Earlier this year I attended a Social Thinking conference. I left feeling fired up about the potential of this approach to develop social understanding. In fact, I wrote all about it here. Since then, I’ve been applying the principles to my everyday work with children from three to thirteen. It has been an exciting shift from merely teaching social skills to helping children develop their social understanding. So I was delighted when Social Thinking contacted me about reviewing their latest resource: “Social Thinking and Me”.
The resource consists of two books: a pack of Thinksheets and a Kids’ Guidebook. The Thinksheets book includes a useful introduction to the key principles of Social Thinking. It’s this focus on establishing a common language that I find most powerful about the approach. Understanding ideas across different situations is often a challenge for people with social communication difficulties, so this shared language enables families to reinforce key concepts throughout everyday situations and take understanding beyond the therapy session. As the authors points out, “Adults provide the often-needed structure and real-life examples that keep learning alive for students.”
The Thinksheets hold a wealth of activities for adults to work through with children. It was a conscious decision to call these ‘thinksheets’, in order to emphasise that these are intended to be done with an adult, rather than independently by a child.
The independent part of the process comes with the Kids’ Guidebook, intended to give children the opportunity to revisit ideas in their own time, at their own pace. A number of my children have commented on how they like ‘quiet time’ to think through ideas, so this format is ideal.
The Kids’ Guidebook lays out the Social Thinking Vocabulary through detailed explanations, picture examples and one-page summaries. This combination of formats makes it accessible for a variety of children. I’ve noticed that those with low literacy levels are interested in exploring the cartoons, providing a great opportunity to discuss ideas together.
I’m currently using this resource in 1:1 home sessions and in schools. I’ve found it a flexible tool as I can dip in to the relevant chapters for each individual therapy programme. The layout makes it possible to use as a more structured programme for intervention, giving potential to be used by a variety of adults who support children in this area.
If you live in the UK, I can happily recommend ‘Thinking Books’ online shop. I like to buy books from smaller retailers, particularly as they so often have a passion for their topic. The team at Thinking Books are no exception!