prior to joining a group. There is no charge for this appointment which allows us to meet your child to determine whether he would benefit from this Social Thinking® and social communication approach. To schedule a consultation or to learn more please call the PSLS office at (480) 991-6560. 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 [www.socialthinking.com](https://socialthinking.com). 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._