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Teaching Social Thinking Facilitates Learning Language Arts


... Conversations (Gray) to illustrate. ... Marshall and Fox (2006) The Development ... All books by Carol Gray: www.thegraycenter.com. Michelle Winner: 4 books ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Teaching Social Thinking Facilitates Learning Language Arts

Teaching Social Thinking Facilitates Learning
Language Arts
  • Michelle Garcia Winner
  • M.A., CCCSLP
  • Michelle G Winners Center for Social Thinking
  • www.socialthinking.com

DX Social Skill Challenges
  • High Functioning Autism (HFA)
  • Aspergers Syndrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise
    Specified (PDD-NOS)
  • Semantic Pragmatic Disorder
  • Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD)
  • Hyperlexic
  • Tourettes? .Fragile X.
  • ADHD OCD Asperger Syndrome?
  • Where does Bipolar fit in?

What is meant by having good social skills?
  • Its the ability to share space effectively.
  • To be able to adapt effective in different
    contexts within the same environments and across

How do Social Skills Emerge?
  • First week of life babies start matching others
    facial expression.
  • 9-12 months old Joint attention
  • Along with joint attention babies start to read
    other peoples plans (physical intentions)

Kicked off by Joint Attention
  • Babies also start to use an index finger point,
    to connect their attention to others.
  • Ask for help, prelinguistically, through
  • Language emerges to share, comment and question
    about their world.
  • They also use language to begin to regulate
    others with clear intention (terrible 2s!)
  • In the 2nd year of life, babies realize when
    people are having problems and try and help to
    solve those problems (picking up the broom mom
    has dropped).

Play concepts that emerge as toddlers in the
preschool years
  • Pretending and abstracting
  • Imitation
  • Synchronicity of body movement/body presence.
  • Making guesses about other people in play.
  • Sharing an imagination
  • Listening to and expressing related ideas.
  • Cooperating and Negotiating through actions and

Language also becomes more sophisticated
  • In the later preschool and early elementary
    school years, students are abstracting language,
    beginning to intuitively realize the difference
    between literal and figurative.
  • The proof is in Amelia Bedelia

In the 4th year..
  • Children are engaged in group, cooperative,
    imaginative play.
  • These play skills are critical for the later
    development of conversation, reading
    comprehension, class relations, personal problem
    solving, etc

It is assumed that students enter elementary
school with this social software.
  • Providing them access to tasks requiring social
  • Playground experiences
  • Classroom cooperation and compliance
  • Working as part of a peer work group
  • Reading comprehension
  • Written expression
  • Asking for help

Given we expect the social software to be born
into us
  • We provide very little explicit teaching to
    assist with
  • Playground experiences
  • Classroom cooperation and compliance
  • Working as part of a peer work group
  • Reading comprehension
  • Written expression
  • Yet, these are the skills that become critical
    for advancing successfully into adulthood.

Implicit skills required to interpret literature
starting in preschool
  • Understanding the characters perspective
  • Motivations
  • Emotions
  • Perceived problems
  • Interpretation of language and prediction
  • Considering prior knowledge to help interpret the
    overall meaning and relevance in the text.
  • Determining what information is relevant versus
  • Using a shared imagination to actively engage
    in the text.

Implicit social concepts to be able to produce
written expression in elementary school and
  • Determining what the reader needs to know to
    comprehend consider the shared
    knowledge/experiences of the reader.
  • Conceptualizing the main idea.
  • Interpreting assignments by taking the teachers
  • Using indirect language..creating ideas rather
    than listing facts.
  • Applying conceptual knowledge while multitasking
    through the body to write.

Once in school we think our job is to teach the
children the standards of education (NCLB).
  • However, do we realize the infrastructure to the
    language arts standards is in social thinking?
  • Do teachers actually teach the standards?
  • Do the standards assist with the development of
    necessary skills for adult living?

Video of reading
Social Thinking is the Infrastructure to many
Educational standards
  • Teaching social thinking and related skills is
    not an extra bonus to education IT INCLUDES the
    ESSENTIAL elements of education both for
    academics and life skills.

Select Reading Standards
  • K.2.2 predictions with pictures and context.
  • 4.3.5 Define figurative language and identify its
    use in literary works.
  • 4.3.3 Use knowledge of situation, character
    traits/motivations to determine causes for
    characters actions.
  • 6.3.2 Analyze the effect of the qualities of the
    character on plot and resolution of conflict.
  • 9-10.3.4 Determine characters traits by seeing
    what they say about themselves in narrative,
    dialogue, etc..

Exploring Treatment Options
  • We need to explode the social code and help
    students to process and respond to social
    information they did not intuitively learn.
  • Teach social thinking and related social skills
    through developing peer understanding and
    relating information to the text.

Intervention for kids with poor social skills is
not quite so simple as teaching them better
social skills.
  • We need to help teach students to become more
    efficient social thinkers, before we can expect
    them to produce better social skills.
  • Example eye contact.
  • How delayed is Daniel? What core concepts is he

Elises video
  • We now teach students to think with their eyes.

Social Expectations in the classroom
  • Teachers teach with their eyes.
  • When a student blurts, respond by maintaining
    gaze with the person you are talking to, put you
    hand up to the blurter and say
  • I am looking at _______, I am talking to
    _______, I am not talking to you right now.

Teach how social is connected to thought!
  • Social algebra
  • All persons have thoughts about those who are in
    their shared space. The more desired social
    skills are those that keep people having more
    positive thoughts about us.
  • Greetings
  • My eye contact kind words your positive
  • Lack of greeting
  • NO eye contact no kind words person has
    thought you dont care or dont like them. .

Story of 8th grader with huge writing block
  • Also
  • Cant interpret literature
  • Doesnt understand he has emotions, he wrote
    about himself in the 3rd person.
  • Doesnt want to accept he has to adjust his
    behavior based on other peoples thoughts.
  • Brilliant in math and science.
  • Will not pass the HS exit exam.
  • Oh yeahand he is selectively mute.

Goal of Treatment
  • To explore socially abstract concepts about
    understanding other peoples minds in more
    concrete ways.
  • Apply social knowledge to academic tasks.

Teaching a trick
  • Reading of literature has a lot to do with
    understanding people have motives and may try and
    manipulate another persons mind.
  • Teaching tasks
  • For classically high functioning autistic
    kids..may need to teach what a trick is.
  • Daniels video thinking and tricking..

Higher Students can understand people trick but
still cannot perceive motive (so they still get
  • Define motive or people have plans in their
    mindsour job is to read peoples plans.
  • Use indirect language lessons to practice reading
    peoples plans
  • Hey, are you hungry?
  • Do you have any extra money? (said while in a
    coffee shop to an acquaintance).
  • I see Laura coming, do you want to leave now?
  • Relate these lessons into passage interpretation.

Teach awareness of prior knowledge and
  • Our ability to narrate our language is in large
    part due to our ability to figure out what people
    need to know, to express ourselves efficiently
    through language and writing.
  • We also have to figure out what we think we know
    about a character in a book in order to try and
    read their intentions and understand the course
    of their actions.

Teach awareness to know something does not
mean you have to have experienced it.
  • Have students act out situations they have never
    experienced e.g. girl in a boys locker room.
  • Read passages imagining what is known based on
    lifes knowledge if not experiences.

Teach about Sharing an Imagination
  • Differentiate this from a singular imagination.
  • Sharing an imagination is critical for
    imaginative play, conversations, reading
    comprehension and written expression.
  • Use Comic Strip Conversations (Gray) to

Imagination gives access to other peoples world
of thought
Shared Imagination
Singular Imagination
Exploring emotional understanding
  • Students cannot interpret and explore other
    peoples emotions, or those of characters, if
    they dont know they have them, themselves.
  • Work on identifying the existence of emotions and
    differentiating them. (Anger versus Nervous
    happy versus excited).
  • Students who cannot differentiate emotions make
    us think they feel one way when they actually
    feel another (We think they are angry when they
    are nervous).

Mental Health and Emotion issues
  • Large amount of studies now on co-morbid mental
    health issues with students with Asperger
    Syndrome/ ADHD.
  • Emotions connect social pragmatics (the SLP) to
    the mental health counselor. We cannot
    professionally avoid working on emotions because
    we think this relates to mental health.
  • All communication is intentional and all
    communication impacts emotions of self and

  • Social Behavior Mapping
  • Define the behavior (expected and unexpected)
  • Show how it is linked to perspective of others.
  • Show how it is linked to good and bad

Social Behavior Map
  • See Poster..

Step 1 Define Behaviors as belonging to a set of
behaviors.Peoples behaviors are perceived by
others according to how predictable they are.
  • Normal Expected
  • Weird Unexpected

Example Behaviors for Learning
  • Expected Behaviors
  • Sit in seat
  • Look at the teacher or the work on the desk
  • Think about what the teacher is saying or wanting
    you to do
  • Unexpected Behaviors
  • Falling out of seat
  • Looking around the class when the teacher is
  • Thinking about hobbies or recess when the teacher
    is talking

Step 2 Mapping PerspectiveAssume the child
does not perceive how he is affecting others
through his behavior.
  • Teach perspective of others as part of the plan!

Behaviors for LearningPerspective
  • With expected behaviors, people feel
  • happy
  • calm
  • pleased the class is working together
  • With unexpected behaviors, people feel
  • worried
  • annoyed
  • concerned the class is not working as a team

Step 3 Explore Consequences
  • Consequences in our environment are usually
    linked to how people FEEL about the behavior.

Behaviors For LearningConsequences
  • When I feel good about your behaviors, then
  • good job
  • you stay calm.
  • you get a reward.
  • When I dont feel good about your behaviors,
  • I have to bug you to get to work
  • you get anxious.
  • you might lose a privilege.

A reward system should be based on the childs
motivators (areas of interest) and administered
only after the behavioral chain is explained to
the student.
The Social Behavioral Map
  • Explains how people react to each other
  • Explains how consequences are linked to behavior
  • Does not eliminate the need for traditional
    reward-based behavior plans, but supports them
    with more information

Academic Programs that Benefit Our Students
  • Step up to Writing stepuptowriting.com
  • Framing Our Thoughts www.projectread.com
  • Empower Writing www.architectsforlearning.com
  • Story Grammar Marker www.storygrammarmarker.com

The following on books of interest to todays
Books on Normal Social Development
  • Martha Bronson (2000) Self-Regulation in Early
  • Gopnick, Meltzoff and Kuhl (1999) The Scientist
    in the Crib
  • Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff (2003) Einstein Never
    Used Flashcards
  • Marshall and Fox (2006) The Development of Social
  • Cris Tovani (2000) I Read It But I Dont Get It.
  • D. Goleman (2006) Social Intelligence

Select Therapeutic Social Thinking Strategy
  • Buron and Curtis (2004) The Incredible 5 Point
  • All books by Carol Gray www.thegraycenter.com
  • Michelle Winner 4 books including Think
    Social! (curriculum) and posters
  • Tony Attwood (2006) The Ultimate book on Asperger
  • The SCERTS Model (2006) www.scerts.com

Enjoy Teaching Social Thinking!Michelle G
Winner, SLP
  • 3550 Stevens Creek Blvd 200
  • San Jose, Ca 95117
  • (408) 557-8595
  • www.socialthinking.com
  • Conferences, Books and Treatment
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