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Strategies to Teach Social Emotional Learning

With the Social Thinking Methodology, you gain practical, evidence-based information and strategies to help individuals age 4 and up develop self-regulation, social-emotional learning, executive functioning, perspective taking, and social problem solving. Over time, our methodology can help people cultivate relationships and improve performance at school and at work.


We have a lot of resources and it can be tough to know where to begin! Let us help you get started. Review common questions about using our products with social learners of different ages and see what interventionists should read to better teach the methodology. Enjoy your learning journey!

Recommended Products to Get Started

  • Interventionists
  • Ages 4-7
  • Ages 8-10
  • Ages 11-13
  • Ages 14-18
  • Adults
1.

Where do I start using your materials if I am a parent or professional?

Where do I start using your materials if I am a parent or professional?

We have lumped these two questions together because all of our products can be used by any interested adult caregiver, family member or by a range of professionals. This is a difficult question to answer all by itself in any simple way. Much of our treatment information relates to the developmental age and the “level of the social mind” of a child or student. Please see the next set of questions to get you started thinking about our core information. You will find other questions that target working with students in specific age groups.

2.

I have a limited budget, what one book would you recommend?

I have a limited budget and want to learn about Social Thinking in general. What one book would you recommend?

It depends on the type of information you are seeking. Here are some suggestions:

  • Thinking About YOU Thinking About ME, 2nd edition (Winner,  2007) is terrific for a general introduction to Social Thinking. It explains how to get started with creating ideas for treatment planning and meaningful ways to assess a student’s social competencies.
  • If you are attending an IEP meeting, advocating for more sophisticated social emotional learning treatment interventions, teaching a university course, are an administrator or just trying to understand how teaching Social Thinking is different from teaching basic social skills, the best book to read is Why Teach Social Thinking? Questioning Our Assumptions About What It Means to Learn Social Skills (Winner,  2013). You will find this book provides a wealth of information as well as demonstrates how Social Thinking’s treatments are tied to the research.
  • If you are a mainstream teacher or program administrator devoted to better understanding the social learning challenges of our students throughout the school day, the best book to read is Inside Out: What Makes a Person with Social Cognitive Deficits Tick? (Winner,  2000). This book outlines the ILAUGH Model of Social Thinking, describes the social-academic connection, and provides many strategies along with some worksheets that teach you how to break down social learning concepts.
3.

What can you recommend to help children of different ages learn about emotion control?

I work with children of different ages who get frustrated easily and don't seem to be able to calm down quickly. What can you recommend to help them learn about control?

The Zones of Regulation® (Kuypers, 2011) can be helpful for parents and professionals working and living with children across the ages. It helps children learn to recognize and organize their emotions by associating them with four different colored “zones.” The curriculum also teaches sensory and social cognitive strategies to help students learn how to help themselves better regulate their emotions within one zone or another.
4.

Learning Through Games

My students really enjoy learning through games. Has Social Thinking published a game?

Dominique Baudry is a special education teacher with a strong interest in helping students with social learning challenges learn more about the social world. She created the game Should I or Shouldn’t I: What Would Others Think? to encourage Social Thinking and social problem solving. This is a perspective-taking card game, where students discuss and vote, on a scale from 1-5, the appropriateness of a specific behavior in a specific situation. The students who vote in agreement with each other win a point, helping to teach the idea that we all have a collective opinion about how we feel about what people do or say. The game was first designed for middle and high school students; it was so well received we released an elementary school edition.

Core Products

Professionals and parents around the world are using our expansive collection of curricula, books, games, and posters to teach social competencies to ages 4 and up.
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1.

Learning to Work and Play in Groups

I work with preschool age students who have a lot of language but don’t seem to work or play well in groups. Where do I start?

Our Social Thinking treatment materials are developed for students as young as four who have solid to strong language and academic learning abilities. Begin with our We Thinkers! Series, designed for use with all students ages 4-7, and is especially helpful for those with social learning challenges. Start with We Thinkers! Volume 1 Social Explorers (Hendrix, Palmer, Tarshis & Winner, 2013) and move on to We Thinkers! Volume 2 Social Problem Solvers (Palmer, Tarshis, Hendrix & Winner, 2016). Parents can choose to use the storybooks set at home, without the curriculum used by teachers in the classroom. 

 

Two other books that can be used in conjunction with We Thinkers. They compliment and expand upon aspects of these core lessons: 

  • We Can Make It Better Stories (Delsandro, 2010).  This book does a terrific job teaching in detail how our actions and words can affect another person’s thoughts and feelings. It explores how we treat each other based on how we think and feel. Children are encouraged to problem solve how to change their responses to alter how they make others think and feel.
  • Whole Body Listening Larry at School (Sautter & Wilson, 2011). This charming book written in rhyme helps teach all children how we listen with far more than our ears!
2.

Teaching Your Child at Home Using our Social Thinking Materials

My child is in preschool and he is highly verbal but doesn’t play well with others. As a parent, where do I start?

If you are a home school teacher, please refer to question #1 above. If you are interested in directly teaching your child at home, we have designed our materials for parents and professionals to have access to the same information.


Other related materials you may find helpful for use at home with young learners (4-7 years old) include:


Whole Body Listening Larry at Home (Wilson & Sautter, 2011). Written in rhyme and in several different “away from school” settings, this charming book teaches children that we listen with far more than our ears everywhere we go!

 

Developed by parents, the following three simple yet adorable coloring books compliment a key Social Thinking concept we teach: think with your eyes!

Products for Ages 4-7

Professionals and parents around the world are using our expansive collection of curricula, books, games, and posters to teach social competencies to ages 4 and up.
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I work with ages 8-10, or have a child within that range. Where do I start?

Start with You Are A Social Detective! (Winner & Crooke, 2008). This book is great on two fronts. First, it  defines and helps teach our core Social Thinking Vocabulary. Second, it encourages all readers (children and adults) to recognize the importance of teaching social observational “detective” skills to help them advance their social learning and related social skills. Take your time teaching concepts from this book! Then expand upon these concepts by using our larger core curriculum: Think Social: A Social Thinking Curriculum for School-Age Students (Winner, 2005).  One of the core tenets of Social Thinking is teaching students to engage in social learning before teaching or expecting a student to learn improved self-control or self-regulation (i.e., better social behaviors).

 

Social Thinking and Me (Two-Book Set) introduces and reinforces core Social Thinking Vocabulary and concepts to individuals ages 9-13. The Kids' Guidebook introduces concepts and the companion Thinksheets book offers "mini lesson plans" to explore them more deeply. Designed for both parents and professionals to use with the child so that everyone is on the same page and the learning is carried over into all environments.

 

Superflex®… A SuperHero Social Thinking Curriculum (Madrigal & Winner, 2008) can be used alongside all the products listed above.  This comic book and curriculum package, with its kid-friendly characters and highly motivating set of strategies, has captured widespread attention in schools across the U.S. But it is NOT the place to start with our students, which is why we recommend starting with You Are A Social Detective. After your students have a solid working knowledge of core Social Thinking teachings, then move on to Superflex. The Superflex curriculum is designed to teach children more self-awareness and self-regulation around specific social emotional and sensory challenges they may experience. After working with the curriculum, there are many other Superflex-related products to try out. These include teaching comic books, games, and visual cueing cards that extend the teachings of Superflex.

 


 

Products for Ages 8-10

Professionals and parents around the world are using our expansive collection of curricula, books, games, and posters to teach social competencies to ages 4 and up.
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I work with ages 11-13, or have a child within that range. Where do I start?

Social Thinking and Me (Two-Book Set) introduces and reinforces core Social Thinking Vocabulary and concepts to individuals ages 9-13. The Kids' Guidebook introduces concepts and the companion Thinksheets book offers "mini lesson plans" to explore them more deeply. Designed for both parents and professionals to use with the child so that everyone is on the same page and the learning is carried over into all environments. Great for kids who have outgrown Superflex, or who are new to the Social Thinking Methodology.


Social Fortune and Social Fate (Crooke & Winner, 2011) is a graphic novel that teaches our students about social responsibility. Students learn how we interpret and respond to each others’ behaviors whether that ends up being good or bad! In this book we also help students understand the power of reading the hidden rules in any situation. Through this book we provide an age-appropriate way for students to learn about one of Social Thinking’s core teaching concepts, Social Behavior Mapping (Winner, 2007).


Social Thinking Thinksheets for Tweens and Teens (Winner, 2011).  This book of mini-lesson plans is curriculum-like in how the thinksheets are ordered. The easier concepts are embedded in thinksheets (which look like worksheets) toward the start of the book and the more complex concepts are placed in the middle and end of the book. We use thinksheets with students to explore specific concepts, encourage each student to personally respond to the information presented to help them better understand how these concepts relate to them personally. The thinksheets also encourage less talkative kids to find their voice by participating in more structured social learning activities. Parents and professionals can then encourage students to learn and practice social skills related to each of the lessons taught in the book.

 

Products for Ages 11-13

Professionals and parents around the world are using our expansive collection of curricula, books, games, and posters to teach social competencies to ages 4 and up.

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I work with ages 14-18, or have a child within that range. Where do I start?

My colleague Pam Crooke and I specialize in teens, transition to adulthood, and living as an adult. For our students who are 14-21 years old, we wrote the book Socially Curious and Curiously Social (Winner & Crooke, 2011). The book is written in “teen-speak” to encourage our students to read it themselves. It is our best writing for school- age students about the social-emotional connection. In addition, we have special chapters on The Friendship Peer-a-Mid, dealing with social anxiety, and questions kids have about flirting, dating, etc. This award-winning book has been adopted by many classrooms. It helps students with social learning challenges better understand what’s going on with them and their peers as social expectations become increasingly complex with age. If you don’t think your student will read it, we encourage adults (parents and professionals) to read it, as the straightforward explanations will provide you with ways to describe these issues to your students.


Social Fortune or Social Fate (Crooke & Winner, 2011) is a graphic novel that teaches our students about social responsibility. Students learn how we interpret and respond to each others’ behaviors whether that ends up being good or bad! In this book we also help students understand the power of reading the hidden rules in any situation. Through this book we provide an age-appropriate way for students to learn about one of Social Thinking’s core teaching concepts, Social Behavior Mapping.


Social Thinking Thinksheets for Tweens and Teens (Winner, 2011). This book of mini-lesson plans is curriculum-like in how the thinksheets are ordered. The easier concepts are embedded in thinksheets (which look like worksheets) toward the start of the book and the more complex concepts are placed in the middle and end of the book. We use thinksheets with students to explore specific concepts, encourage each student to personally respond to the information presented to help them better understand how these concepts relate to them personally. The thinksheets also encourage less talkative kids to find their voice by participating in more structured social learning activities. Parents and professionals can then encourage students to learn and practice social skills related to each of the lessons taught in the book.

 

Healthy Relationships (Sondoozi, Loiewski, Tompkins, 2013). Finally—a workbook for young adults that addresses the tricky world of relationships in a concrete and clear manner. Filled with useful tools that support measured relationship building, this practical book is built to support healthy social engagement and encourage safe decision making. Easy-to-understand information is delivered through acronyms, cartoons, and activities, and complements the core concepts of Social Thinking. Lessons included on a USB for easy printing.

 

Good Intentions Are Not Good Enough (Winner & Crooke, 2016) provides real-world practical information about the social emotional connection that is alive and well in any work environment, no matter the job. The focus of this book is providing a framework and strategies to help our adult clients/students develop more awareness of the powerful yet subtle social world that surrounds all interactions. This book can be also be read by job coaches, teachers, people in HR departments and managers to help them better understand how they can help make the implicit nature of the social world more explicitly described for everyone’s benefit.

 

Products Ages 14-18

Professionals and parents around the world are using our expansive collection of curricula, books, games, and posters to teach social competencies to ages 4 and up.
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My adult daughter was always considered eccentric with a life long social skills problem. We were told she would grow out of the challenges she exhibited when in school; she didn’t. In fact, she is lonelier now than ever. She also struggles to stay employed, as she tends to make her co-workers irritated in whatever job she has. Do you have any materials that could possibly help?

 

Good Intentions Are Not Good Enough (Winner & Crooke, 2016) provides  real-world practical information about the social emotional connection that is alive and well in any work environment, no matter the job. The focus of this book is providing systematic frameworks and strategies to help our adults with social learning challenges develop more awareness of the powerful yet subtle social world that surrounds all relationships, even those at work! The book is filled with helpful information to foster one’s Social Thinking and related social skills. It can be also be read by job coaches, teachers, people in HR departments and managers to help them better understand how they can help make the implicit nature of the social world more explicitly described for everyone’s benefit. Parents will also benefit from reading this to help guide their discussions with their adult children.

Products for Adults

Professionals and parents around the world are using our expansive collection of curricula, books, games, and posters to teach social competencies to ages 4 and up.
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