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Social Skills Therapy

One of autism's "core deficits" is a lack of social and communication skills. Many children with autism need help in building the skills they need to hold a conversation, connect with a new friend, or even navigate the playground. Social skills therapists can help out setting up and facilitating peer-based social interaction.

Some of the most popular therapies in this area are:

  • SocialThinking

Social Thinking

social-thinkingSocial thinking is a term for social cognition. Social thinking is prerequisite prior to the development of social skills. Successful social thinkers consider the points of view, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, prior knowledge and intentions of others (this is often called perspective-taking - considering the perspectives of others). This is for most of us an intuitive process. We can determine the meanings behind the messages communicated by others and how to respond to them quickly. Social thinking occurs every walks of our life, when we talk, share space, walk down the street, even when we read a novel and relate to our pets. It is an consciousness that integrates our experience across home, work and community settings - something we generally take for granted!

In case of neurotypical people, social thinking comes naturally at birth and they start learning intuitively from infancy onward. While most of us develop our communication skills as we grow up, steadily observing and acquiring social information and learning how to respond to the people around us, many of autistic people have great challenges with this process. These challenges with learning and applying social information is often considered a social learning disability.

According to the research published by the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders indicates that Social Thinking methodologies are successful at teaching the ability to interact socially in people with social limitations who have near-normal to way above-normal intelligence. These Social Thinking strategies can help not only children and adolescents , but also can help adults as well.

Over a decade ago, Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP, developed the related treatment approach for individuals with high-functioning autism, Asperger's and similar challenges. In 2008, she received an award of Special Congressional Recognition for her on-going innovation of the Social Thinking curriculum and treatment approach. Michelle, Tony Attwood, Carol Gray, Barry Prizant, Kari Dunn Buron, Diane Twatchman-Cullen, Cathy Pratt, Brenda Smith Myles have all contributed to Social Thinking and related treatment methodologies. However, much of the growth of Social Thinking, both nationally and internationally, can be attributed to its use by professionals, parents and other caregivers who modify strategies for their settings and student needs. The term Social Thinking now encompasses many treatment programs broady described as "teaching social thinking and related social skills." These strategies share common traits and differ from "social skills" teaching by getting at the thinking behind being social.
Social Thinking strategies teach individuals:

  • How their own social minds work - why they and others react and respond the way they do;
  • How their behaviors have emotional affects on those around them;
  • And from this, how behaviors are affecting their own emotions, responses to and relationships with others across different social contexts.
  • For individuals being treated, the objectives of these strategies include the ability to:
  • Recognize the different levels of their own and others’ social minds;
  • Navigate their behaviors for more rewarding social outcomes, which include considering how others perceive and respond to these behaviors;
  • Learn to adapt to the people and situations around them, across contexts, from formal (classroom, workplace, etc.) to casual settings (hanging out, recess, etc.).

For more Information about this treatment visit SocialThinking.com


 Social Thinking Videos:

Michelle Garcia Winner presents part one of a training session for parents and professionals on the Social Thinking approach to Asperger's, high-functioning autism, ADHD and other social and communication challenges.


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Disclaimer: The information provided at Recovery From Autism (RFA) is for informational purposes only. The faculty of RFA is not providing medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and cannot replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. (Full Disclaimer)