Social thinking is a type of group or individual instruction designed improve social cognition, such as perspective taking. It emphasizes teaching children with autism the foundation of social knowledge to develop successful social behaviors.
Successful social interaction requires effective social cognition. Social cognition refers to the ability to attribute mental states (i.e., desires, beliefs, thoughts, imagination, and emotions) to oneself and to others (Baron-Cohen, 1989). Baron-Cohen (1989) reported that students on the autism spectrum have difficulties predicting others’ behavior, reading intentions, making sense of emotions, or understanding others’ perspectives. He referred to these challenges as “the mind blindness” (Baron-Cohen, 2005). Social cognition is directly related to social performance.
A social thinking curriculum emphasizes coaching students with ASD on appropriate social thinking skills to facilitate social knowledge and reciprocal social interaction. The purpose of social thinking is to describe and explain social concepts and situations in order to make them concrete and understandable. This includes explaining what others might be thinking and making connections between social knowledge and the use of social skills (Crooke, Hendrix, & Rachman, 2008). Visual supports, social narratives, and video models are often used to enhance understanding of social situations.
|3-16||Social, communication, behavior, social-cognitive, interpersonal, emotional regulation, adaptive||Home, school, community|
Outcomes: Evidence-based Emerging No evidence Comprehensive
Step 1. Identifying the Intervention Goals
A. Refer to learner’s IEP/IFSP to identify potential intervention targets.
B. Discuss goals with team members, including family and learner.
C. Select a social behavior that will result in positive social interactions, a safer environment, and/or additional social learning opportunities.
Step 2. Defining the Target Behavior or Skill
A. Clearly define the target behavior or skill so that it is observable and measurable.
Step 3. Collecting Baseline Data
A. Determine the type of data needed to assess the target skill.
B. Collect data on at least three occasions over three to five days to determine the learner’s skills prior to intervention.
Step 4. Implementing the Intervention
A. Determine the instructional techniques to be used in the social thinking intervention. Techniques could include (but are not limited to) modeling, role-playing, social stories, and video modeling.
Step 5. Monitoring Learner Progress
A. Collect data to measure the effectiveness of the intervention on the target behaviors or skills for a minimum of two weeks.
B. Ask others who work or live with the learner to collect data on the target behaviors across settings.
Step 6. Reviewing Data and Modifying the Plan if Necessary
A. Depending on intervention findings, continue or adapt the target behaviors or instructional techniques.
B. When procedures are altered, change only one variable at a time.
C. Collect and review data following each adaptation or change.
Step 7. Addressing Generalization and Maintenance of Learned Behavior or Skill
A. Promote generalization of the target skill by including self-/peer awareness using multiple peers and/or adults.