You have choices. As a therapist, clinician, educator or parent you are—for the most part—free to select the materials and curricula you use in your everyday practice or home. As a conscientious service provider or parent, you take the time to select tools that “fit” the needs of the individual. But selecting tools is the easy part. Using those tools in the real world in the manner they were designed is the big challenge. Why? Because the demands of the real world don’t always allow for the precision teaching found in research labs. Instead we find ourselves modifying programs, slicing and dicing curricula, omitting steps, or not reading the guidelines because of time constraints or caseload demands. This approach leads to statements like, “She couldn’t understand the tasks” and “I tried it and it didn’t work for him.”
We would like to propose another way to approaching not only our work related to teaching social thinking concepts, but to all social cognitive/skills methodologies and approaches. It involves juggling the demands of your client load with implementing the materials in a better way. For years, we’ve attempted to help people understand how to use our materials through free articles on the Social Thinking website, our trainings, and our conferences. However, even these dedicated efforts fall short of really getting to the heart of teaching our materials with fidelity.
If you are familiar with our work, then you know we love acronyms. Why not? They function to kick-start our brains to think and remember important information. So, the acronym QuAD is a way for all of us to start thinking more deeply about fidelity. QuAD stands for the following three key areas of fidelity. For a quick tutorial on these three areas and how they relate to the key elements of each book, check out the video below.
Quality (How well you do it)
Accuracy (What you do)
Dosage (How much - how long)
Watch Pamela Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP, and author of this article, describe what should be
considered to teach the Social Thinking Methodology with fidelity.
Of course, for you to use our materials with fidelity, you need the guidelines in an easy-to-use single page format. We’ve been a little slow in getting these fidelity (implementation) checklists to you, but we are systematically adding one to the inside front cover of all our curriculum books. Currently, we have checklists for We Thinkers! (Vol. 1 and 2) curriculum books, We Thinkers! Vol. 2 Group Collaborative Play and Problem Solving Scale (GPS), You Are a Social Detective, and the Superflex curriculum. If you already own these products, you can download the fidelity checklists at the top of their respective webpages. We will be adding checklists for the Zones of Regulation, Superflex Takes on Braineater and the Team of Unthinkables, and Social Behavior Mapping in 2017. Each fidelity checklist is meant to help you understand the way we intended these materials to be used and all were developed in a “real world” setting. In other words, you should be able to adhere to these guidelines in your own real world.
Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the delicate balance between teaching with fidelity (how we want you to use the materials/tools) and the needs of the actual child or client with whom you are working. Our hope is that we’ve developed these checklists in a common-sense manner that will allow you to consider both. So, as Social Thinking focuses on fidelity in 2017, we are asking you to join us and Think QuAD.
P.S. We absolutely welcome feedback on all fidelity checklists. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.