This week’s focus is Social Thinking at High Grange School

Social thinking is what individuals do when interacting with other people: namely, they think about them. Most people take social thinking for granted, as it is generally an intuitive process that considers the points of view, emotions, and intentions of others.

Four steps to being a social thinker:
1. Think about people and what they think and feel
2. Be aware of your physical presence as well as the physical presence of others
3. Use your eyes to think about others and what they are thinking about
4. Use your language to relate to others

What is a good social thinker?
• Unwritten social rules being addressed
• Responses to others being appropriate
• Guess thoughts of others
• Expected/unexpected behaviour and appropriate reactions
• Different environments observed

Thinking socially uses the terms
Unexpected behaviour = uncomfortable thoughts and uncomfortable thoughts
Expected behaviour = comfortable thoughts and comfortable thoughts

Why social thinking can be challenging for our students

Theory of mind

“typically we can anticipate other people’s good thoughts and good feelings because we have theory of mind”

Gestalt theory in autism

‘the whole is more than the sum of parts’
‘our students can only focus on small parts’
‘our students struggle to process the relationships and implications of contextual understanding’

Executive functioning/processing

‘In order to be a social thinker you need all these skills in place’
‘Our students may struggle with any combination of the brain’s executive functions’

Verbal strategies to use

– Narrate your own thoughts
– Highlight nonverbal cues others give to signpost their emotions
– Be more positive than negative
– Smart guess others feelings and intentions

Thinking social behaviour rating scale

1. Behaviours that make others have good thoughts
2. Behaviours that are fine or ok
3. Behaviours that make others have weird thoughts
4. Behaviours that make others annoyed
5. Behaviours that are against the rules

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