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Michelle's Blog

Thoughts on Encouraging Students to Ask for Help

By Michelle Garcia Winner

Learning to ask for help is an important life skill. Within the Social Thinking® teaching framework, this social ability is part of the larger skill set Initiation, the "I" that kicks off the ILAUGH Model of Social Thinking. It's important for all individuals to learn to initiate requests for help in various environments, such as at home, in their classes, and when around others, and this is especially relevant to individuals with social learning challenges, for whom this skill set doesn't unfold through typical social development.

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What is Social Thinking

Debbie Meringolo, MA, MS


Speaker Region: Northeast and Eastern U.S.
Speaker Focus: Workshops: A B C E H
  Preschool, Parent Training, School Age

Debbie Meringolo, a special educator and developmental specialist, is the Associate Director of the Infant/Toddler Team at the Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC), at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She is also the director of the Baby Team parent-child treatment program, and the co-director of CERC's RELATE program, providing diagnostic evaluations and treatment for children/adolescents with communication and social challenges. In this administrative and clinical role, Debbie supervises clinicians, conducts evaluations and provides treatment for children individually and in groups. Along with colleagues at CERC she also participates in a variety of research projects, examining early diagnosis of children with autistic spectrum disorders.

In addition to her work at the clinic, she runs a part time Social Thinking practice along with Nancy Tarshis. They work with children ages 14 months through adult in individual as well as group sessions, consult to public and private schools and provide training for parents and professionals.

Debbie obtained her BA from Queens College, her MA from Columbia University, Teacher's College, and her MS from Yeshiva University. She also holds a NYS certificate as a School District Administrator, from Brooklyn College. Prior to her career at CERC, twenty years ago Debbie worked for the New York City Department of Education as a special education teacher, teacher trainer, special projects coordinator and special education school supervisor.

Together with Nancy Tarshis, Debbie will begin working on a book for parents on Social Thinking.

Speaking Experience:Play and Language: Assessment and Intervention for the Preschool Child, Assessment and Intervention
 of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
, Identifying Autism Spectrum Disorders in Young Children, 
Using the Autism Diagnostic and Observation Schedule, 
Educating Children With Autism

: Debbie lives with her husband Marc in Westchester, NY. She has two adult children, one is an attorney and the another is studying social work. She is an avid biker, swimmer, and runner and loves to cook and bake. Debbie is proud of her long and diverse career in special education.

Note: Nancy Tarshis and Debbie Meringolo are available to co-present and bring a unique perspective to the Collaborative. As clinicians and administrators at a university-affiliated developmental disabilities clinic, they provide evaluation and treatment to individuals from birth to 21. In their joint private practice, they offer a variety of supports that include school consultations, staff training, parent education, and weekly treatment groups. They are uniquely qualified to offer professional training to teachers, therapists, administrators, and parents on the Social Thinking framework.

Click here for the PDF of Debbie's full bio