Key Topics: Social Attention & Perspective Taking for Literal-Minded Learners

Part 1: Understanding and Supporting the Social Emotional Learning needs of Challenged Social Communicators

Part 1 of this two-part series explores

  • The power of social attention toward developing social interpretation
  • The Cascade of Social Attention and how to use Social Thinking Vocabulary to support and focus social attention


Part 2 of this two-part series offers treatment ideas and shows how social learners evolve in their understanding of the social world as they grow up. Group treatment ideas for different age groups will also be introduced.


3 hours of training and CE credit available for select professionals. For any special accommodations or assistance with resources email us.

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Part 1: Understanding and Supporting the Social Emotional Learning needs of Challenged Social Communicators

Series Name: Zooming In on Strategies for Concrete Literal Learners

If you are working or living with an individual(s) who tends to be very literal in how they interpret and respond to social information, this course will explore their social learning needs. Using video from treatment sessions, we’ll outline the characteristics of five different types of social learners and zoom into exploring those considered Challenged Social Communicators (CSC). We’ll provide concrete examples of how these social learners interpret information in a very, very literal manner, which contributes to extreme challenges with problem-solving abilities. Practical strategies to encourage the development of fundamental social concepts will be demonstrated. Treatment recommendations will focus on helping these social learners become a little more flexible when interpreting what’s happening in their social world.

Replay access available to watch through May 31st

Individual / Small Group
$49.00 per attendee
1-4 Attendees
25% Discount
Attendee #1
Team / Large Group
$45.00 per attendee
5 or more attendees
30% Discount
Attendee #1
Non-Professional & Family
$35.00 per attendee
Intended to help people using the information in their personal lives.
45% Discount
Attendee #1

Detailed Description

Who should attend

The Social Thinking® Methodology explores the strengths and needs of different types of social emotional learners with an understanding that a diagnosis may not help to pinpoint specific social learning needs. We have found that a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum is routinely used as a catchall to describe three very different types of social emotional learners as outlined in the DSM-5 (e.g., Levels 1, 2 and 3). In fact, we have found plenty of individuals who struggle with social emotional learning but are not considered to be on the Autism Spectrum. The Social Thinking–Social Communication Profile (ST-SCP) is one way to explore the learning characteristics of different social learners to better understand their learning strengths and challenges regardless of diagnostic label.

In part one of this two-part series, we will briefly review five different learning styles and then focus our lens on individuals we describe as Challenged Social Communicators. We will provide concrete examples of how these learners interpret information in a very, very literal manner resulting in ongoing issues with problem-solving. We’ll also outline the learning strengths of this cohort and explore fundamental aspects of social learning. We will demonstrate why some core lessons may seem basic but are incredibly important teaching what is happening in the world around us, in digital media, and stories.

This course will include but not be limited to these topics:

  1. Defining what is meant by “social thinking”
  2. Discussing different types of attention
  3. Exploring the power of social attention towards developing social interpretation
  4. How social interpretation is critical for the evolution of one’s social competencies
  5. Introducing the Social Thinking-Social Communication Profile
  6. Describing the characteristics (strengths and challenges) of five different types of social learners
  7. Explaining why each cohort has its own social emotional learning trajectory across a lifespan
  8. Defining the Cascade of Social Attention
  9. Using Social Thinking Vocabulary to support and focus social attention
  10. Defining two basic levels of theory of mind (ToM)
  11. Exploring, though video examples, core activities to enhance development of these basic levels of ToM
  12. Prognosticating to help parents to prepare for transition to adulthood

Who Should Attend

The Social Thinking Methodology is used by a wide variety of professionals; 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.

About this Series

A two-part series

In this two-part series, we focus on developing rule-based social learning activities that connect to educational standards and support social learners with significant social attention and social interpretation challenges. We will concentrate specifically on understanding and supporting individuals who have social learning characteristics described as Challenged Social Communicators (CSC) in part 1 and Emerging Social Communicators (ESC) in part 2. These social learners are described as having relative strengths in concrete learning with a tendency to interpret both social and written information in a very literal manner. Parents often report struggles with organization, sarcasm, literalness with reading comprehension and writing, as well as a more awkward manner when socially engaging with peers. Both parts of this series 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.

We will also address assumptions about social attention, learning in groups, and reliance on test scores to guide intervention planning. We will examine how socially based critical thinking and executive functioning make it difficult to truly understand the social learner’s real time learning abilities.

Learning Objectives and Agenda


Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe two or more core characteristics of the Challenged Social Communicator and explain the impact on social and academic learning
  2. Explain why it’s essential to track what another person knows or doesn’t know when co-existing or interacting in a classroom or home
  3. Define one strategy to help students who are Challenged Social Communicators figure out “who knows what”


Section 1 – Title, Handouts and Disclosures (1 min)

Section 2 –Power of social attention through the lens of the Cascade of Social Attention, Social Thinking – Social Communication Profile, Anxiety trends in Concrete-Literal Learners (131 minutes)

Section 3 – Sequence for Teaching about Thoughts and Feelings, Strategies for teaching attention and interpretation. Prognosis (63 min)

Continuing Education Credit

3 hours toward CE credit, if applicable

Earn Continuing Education Credit

Click here to see detailed Continuing Education Information by Profession and by State

When you register as a Professional for a livestream or recorded event sponsored by Social Thinking (i.e., the conference has a dedicated page on our website) you gain access to CE credit at no additional cost. Find your profession below to learn about your CE options. Each course provides 3 hours of instruction and each attendee will be given a certificate of attendance and a course agenda as proof of participation. For information about CE credit offered by livestream or recorded events NOT sponsored by Social Thinking, please contact the sponsoring organization.


We are proud to provide access to continuing education credit for:

  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Educators
  • ...and others!

Back by Popular Demand Accessing Certificates of Attendance
Once you have watched the recorded content, please sign our digital attendance sheet, fill out the questionnaire and survey (link provided underneath the video). We will then send the follow-up email with the Certificate of Attendance. Please, allow a 2-3 days for us to send you the certificate. An online form will be available to SLPs at that time to submit their ASHA info to claim ASHA CEUs. Please note, we report ASHA CEUs once a month and it takes several more weeks for them to show on your CE Registry account.

Remember, mental health professionals can only receive CE credit if they watched the live version of the courses. The recorded copy is not eligible for mental health CE credit.

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)
An online form will be available to SLPs at that time to submit their ASHA info to claim ASHA CEUs. Please note, we report ASHA CEUs once a month and it takes several more weeks for them to show on your CE Registry account.


The course is offered for 0.3 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area)

Contact your licensing and/or certification organization
We are approved to offer access to CE credit in many instances. Because state requirements can change without notice, we recommend contacting your regulatory board or licensing organization to verify course approval to be 100% confident you can earn CE credit for our courses. Please note that licensing and/or certification organizations have varying requirements that must be fulfilled to earn CE credit for attending a continuing education event.

If your profession is not listed, we recommend you contact your licensing organization to determine whether they will approve our courses. All attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and agenda for each course as proof of participation.


Click here to see detailed Continuing Education Information by Profession and by State

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