Social Thinking Conference

Day 1 June 12th 2024

Implementing Social Thinking Concepts and Vocabulary: A Day to Develop Team Creativity

Speaker: - Dr Pamela Crooke

  • Delve into teaching components of the Four Steps of Communication and strategies and activities related to thinking, physical presence, and how we use our eyes to gather social information (note: this is not about eye contact). Explore strategies and vocabulary for teaching about the social world.
  • Discover tools for teaching social self-regulation, emotional understanding, and using additional Social Thinking Vocabulary and lessons to support teaching.
  • Discussion about the language we use to relate to others. Explore how to teach social language to encourage conversation.
  • Overview of tools for teaching emotional understanding and perspective taking through focusing on situational awareness and the social emotional chain reaction.

In this newly updated course, you will learn 15+ practical teaching strategies using Social Thinking Vocabulary and visual frameworks. The activities focus on making abstract social information more concrete through lessons to teach all social learners, both neurodivergent and neurotypically developing, how to socially attend, interpret, problem solve, and respond to social information. Attendees will walk away with a handful of lessons and strategies. Activities will focus on strategies for teaching emotional understanding, theory of mind/perspective taking, and executive functioning to help learners meet their authentic self-determined social goals.

Using the 4 Steps of Communication and the Social Thinking–Social Competency Model as a backdrop, attendees will learn about the role of social attention, interpretation, problem solving, and social responses as part of navigating the social world. Attendees will learn how one’s social attention to what is happening and the people in the situation can encourage understanding of what to do or say (or not) for that social context. We also describe ways to teach interpreting and responding by making smart guesses and the relationship to social emotional learning.

We’ll also investigate ways to make teaching the components of conversational language more concrete by deconstructing the components, including how people share an imagination in the process. Attendees will take a deeper look at how thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions are linked to social situations, the people present, and what is happening through the newly updated decision-making framework, Social Situation Mapping, featuring neurodiversity affirming options.

Day 2 June 13th 2024

Practical Ideas for Teaching Self-Regulation & Building Friendships

Speaker: - Michelle Garcia Winner

When a student says or does something that seems out of sync with the group, many are quick to call this a “behaviour problem.” Likewise, when it’s hard to make a friend, or friendships dissolve into dislikes, we may see this as reluctance or resistance to building relationships. The reality is that both managing one’s own behaviour and building relationships are complex. They require a foundation of self-awareness, social interpretation, and problem solving. This course will focus on how to rethink what is meant by “behaviour problems” and teach lessons that encourage the development of social competencies to meet one’s own personal social goals. We will also unpack different aspects of peer-based relations, from friendship to dislike, and provide practical tools and perspective-taking activities to encourage student motivation to continue developing increasingly complex relational competencies as they age.

Specific concepts for the day include:

  • Discussing how social awareness and self-awareness are part of learning social competencies.
  • Exploring how social emotional memory plays a role in social self-regulation.
  • Exploring why some students might struggle to learn and/or be part of a group.
  • Exploring when co-regulation is an important part of the self-regulation process.
  • Rethinking the assumption that students will embrace the goals we generate.
  • Exploring how to tap into students’ social desires to generate self-determined goals.
  • Examining how assumptions may get in the way of helping students learn.
  • Exploring how the social mind is at work within the classroom experience.
  • Discussing the power of feelings, the amygdala, and managing feelings using visual supports