Zooming In: Strategies for Concrete Learners

Using video from treatment sessions, we zoom in on strategies to promote social attention and perspective taking (theory of mind) with students, clients, and patients who interpret language very literally and struggle to interpret what others think and feel. These more literal-minded individuals—who may have a diagnosis of autism levels 1 and 2, ADHD, and/or sensory integration challenges—are slow to develop social competencies and exhibit a range of other learning challenges related to their weak socially-based critical thinking. Video-based case studies will offer treatment ideas and show how this type of student evolves in their understanding of the social world as they grow up. Attendees will receive checklists to help differentiate types of social learners and connect social learning to the educational standards. Group treatment ideas for different age groups will also be introduced. Attendees appreciate the practical information shared across the day!


Who should attend

Interventionists supporting ages 5 - young adult. At our conferences we share our latest frameworks, lessons, and strategies for teaching social thinking with a wide variety of interventionists, including: speech-language pathologists, special and general education teachers, social workers, counselors, clinical and school psychologists, occupational therapists, behavior specialists, and school administrators to name a few. It’s also used by family members and caregivers across settings.
Social Thinking

Course Overview

  • Description
  • What You Will Learn
  • Schedule
  • CE Credit

This course focuses on developing rule-based social learning activities that connect to educational standards and support the student, client, or patient with significant social attention and social interpretation challenges. We will concentrate specifically on individuals who are described as Challenged Social Communicators (CSC) or Emerging Social Communicators (ESC) on our Social Thinking–Social Communication Profile. These students are more literal, more aloof, miss sarcasm, are less organized, show marked difficulty reading social contextual cues from people and situations, comprehending reading material, and expressing themselves through writing, and they appear more awkward in their attempts to socially engage with their peers. (See this article for more common characteristics of people described as described as Challenged Social Communicators or Emerging Social Communicators.) The day will explore the power of social attention using video clips to provide explicit and practical examples for teaching basic social concepts to encourage the development of theory of mind (perspective taking), sharing social attention, and awareness of trickery.

Video case studies will explore the social learning trajectory of academically bright students who are more literal interpreters. Throughout the day we will explore the assumptions made about social attention and learning in a group, how test scores remove socially based critical thinking and executive functioning making it more difficult to truly understand a student’s real time learning abilities, and how aloof students enjoy social relationship building.

Attendees will receive checklists featuring characteristics associated with different types of social learners, information inspired by the Social Thinking–Social Communication Profile.

Examine how social learning is embedded within many academic standards and how the roots of social learning fan out across a large variety of information explored across a school day (e.g., reading comprehension, narrative language, peer engagement and group work, etc.). The use of rubrics to help with measurement of treatment* goals will be introduced.

Activities for different age groups will also be explored to promote social learning in the group treatment setting. Across the day we explain how this learning is slow and deep, with the goal being to help each student improve when compared to their own baseline abilities. Attendees appreciate the honest and very practical information shared on this day.

*Treatment refers to using conceptual and strategy-based frameworks to help individuals improve their social competencies.

Upcoming Livestream Conferences

This course is being offered on May 13, 2020.

  1. Describe two or more core characteristics of Challenged and/or Emerging Social Communicators and explain the impact on social and academic learning.
  2. Explain the connection between academic standards, social learning, and the challenges of literal learners using the Social Thinking Social Learning Tree.
  3. Describe the importance of using rubrics as a tool to measure outcomes for social learners who are more literal.
  4. Describe at least two practical lessons to teach: "I know I have my own thoughts/feelings" or "I know others can have thoughts/feelings different from mine."

Upcoming Livestream Conferences

This course is being offered on May 13, 2020.

This agenda may change without notice.

7:30-8:30 Use social competencies to problem solve how to sign in, find a seat, and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while getting to know fellow attendees.
8:30-10:15 Explore the impact of social attention and social interpretation through the lens of a longitudinal case study. Review the Social Thinking - Social Communication Profile to zoom into strengths and challenges of more concrete and emerging social communicators.
10:15-10:30 Break
10:30-12:00 Explore characteristics of Challenged Social Communicators and treatment strategies to foster basic theory of mind development for academic learning and narrative language. Discuss realistic expectations for learning. Discuss three critical levels of perspective taking and how “science thinking” is different from “social thinking.”
12:00-12:50 Lunch provided
12:50-2:15 Use a hands-on observation tool to explore the characteristics of different types of social learners. Explore the Social Thinking: Social Learning Tree. Discuss academic standards-based expectations and the connection to developmental social learning abilities.
2:15-2:25 Break
Explore the learning strengths and challenges of Emerging Social Communicators. Introduce group social learning activities for students of different ages.

Upcoming Livestream Conferences

This course is being offered on May 13, 2020.

At this conference, earn continuing education units/credits/clock hours at no additional cost! Each course offers 6 hours of instruction and each attendee will be given a certificate of attendance and a course agenda for their records.


We are proud to be a continuing education provider for Speech-Language Pathologists, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Clinical and School Psychologists, and Certified Counselors, such as Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors, and others.


We offer continuing education units/credits/clock hours through:

  • ASHA: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • CES: Commonwealth Educational Seminars
  • NBCC: National Board for Certified Counselors
  • And more!


Click here to see more Continuing Education Information

Upcoming Livestream Conferences

This course is being offered on May 13, 2020.

Reserve Your Seat Today

Columbus, OH Livestream

Moving online for healthy learning

May 12 - 14, 2020

Speakers: Michelle Garcia Winner, Pamela Crooke, Ryan Hendrix


At our Columbus, OH Livestream conference you will learn about:

  • Social Detective, Superflex®, and Friends Take On Social-Emotional Learning
  • ZOOMING IN: Strategies for Concrete Learners
  • ZOOMING IN: Strategies for Individuals with Subtle but Significant Social Problems


Register Now

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