Research That Supports Social Thinking
Anyone who has heard Michelle speak or has read her materials knows she is not "politically correct." Michelle supports helping students learn concepts not readily incorporated into the school day or the inclusive environment of the mainstream classroom. She believes we have put the collective cart before the horse, in that we are all seeking "evidence" (data based research projects) to demonstrate efficacy in how to teach students better social skills. However, Michelle contends that as educators, counselors, psychologists, and diagnosticians, we have done little to ask questions related to "what are social skills and how do we best teach them to these smart kids?". Her book, A Politically Incorrect Look at Evidence Based Practices and Teaching Social Skills, addresses this topic in a review of the literature and discussion now available on the topic. It has been described by numerous leaders in the field as a book that attempts to "answer questions most of us have only just started to realize we should be asking" (Prizant, Myles, Gray, Dunn-Buron, Prelock).
However, there is an emerging body of evidence about the techniques developed by Michelle. Dr. Pamela Crooke led a treatment study with speech and language graduate students from the University of Arizona, to explore if teaching core social thinking concepts with students with High Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome resulted in a measurable behavior change in a generalized environment.
The research described the large multiple baseline single-subject design study of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The report examines effectiveness of teaching a social cognitive (Social Thinking) approach to six males with Asperger syndrome (AS) or High Functioning Autism (HFA). Data included are restricted to pre- post-treatment comparisons of verbal and non-verbal social behaviors. Structured treatment and semi-structured generalization sessions occurred over eight weeks. Results indicated significant changes from pre- to post- measures on both verbal/nonverbal “expected” and “unexpected” behaviors, significant increases in the subcategories of “expected verbal”, “listening/thinking with eyes”, and “initiations”, and robust decreases in the subcategories of “unexpected-verbal” and “unexpected-nonverbal”. Importance of social cognitive approaches for children AS and HFA is discussed.
Crooke, P.J., Hendrix, R.E., Rachman, J.Y., (2007) Brief Report: Measuring the Effectiveness of Teaching Social Thinking to Children with Asperger Syndrome (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Online publication: DOI 10.1007/s10803-007-0466-1
Furthermore, other graduate students across the United States and in Hong Kong are exploring research projects related to Michelle's work. See other's research results
- Developing Pragmatic Language Use in Adolescents with Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Using Bridging Comments and Questions
- The Double Interview Task: Assessing the Social Communication of Children with Asperger Syndrome (PDF Download)
- Double Interview Study with Older Kids (PDF Download)
Books discussing evidence based practices:
©2012 Social Thinking Publishing - Michelle Garcia Winner www.socialthinking.com