Ep. 79: How to Develop Social Thinking Skills with Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP

May 3, 2022 | 0 comments

In this brand new episode, guest Michelle Garcia Winner joins me as we discuss social thinking skills. If you have ever heard of the Zones of Regulation, Think Social, or Thinking About You Thinking About Me, you’ve got Michelle Garcia Winner to thank. Her work is recognized globally and she joins the Diverse Thinking Different Learning Podcast today in her mission to share the importance of social learning.

Social Thinking is the ability to consider your own and others’ thoughts, emotions, beliefs, intentions, and knowledge to help interpret and respond to the information in your mind and possibly through your social behavioral interactions. During the last two years, we have experienced never-before-seen changes in how we interact with others due to the pandemic. We know that socially, many children experienced social loss in addition to academic loss. But now what? How can we integrate evidence-based strategies to help children improve their social competencies? 

You don’t want to miss this conversation. Listen to the brilliant Michelle Garcia Winner demonstrate the importance of social thinking skills and what we can do as parents and educators.


Show Notes:

[2:20] – Because of the pandemic, many children have experienced social loss in addition to academic loss.

[3:11] – Kids don’t only learn academics in schools, they learn how to be a part of a community.

[4:01] – We tend to think that kids have a lot of these social skills when they start school.

[5:02] – Social vocabulary is a component of the Social Thinking program.

[6:31] – Michelle demonstrates a way to show kids to “think with their eyes.”

[7:56] – Social expectations and social rules are constantly changing and we have to be flexible.

[9:23] – Problems are not all the same size and most young children react to all problems as if they are the same size.

[10:40] – There are so many hidden social rules in different situations.

[12:07] – We need to teach why we do things in certain situations.

[13:54] – Social thinking impacts more than just social interactions, but also academics.

[14:57] – In many cases, we don’t tell kids what we expect or why.

[16:03] – Imagination also plays a key role.

[18:34] – Isn’t it amazing what your brain is already doing? Kids did remarkably well imagining that they were still in a classroom when shifting to distance learning.

[20:27] – When we empower kids to describe what they want from others, they have better tools to reflect on their own behavior.

[21:56] – We have to give ourselves grace that these skills are not always taught well. Each of us cannot do this full throttle all of the time.

[24:02] – There is a difference in how we communicate and thrive socially, virtually and in-person, especially in young children.

[25:59] – Because of the extended amount of time on screens, kids did not experience social learning.

[26:56] – It is never too late to start Social Thinking.

[28:03] – This learning is preparing children to live independently and is important to integrate into all learning.


About Our Guest:

Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP, is the founder of Social Thinking and a globally recognized thought leader, author, speaker, and social-cognitive therapist. She is dedicated to helping people of all ages develop social-emotional learning, including those with social learning differences. Across her 35+ year career she has created numerous evidence-based strategies, treatment frameworks, and curricula to help interventionists foster social competencies in those they support. Michelle's work also teaches how these competencies impact a person's broader life, including their ability to maintain relationships and their success in school and career.


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.