Social Thinking workshops

with Michelle Garcia Winner
designed for parents and professionals

Michelle Garcia WinnerMichelle Garcia Winner is a US Congressional-award winning speech-language pathologist who specializes in treating students who are experiencing social and communication challenges. The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders published research supporting her Social Thinking approach for high-functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome

and her methods have assisted students with other diagnoses, such as ADHD, and those who have no diagnosis. She runs a clinic, has authored numerous books on Social Thinking and speaks internationally. She serves on the panel of professional advisers of the Autism Society of America. Michelle’s goal is to help educators and parents appreciate how crucial developing Social Thinking and related social skills is to a student’s success and growth throughout life.

Workshop 1 – March 19, 2010
Implementing Social Thinking Concepts & Vocabulary Into Our School & Home

Course Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe how teaching social thinking and related skills can be done in the classroom during academic and social tasks.
  2. Participants will be able to define 5 different social thinking vocabulary concepts.
  3. Participants will be able to describe how social thinking vocabulary concepts facilitate generalization across settings.
  4. Participants will create a lesson plan to teach students they are part of a group.
  5. Participants will create a lesson plan to teach students how to be more aware of non-verbal communication or verbal communicative information.

Course Outline:

This workshop allows parents and educators to learn more about teaching social thinking and related skills to students. We will explore how social thinking concepts develop the infrastructure for students to meet the educational standards and how key these concepts are to reading comprehension, written expression, etc.
We will define many social thinking concepts and how to apply the “social thinking vocabulary” across the school and home day. Conference participants will work in teams to develop new creative social thinking lessons to fit their teaching environment. The focus of the day will be on making the teaching achievable across a variety of environments, with the focus on helping students to carry the concepts out of the treatment room and into their real lives. Furthermore, we will explore how to work as part of an educational team. How do we share the workload when helping these kids?

Workshop 2 – March 20, 2010
Informal Dynamic Social Thinking Assessment and Core Treatment Strategies for Home and School

Course Objectives/Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe how to assess “thinking with your eyes” and how this is different from telling what someone is looking at.
  2. Describe the core components of the “Double Interview” and explain how that helps to assess perspective taking.
  3. Describe how to fill out each of the 4 columns on Social Behavior Maps.
  4. Describe the four steps of communication as a primary component to treatment for social skill deficits. 5. Define at least 3 different stages of making friends and how to teach students to advance from one stage to the next.
  5. Discuss how to teach non-verbal aspects of maintaining a friend used when peers “hang out”.

Course Outline:

This workshop is designed for parents and professionals to gain more specific knowledge about their students by using the Dynamic Informal Social Thinking Assessment, as described in Michelle’s book, Thinking About YOU Thinking About ME, 2nd Edition. Video clips of the informal assessment will demonstrate how all of us (diagnosticians, parents, paraprofessionals, treatment clinicians, etc.) can learn more about the inner minds of the individuals we are working with and why they need specific treatment strategies. This is very practical information. In the afternoon, participants will learn about Social Behavior Mapping to help explain how doing what is “expected” or “unexpected” in specific social situations impacts how those around us feel about our behaviors and how that also impacts how they treat us, which ultimately impacts how we feel about ourselves. This technique is now widely embraced as a core Social Thinking concept used for all students.

We will also discuss basic concepts for running Social Thinking groups and explore specific teaching strategies that help to make the abstractions of the social world more concrete! We will explore how we make friends, distinguishing between “being friendly”, developing a friendship and having a “bonded friend”. Furthermore, we will discuss how conversational skills are only one component to keeping friends; “hanging out” actually means we share space without necessarily talking! Parents and professionals give high praise for the practical nature of this workshop.


The University of Nottingham
Teaching Centre Level 2,
Chulan Tower No 3
Jalan Conlay 50450
Kuala Lumpur

For more information visit Michelle Garcia Winner’s website.