Social Thinking Evidence


Latest Peer Reviewed Research 

Efficacy Study of a Social Communication and Self-Regulation Intervention for School-Age Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial (2019)

Nowell, S. W., Watson, L. R., Boyd, B., & Klinger, L. G. (2019). Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 1-18.

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Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice

Development of the Supported Employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement and Social Skills (2017)

Baker-Ericzén, M.J., Fitch, M., Kinnear, M., Jenkins, M. M., Smith, L., Montano, G., Twamley, E., Crooke, P, Garcia Winner, M., Feder, J., & Leon, J. (2017) . Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice, pp-14.

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Word of Mouth Cover Page

Featured in Word of Mouth Journal: Social Thinking® in the Landscape of Evidence-Based Practices (2017)

Crooke, P. & Garcia Winner, M. (2017). Sage Journals: Word of Mouth, May, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 5-8

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Social Thinking Methodology: Evidence-Based or Empirically Supported? A Response to Leaf et al. (2016)

Crooke, P.J., & Winner, M. G. (2016). Behavior Analysis in Practice, December, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 403–408

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Thinking Socially: Teaching Social Knowledge to Foster Social Behavioral Change (2016)

Crooke, P.J., Olswang, L., & Winner, M. G. (2016). Topics in Language Disorders, July/September, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 284-298

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Description and Preliminary Evaluation of a Curriculum for Teaching Conversational Skills to Children With High-Functioning Autism and Other Social Cognition Challenges (2016)

Müller, E., Cannon, L.R., Kornblum, C., Clark, J., & Powers, M. (2016). Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July, Volume 47, pp 191-208

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Practice-Based Research: Another Pathway for Closing the Research-Practice Gap (2015)

Crooke, P.J., & Olswang, L. (2015). Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December, Volume 58, pp 1871-1882


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Evidence & Support for Social Thinking


Research to Frameworks to Practice

We all want to use interventions and practices based on the evidence, but how do we explain the many moving parts and evidence related to Social Thinking? In our article Research to Frameworks to Practice: Social Thinking's Layers of Evidence we walk you through how to make connections between research-based theory to Social Thinking’s treatment frameworks to our related strategies and activities. 
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Browse our Peer Reviewed studies along with Thesis, Dissertations, Studies and Other published articles.


  • Peer Reviewed
  • Thesis, Dissertations, Studies
  • Other Published Articles
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  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Executive Functioning
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Social Cognition
  • Social Skills
  • ASD
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Implementation Research Initiative

Practice-Based Research: Another Pathway for Closing the Research–Practice Gap.

Crooke, P. J., & Olswang, L. (2015). Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
This article examines the prevailing wisdom of moving evidence into practice as defined by the traditional research pipeline that has been viewed as the gold standard in health care. In comparison, evidence that comes from practice will be explored as an alternative research-based paradigm that complements the traditional approach. Research originating within the research and practice setting will be explored as a way to more effectively close the research-practice gap. Practice-Based Research (PBR) will be defined, including principles and methodological guidelines. To illustrate PBR, retrospective data from an existing, highly utilized methodology (Social Thinking) for teaching social knowledge and behaviors to individuals diagnosed with social learning challenges, including autism spectrum disorders (ASD), will be presented.

Implementation Science Initiative

Over the past two decades, the science related to developing and identifying efficacious treatments has improved; however, the science related to implementing these programs with fidelity and positive consumer outcomes has not kept pace. Nor has our science explored the myriad of questions that impact effective and efficient service delivery.  The gap between laboratory research and practice remains large, suggesting that a more proactive approach to bridging the gap is required. This means that both researchers and practitioners must actively work towards the implementation of knowledge into “real world” settings.  This requires that the researcher understand the needs of stakeholders and the systemic complexities of service settings. Implementation involves recognizing and executing a rigorous set of activities designed to put into everyday practice proven procedures or programs; this has been called the science of implementation and it is burgeoning across disciplines."  [Dr. Lesley Olswang, 2013 Implementation Science, ASHA].


In a nutshell, Implementation science (IS) is a way of looking at real world scenarios with front line implementers using strategies day-to-day.  What we like about (IS) is that it systematically considers the real life barriers that you all face when working in schools, homes, clinics, communities and workplaces while still valuing the evidence/research underlying the tools you use. As we've collected data over the past year, we've discovered some interesting findings. We wanted to know which evidence-based social thinking concepts were embraced by you (professionals and family members) and why. Our goal is to now refine how we share our information to encourage using the concepts in the manner we designed them (fidelity). This data will also guide future outcomes studies.


There have been quite a few articles on the issues of moving evidence based ideas from the university or hospital laboratory setting into the real world setting. One of the most powerful findings was that it could take up to 17 years to translate findings from the lab to the front lines! Why?  There is something referred to as a "research pipeline" that can become the clog.  We all understand the importance of clinical trials for life saving or life threatening drugs and it makes sense that this is a very time consuming process. This is a clog that is critical and important to many types of medical research. But in the social sciences, the slow-down is often found during the publication phase. It can take years to complete a study and then years to publish the results. And, publication in a peer-reviewed journal still doesn't mean that people will embrace the findings. It's not uncommon for really great research to be stuck in laboratory limbo because the study didn't include the "stakeholders" (you) in the research process.  


Social Thinking Practice-Based Research Community

If you are interested in joining our Practice Based Research Community and are willing to: a) collect data, b) analyze data, c) conduct a literature review, or d) help to write text related to the findings, please know that we are in the process of creating opportunities for all of the above. Please send an email to to let us know your expertise or willingness to help.

Practice Based Research

Educational personnel are routinely required to consider and use the best possible evidence to guide teaching, but what if the subjects and conditions in published EBP studies do not resemble subjects and conditions in real life?  With this in mind, our question became: How can we tap into professionals who are driven to connect and translate tools that have a strong evidence base into their current practices in a way that will be mutually beneficial for all stakeholders and reflect authentic settings?  Our answer was to employ the use of Implementation Science through a modification of the concepts of a Practice-based research networks (PBRN).


PBRN were originally developed and are most commonly used by medical professionals (primarily physicians) to link practitioners with one another (and often an academic hub) to study patients issues with scientific rigor, follow a common thread of research, and disseminate information and findings on a broad level (Green, et. al. 2006). PBRNs fall within the context of Implementation Science, which focuses on the actual procedures that encourage stakeholders to use and adopt evidence-based intervention practices in their environments. We decided that we to create our own research network by connecting those in our community worldwide who are interested in helping to collect data on the kernels of evidence that are found in social thinking concepts. We are are using the term Practice Based Research Community (PBRC) to refer to those of you who are interested in collecting (or have collected) data related to social thinking concepts. We ran a pilot study to determine if the model would work. 

PBRC and Levels of the Social Mind (Social Communication Profile)

We tested this idea by conducting small study to collect reliability data on the Social Thinking-Social Communication Profile.  Our pilot data in two clinic-based settings showed high levels of consistency in rankings with one another; however, we were interested in finding out whether or not professionals in schools and community settings would show similar levels of agreement AND find the tool to be useful/helpful in their own authentic environments. So, we asked a group of conference attendees to help and 93 volunteered to take the tool back to their settings. The results from their submissions showed very high levels of agreement (89-91%) between at least 2 of 3 raters. In addition, qualitative data and feedback from participants for usefulness in individual school or clinic settings were overwhelmingly positive, but suggestions for change were given and we made them. This, to us, was a powerful example of tapping into a feedback loop in our community.  Our hope is to offer future and frequent opportunities where individuals have access to our new concepts and tools, and then give feedback, critiques, and suggestions. We value the input and find it to be a very important way in which real-world professionals can participate in the research process.
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Links to Other Evidence


    SFARI’s mission is to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by funding innovative research of the highest quality and relevance. Launched in 2003, SFARI is a scientific initiative within the Simons Foundation's suite of programs and is its only program focusing on the science underlying a medical condition.
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    The International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) is a scientific and professional organization devoted to advancing knowledge about autism spectrum disorders. INSAR was formed in 2001 and is governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors who oversee all functions of the Society. Various committees assist the Board in carrying out the mission of the Society.
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  • ADHD and National Institutes of Mental Health

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood brain disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood.
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  • NIMH and Toddlers with Autism

    Toddlers with Autism Show Improved Social Skills Following Targeted Intervention, Finds NIH-Supported Study
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  • Brain and Behavior Foundation

    The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation began as a family movement in 1981 and has become the world’s leading private funder of mental health research. The first NARSAD Grants were awarded in 1987.
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  • Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

    The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders is the leading peer-reviewed, scholarly periodical focusing on all aspects of autism spectrum disorders and related developmental disabilities.
    see more
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