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Social Thinking Articles

Add-a-Thought: Teach an Essential Conversation Skill

Michelle Garcia Winner

Social Thinking Add-a-Thought

Michelle Garcia Winner, the Founder of Social Thinking, is shown in the documentary Life, Animated working with Owen Suskind, a young man with autism. We’re so excited that Life, Animated has been nominated for a 2017 Academy Award® in the category of Best Documentary Feature! In light of the great news (and the fact that the Oscars are this month), we’ve decided to teach the activity that Michelle does with Owen in the movie.

Add-a-Thought is a strategy to practice conversational language by making comments about our own lives that connect to other participants’ life experiences and vice versa. This can be taught in a game type format; the goal is to keep each person’s communication connected to what someone else shared, which leads to the growth of the Conversation Tree. Strong Add-a-Thought comments require that players incorporate a host of related skills such as perspective taking, sharing an imagination, conversational timing, the amount of information shared at one time, etc. Learn how Michelle uses the game with her clients; including with Owen while Life, Animated was being filmed.


Curious about how Michelle Garcia Winner became involved with the documentary Life, Animated? Click here to find out, and read about Michelle's reflection of the movie and her experience being a part of it.


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