Two-day “Social Thinking” Conference with Michelle Garcia Winner

October 4, 2012

Social Thinking Across The Home and School Day: The ILAUGH Model of Social Thinking

One of our core educational courses, this day is designed to introduce parents and professionals to Social Thinking and social learning, and help them better understand the inner mind of persons with social learning challenges, whether or not they have a formal diagnosis.

Participants will learn not only functional treatment strategies to use both at school and at home, but will come away with a deeper awareness of why these students react and respond the way they do.

On this day we introduce the ILAUGH Model of Social Thinking which helps to demonstrate how social processing difficulties impact many of our students, not only their social skills but also their ability to work as part of a group and focus on specific academic tasks such as written expression, reading comprehension and organizational skills.

We will also address how best to approach writing IEP goals that bring about real, albeit slow, change in how students understand the world around them. This workshop is noted for its depth in explaining WHY students with social skills difficulties have related academic challenges, which impact them across their school and home day.


1.  Participants will be able to explain how teaching "think with your eyes" is different from simply teaching good eye contact.

2.   Participants will be able to explain why a person with social skill deficits may have reading comprehension problems in the classroom.

3.   Participants will be able to distinguish and describe the difference between a useful IEP goal and one that is of little benefit toward developing their program.

4.   Participants will describe how use of strategy cards can facilitate teaching of initiation of communication.

5.   Participants will be able to explain how "thinking with your eyes" relates to auditory processing.

6.   Participants will be able to explain how gestalt processing relates to written expression and organizational skills.

October 5, 2012

Informal Dynamic Social Thinking Assessment and Core Treatment Strategies for Home and School

This course builds on the first day, exploring further the ways professionals and parents can better understand the inner minds of individuals with social learning challenges.

We introduce the Informal Dynamic Social Thinking Assessment, a tool described in Michelle's book, Thinking About YOU Thinking About ME, 2nd Edition. IDST assessments are not only useful as part of the initial or three-year testing process. Instead, this type of assessment can be done on an ongoing basis to gauge students' abilities and needs across time.

The IDST is invaluable in learning more about the way our children/students think, and how their social thinking deficits affect them. This, in turn, illuminates why they need direct teaching of social concepts and arms us with relevant knowledge to determine specific treatment strategies that are best aligned with their needs. Video clips of the informal assessment will demonstrate ways in which all of us (diagnosticians, parents, paraprofessionals, treatment clinicians, etc.) can work more effectively with this population. This is a day filled with very practical information!

In the afternoon, participants will learn about Social Behavior Mapping. SBM is a visual teaching strategy which demonstrates how doing what is "expected" or "unexpected" in specific social situations impacts how those around us feel about our behaviors and how that, in turn, impacts how they treat us, and ultimately how we feel about ourselves. This technique is now widely embraced as a core Social Thinking concept used for all students.

Rounding out the day, basic concepts and ideas will be presented for running Social Thinking groups as well as specific teaching strategies that help make the abstractions of the social world more concrete! We will delve into how we make friends, distinguishing between 1) "being friendly," 2) developing a friendship, and 3) having a "bonded friend." We will discuss how conversational skills are only one component to keeping friends; "hanging out" actually means we share space without necessarily talking! Parents and professionals give high praise for the practical nature of this course.


1.  Participants will be able to describe how to assess "thinking with your eyes" and how this is different from identifying what some one is looking at.

2.   Participants will be able to describe the core components of the "Double Interview" and explain how it helps assess perspective taking.

3.   Participants will be able to describe how to fill out each of the four columns on Social Behavior Maps.

4.   Participants will be able to describe the Four Steps of Communication as a primary component to assessing and treating social skill deficits.

5.   Participants will be able to define at least three different stages of making friends and how to teach students to advance from one stage to the next.

6.   Participants will discuss how to teach nonverbal ways of maintaining a friendship when peers "hang out.

Intended audiences: teachers; speech-language pathologists; therapists (MFTs; LCSWs; OTs; PTs); autism specialists; clinical, educational, developmental psychologists; clinical and educational administrators; physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, particularly those in developmental practice; social workers; paraprofessionals; parents and other family members and caregivers of students with social thinking challenges.

Populations to be discussed: School-age students and adults who have social and communication difficulties, including but not limited to those related to high-functioning autism, PDD-NOS, Asperger Syndrome, NLD, ADHD and undiagnosed challenges. Information presented concentrates on students with near normal to far above normal verbal intelligence (verbal IQs above 70). Most strategies focus on school-age children and adults, although the information is helpful for those living and working with younger children.

More info and to register:


Location - click on the location below to see all events at that location: 
Thursday, October 4, 2012 (All day) to Friday, October 5, 2012 (All day)