Seminars in Speech and Language

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Social Thinking Metacognitive Strategies to Support Self-Determined Social Goals in Autistic Youth

Pamela J. Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP and Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP
July 2022

As we start a new school year it is important to remember that academics are rooted in social competencies. Students are expected to attend to, interpret, problem solve, and respond to social information throughout the academic day as they work in peer-based study groups, attend school events, express opinions, write essays considering others' perspectives, and interpret intentions of characters in literature.

We are honored to be featured in the August 2022 issue of Seminars in Speech and Language , with a new peer-reviewed article by Dr. Pamela Crooke and Michelle Garcia Winner. The article highlights how social and emotional learning is embedded in many academic standards and how speech-language pathologists can use the Social Thinking–Social Competency Model to better understand the unique strengths and needs of individual social learners and describe the relationship to academics. It's packed with practical teaching strategies through the lens of sequential lessons, as well as visual tools and step-by-step directions for teaching.

On any given day, the social mind is taxed with attending to and making sense of a myriad of social events. The social mind is at work when trying to imagine the experiences of others and their inner mental worlds, and is equally active when people seek to approach, connect with, and sometimes avoid one another. Ultimately, the social mind is responsible for thinking about (social) thinking, or social metacognition. Social metacognitive teaching strategies can be helpful for supporting social learners as they observe social landscapes, interpret what is observed to problem solve, or decide whether and how to produce social responses. This article describes how social metacognitive strategies from the Social Thinking Methodology have been used to support the self-determined social goals of two autistic students. Visual frameworks and their underlying theories are provided as evidence-aligned tools for supporting clinical journeys.

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