Social Thinking

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Social Thinking is a social skills curriculum developed by Michelle Garcia Winner. The curriculum is intended for students with social learning disabilities, especially those with autistic spectrum conditions. Its main focus is on teaching students to think about how others perceive them.

Definition[edit]

Social thinking what individuals do when interacting with other people: namely, they think about them. Most people take social thinking for granted, as it is generally an intuitive process that considers the points of view, emotions, and intentions of others. In neurotypical people, social thinking is hard-wired neurologically at birth and learned intuitively from infancy. Children with autism spectrum disorders generally do not intuitively learn social information the way neurotypical children do. Those with ASD and related social learning challenges who are “higher functioning” need to be cognitively taught how to think socially and understand the use of related social skills.

While these challenges are commonly experienced by individuals with autism spectrum disorders (high-functioning), social communication disorder, Asperger's, ADHD, nonverbal learning disability (NLD) and similar diagnoses, children and adults experiencing social learning difficulties often have received no diagnosis.

The term Social Thinking was coined by Michelle Garcia Winner in the late 1990s while working with higher-functioning students, who were expected to blend in with their peer group by producing more nuanced social responses. This theory views social skills as dynamic and situational, not as something that can be taught and then replicated across the school campus. Instead, social skills appear to evolve from one’s thinking about how one wants to be perceived. So, the decision to use discrete social skills (e.g. smiling versus “looking cool”, standing casually versus formally, swearing/speaking informally versus speaking politely) are not based on memorizing specific social rules (as often taught in our social skills groups), but instead are based on a social decision-making tree of thought that involves dynamic and synergistic processing. Winner, (2000[1] & 2007[2]) has suggested we could better understand multidimensional social learning needs by exploring the many different aspects of social information and related responses that are expected from any one of us to utilize well, in order for us to be considered as having “good social skills”.

Social Learning and Social Thinking[edit]

The ability to think socially is required prior to the production of social skills. As children age up, successful social thinkers are able to consider the points of view, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, prior knowledge and intentions of others (this is often called perspective-taking). For most people, this is an intuitive process whereby we determine the meaning behind the message and how to respond within milliseconds. Social Thinking occurs everywhere, when we talk, share space, walk down the street, even when we read a novel and relate to our pets. It is an intelligence that integrates information across home, work and community settings.

Social Thinking also demonstrates the link between one’s social learning abilities and his or her related ability (or disability) when processing and responding to school curriculum based in the use of the social mind (e.g., reading comprehension of literature, some aspects of written expression, etc.). Winner's ideas related to teaching social thinking, which are all based on the research, are the conceptual foundation for developing treatments for those with social challenges. Winner and colleagues argue that individuals who share a diagnostic label (e.g., Asperger syndrome) nonetheless exhibit extremely different social learning traits, or social mind profiles, and should have unique treatment trajectories, such as those based in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Social Thinking Strategies[edit]

For the adolescent with advanced cognitive and language skills, a discussion about the “why” underlying the production of a skill becomes crucial. A number of teaching scaffolds have been developed to encourage students to explore how “we all get along” with one another, even when relating to someone we do not know well. Individuals are taught that thinking about the social world can in turn help him/her to adapt behaviors in an increasingly proficient manner. While Social Thinking is relatively new in the field of autism and special education, it is closely linked with other types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approaches such as Social Stories,[3] Hidden Curriculum,[4] 5-point scale,[5] and others,[6] etc. The foundation of Social Thinking is weighted heavily in well-known issues in this population such as executive functioning, central coherence issues, and perspective-taking, only a handful of research[7][8] has been completed to date.

Books[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Gray, Carol (2010). The New Social Stories Book. Future Horizons. ISBN 1-935274-05-8. 
  4. ^ Smith-Myles, Trautman & Schelven, Brenda (2004). The Hidden Curriculum. Autism Asperger Publishing. ISBN 1-931282-60-9. 
  5. ^ Dunn-Buron & Curtis, Kari. The Incredible 5-Point Scale. Autism Asperger Publishing. ISBN 1-931282-52-8. 
  6. ^ Attwood, Tony. "Tony Attwood". The Complete Guide to Aspergers. 
  7. ^ Crooke, P.J.; Hendrix, R.E.; Rachman, Y. (2008). "BRIEF REPORT: The effectiveness of teaching social thinking to adolescents with asperger syndrome and high functioning autism.". Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 38 (3): 581–591. doi:10.1007/s10803-007-0466-1. 
  8. ^ Lee, K.; Lui, A.L.Y.; Kan, P.P.K.; Luke, K.M.; Mak, Y.M.; Cheung, P.M.P.; Cheng, L.; Wong, I. (2009). "A case series on the social thinking training of mainstreamed secondary school students with high-functioning autism". Hong Kong Journal of Mental Health. 35 (1): 10–17. 

References[edit]

  • Crooke, P.J.; Hendrix, R.E.; Rachman, Y. (2008). "BRIEF REPORT: The effectiveness of teaching social thinking to adolescents with asperger syndrome and high functioning autism.". Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 38 (3): 581–591. doi:10.1007/s10803-007-0466-1. 
  • Lee, K.Y.S., Lui, A.L.Y., Kan, P.P.K., Luke, K.M., Mak, Y.M., Cheung, P.M.P., Cheng, L. & Wong, I. (2009). A case series on the social thinking training of mainstreamed secondary school students with high-functioning autism. Hong Kong Journal of Mental Health, 35(1), 10–17.[3]
  • Winner, M. & Crooke, P. (2011) Thinking about Thinking: Social Communication for adolescents with Autism. ASHA Leader Magazine, MD.[4]
  • Winner, M., Crooke, P, & Madrigal (2010) It’s a Girl Thing or Is it?: Social Thinking and Social Skills in Girls, Teens, and Women with Social Learning Issues, Autism Asperger Digest[5]
  • Winner, M. & Crooke, P. (2009) Social Thinking: A Training Paradigm for Professionals and Treatment Approach for Individuals with Social Learning/Social Pragmatic Challenges. Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, 16 62–69. [6]