My guest on this episode of the TiLT Parenting Podcast is speech language pathologist and specialist working with kids who have social learning challenges, Michelle Garcia Winner. Michelle is the founder and CEO of Social Thinking®, a company dedicated to helping people develop their social competencies to meet their personal social goals. She coined the term “Social Thinking” in the mid-1990s and since that time has created numerous unique treatment frameworks and curricula that help educators, clinicians, and professionals.
I first heard of Michelle when a therapist we were working with suggested using her Super Flex curriculum. At the time, we were dealing with a highly inflexible five year old and was excited to try anything that might loosen things around Asher’s concrete, all-or-nothing thinking. Since then, I’ve used many of Michelle’s resources to work on social thinking skills with Asher, and so was thrilled to have the chance talk to the woman behind it all. In our conversation, we talk about the concept of social thinking—what it is and why it matters for our kids, how it can be taught and learned, how we as parents can nurture social thinking in our kids, and much more.
About Michelle: Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP specializes in the treatment of individuals with social learning challenges and is the founder and CEO of Social Thinking®, a company dedicated to helping individuals from four through adulthood develop their social competencies to meet their personal social goals. Michelle maintains a private practice, The Center for Social Thinking, in Santa Clara, California, where she works with clients who continue to teach and inspire her. She travels globally presenting courses on the Social Thinking Methodology, an evidence-based approach she created that she continues to evolve and expand on. Michelle helps to develop educational programs, consults with and trains families and schools, and is a guiding presence with a wide range of professionals, politicians, and businesses on the topic of social emotional competencies. She is a prolific writer and has written and/or co-authored more than 40 books and over 100 articles about the Social Thinking Methodology.
THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
- Michelle’s story for getting into the work of supporting kids and becoming a speech language pathologist
- What “social thinking” is, including an explanation of the different types of social thinking (gifted, learned social information, social cognition, etc.)
- What “theory of mind,” perspective taking,” and social cognition are in a social thinking context
- Why it’s so important that kids learn social thinking
- About the relationship between social thinking and emotional regulation
- Whether or not social skills groups actually work
- What kinds of kids struggle most in developing their social thinking skills
- The difference between social learning problems and negative behavior
- Social Thinking (Michelle Garcia Winner’s website)
- Thinking About You Thinking About Me by Michelle Garcia Winner
- Why Teach Social Thinking? by Michelle Garcia Winner
- Social Thinking and Me: Kids’ guidebook and related lesson plan
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