Course Descriptions

Day B - Information and Agenda

The Social Thinking Informal Dynamic Assessment and Core Treatment Strategies

Course Outline, Objectives, Speakers, Agenda, Contact Info

Course Outline

This conference is designed to help parents and professionals better understand the inner minds of individuals with social learning challenges. We introduce the Informal Dynamic Social Thinking Assessment, a tool described in Michelle's book, Thinking About YOU Thinking About ME, 2nd Edition. IDST assessments are not only useful as part of the initial or three-year testing process. Instead, this type of assessment can be done on an ongoing basis to gauge students' abilities and needs across time.

The IDST is invaluable in learning more about the way our children/students think, and how their social thinking deficits affect them. This, in turn, illuminates why they need direct teaching of social concepts and arms us with relevant knowledge to determine specific treatment strategies that are best aligned with their needs. Video clips of the informal assessment will demonstrate ways in which all of us (diagnosticians, parents, paraprofessionals, treatment clinicians, etc.) can work more effectively with this population. This is a day filled with very practical information!

In the afternoon, participants will learn about Social Behavior Mapping. SBM is a visual teaching strategy which demonstrates how doing what is "expected" or "unexpected" in specific social situations impacts how those around us feel about our behaviors and how that, in turn, impacts how they treat us, and ultimately how we feel about ourselves. This technique is now widely embraced as a core Social Thinking concept used for all students.

Rounding out the day, basic concepts and ideas will be presented for running Social Thinking groups as well as specific teaching strategies that help make the abstractions of the social world more concrete! We will delve into how we make friends, distinguishing between 1) "being friendly," 2) developing a friendship, and 3) having a "bonded friend." We will discuss how conversational skills are only one component to keeping friends; "hanging out" actually means we share space without necessarily talking! Parents and professionals give high praise for the practical nature of this workshop.

Intended audiences: teachers; speech-language pathologists; therapists (MFTs; LCSWs; OTs; PTs); autism specialists; clinical, educational, developmental psychologists; clinical and educational administrators; physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, particularly those in developmental practice; social workers; paraprofessionals; parents and other family members and caregivers of students with social thinking challenges.

Populations to be discussed: School-age students  and adults who have social and communication difficulties, including but not limited to those related to high-functioning autism, PDD-NOS, Asperger Syndrome, NLD, ADHD and undiagnosed challenges. Information presented concentrates on students with near normal to far above normal verbal intelligence (verbal IQs above 70). Most strategies focus on school-age children and adults, although the information is helpful for those living and working with younger children.

Please scroll to the bottom of this page for the agenda.

Objectives for Day B:

  1. Participants will be able to describe how to assess "thinking with your eyes" and how this is different from identifying what some one is looking at.
  2. Participants will be able to describe the core components of the "Double Interview" and explain how it helps assess perspective taking.
  3. Participants will be able to describe how to fill out each of the four columns on Social Behavior Maps.
  4. Participants will be able to describe the Four Steps of Communication as a primary component to assessing and treating social skill deficits.
  5. Participants will be able to define at least three different stages of making friends and how to teach students to advance from one stage to the next.
  6. Participants will discuss how to teach nonverbal ways of maintaining a friendship when peers "hang out.

STTSC Members Available to Present on Day B

Michelle Garcia Winner
Pamela Crooke
Kari Palmer 



Register and use appropriate social skills to chat and find a seat! The conference begins at 8:30

Discuss what it means to learn in a group; introduce Social Behavior Maps; develop and discuss critical elements of running Social Thinking groups


Explore cutting edge treatment ideas such as being a social detective, Superflex, friendship peer-a-mid; explore the difference between "conversing" and "hanging out"

12:00 to 12:50
Break for Lunch

Review standardized assessment profiles of our students; explore why formalized tests struggle to capture our students' challenges; video examples of Informal Dynamic Social Thinking Assessments and related discussion


2:10-3:30 and beyond
Additional video assessment tasks; discuss writing the assessment report: what information and who to include

If you have questions, please contact:

Social Thinking
3031 Tisch Way, Suite 800
San Jose, CA 95128

Phone: (408) 557-8595 ext. 302 Fax (408) 557-8594
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.