What is Social Thinking? Social thinking is an intuitive process that allows us to consider points of view, emotions, and intentions or others. In neurotypical people, social thinking is hard-wired neurologically at birth and learned intuitively from infancy. For those with ASD and related social learning challenges, we have to cognitively teach them how to think socially.
Simply Put…. Social thinking is what we do when we interact with people: we think about them. And how we think about people affects how we behave, which in turn affects how others respond to us, which in turn affects our own emotions.
What does it mean to have good social skills? The Big 3 Social Skills • Having good social skills means adapting our behaviors to do what is socially expected based on the situation. • Good social skills are not dependent on being involved in a social interaction. It simply means you behave in a way that is expected for the situation you are in.
ILAUGH Model Michelle Garcia Winner developed the ILAUGH framework of social cognition to explain the multiple skills needed in order to succeed at social interaction and personal problem solving.
ILAUGH Framework I = Initiation of Communication L = Listening with Eyes and Brain A = Abstract and Inferential Language/Communication U = Understanding Perspective G = Gestalt Processing/ Getting the Big Picture H = Humor and Human Relatedness
Initiation of Communication Ability to use one’s language skills to establish social relations and seek assistance and information from others
Encouraging Students to Ask for Help • Asking for help is the first step in learning to advocate for oneself. • It can also help build working relationships and meaningful relationships with others. • Thoughts on Encouraging Asking for Help
Knowing If I Need Help You don’t need help when: You don’t have a problem You know the solution, can solve it yourself, you tried it and it worked You do need help when: You have a problem but don’t know the solution You know the solution but can’t solve it yourself You know the solution and tried it, but it didn’t work
Being Able to Get Help You can get help when: You know who can help, and are able to get their help You need to find your back-up person when: You don’t know who can help and/or you’re not able to get their help
Listening with Eyes and Brain Whole Body Listening Requires mastery of joint attention Requires full attention to verbal and nonverbal cues Keeping Your Brain in the Group
What does Whole Body Listening Look Like? Listening with the eyes (Look at the speaker) Listening with the mouth (Closed and quiet) Listening with the body (Facing the Speaker) Listening with the hands (quietly at the side of the body or in the lap) Listening with the feet (standing still or quietly on the floor) Listening with the brain (thinking about what the speaker is saying) Listening with the heart (caring about what the speaker is saying) By Kristen Wilson and Elizabeth Sautter
Abstract and Inferential Language/Communication Requires recognition that two codes of language exist: literal and figurative
Understanding PerspectiveThe Four Steps Ability to consider your own and others: • Thoughts • Emotions • Physically coded intentions • Language based intentions • Prior knowledge • Belief systems • Personality
Facilitating Friendships • Begin with explicit instruction • Use social scripts, cue cards, and video models • Set up contrived practice with another student (preferably a typical peer) • Encourage play in unstructured times • Structured recess • Reward students for attempts
Building Relationships https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=j53zt6MsocQ
Gestalt Processing Information is conveyed through concepts, not just facts
Ways to help when your student is “stuck” • “Sticky” thinking – this is when your student with autism gets stuck on a topic, a question, an activity • Pause card • Schedules and visual structures • Do not engage in power struggles or argue with them
Humor and Human Relatedness Most individuals with ASD have good senses of humor, but have anxiety about missing subtle cues. Students need to be taught how to relate and respond to other people’s emotions as well as their own.