Social Thinking

Social Thinking

We use Social Thinking at Westhaven to teach social competencies and not just social skills. Social competencies involve our social learning processes and these are central to many aspects of academic learning.

Since self-regulation of emotion and behaviour drives development of executive functioning skills, we consider the sources of dysregulation within our pupils.

At Westhaven, we use a number of Social Thinking teaching concepts and tools, one of which is the ‘Superflex’ series.  Superflexprovides opportunity for increased self-awareness.

 

Why we teach Social Thinking

Part of teaching children with ASC is recognising that they may be prone to rigid thinking. Rigid thinking is when someone gets stuck on an idea, thought, behaviour, or fear. They are not able to think outside or act outside of whatever box they have found themselves in. Their brain becomes rigid, and problem solving diminishes. Rigid thinking goes along with black and white thinking, i.e. good or bad, right or wrong. There is no grey area. They can become combative verbally when they are sure they are 100 percent right and you are 100 percent wrong. Often it is caused by anxiety or fear. It can also be caused by literal thinking patterns. Rigid thinking can greatly affect a child’s ability to socialize appropriately, as well as their ability to learn.

 The top four strategies that we have learned and implemented at Westhaven:

The Five-Step Power Plan

Become a Social Detective Before You Learn to Self-Regulate!

We begin our Social Thinking teaching by exploring the powers of ‘Superflex and the Unthinkables’. Prior to launching into this curriculum, our pupils need to develop cognitive awareness for self-regulation and superflexible thinking; we discuss social learning tools to do this. The power of social attention is explored, as is how we use it to make sense of the social world by figuring out the hidden rules in our classrooms, home, and community.

Explaining how Social Thinking seeks to teach concretely how each person is expected to interpret and respond to social information, we also review different aspects of cognition that help us to be stronger social thinkers. Our ‘Social Detective’ is then introduced to provide a motivational tool for how we need to take time to figure out what is going on around us to problem solve and self-monitor how we behave.


 

Getting to Self-Regulation: Introducing Rock Brain & the Team of Unthinkables

Social Thinking teaches social competencies and not just social skills. Social competencies involve our social learning processes and these are central to many aspects of academic learning.

Since self-regulation of emotion and behaviour drives development of executive functioning skills, at Westhaven we consider the sources of dysregulation. Armed with Social Thinking teaching concepts and tools, Superflex teachings are then kicked off through the introduction of the comic book ‘Superflex Takes on Rock Brain and the Team of Unthinkables…a New Beginning…’

Providing examples of how this information leads to each child’s increased self-awareness and creation of their own ‘Unthinkable’ is an exciting part of the social thinking program.

Meet SUPERFLEX and the Thinkables

 

Meet Rock Brain and the Unthinkables

Exploring the Superflex Curriculum & How It Fits into the School Day

Once the initial stages of the Social Thinking curriculum are complete, we introduce ‘Superflex: A Superhero’. We provide a teaching progression, highlighting how children first learn about their brain functioning and then move toward explaining specific motivational aspects of this curriculum. Demonstrating how specific Social Thinking teaching strategies are paired with ‘Unthinkables’, we encourage the exploration of how teaching a superflexible strategy diminishes the powers in our “Unthinkable” thinking!

Expanding Superflex’s Teachings & Exploring Use Across Different Age Groups

In the final aspects of our Social Thinking programme, the ‘Thinkables’ are introduced as a positive counterbalance to the ‘Unthinkables’.

We continue to teach about social learning and emotional and behavioral regulation.

The Reaction chart

Whole Body Listening

Expected and Unexpected Behaviour

Please see the download links below to access extra materials on this subject:

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