Social Thinking at The Moore Center

The process of navigating social situations comes naturally to many of us, but it can be very difficult for some. Social Thinking® – a social skills curriculum created by Michelle Garcia Winner – is the process of teaching the nuances of social relationships, including understanding that how we act influences how people view and treat us. 

The Moore Center has two Master’s level staff, Barbara Didona and Donna Raiche, who receive ongoing, targeted training in Social Thinking, in addition to their many years of experience in the human services field. Barbara and Donna lead small, focused, 10-week groups to help individuals understand the concepts of social interaction. 

The 3 Step Process

The Moore Center uses Social Thinking is an effective tool to help many of our individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. We’ve had wonderful success using the ideas created by Michelle Garcia Winner and below you can read an excerpt from an article she wrote on her 3-step process to teach social thinking and related social skills. To read the article in full, click here. 

1. Engage in social thinking

Social thinking is the ability to consider your own and others thoughts, emotions, beliefs, intentions, knowledge, etc. In other terms, it is the culmination of executive functioning, perspective taking, and self-awareness that enables you to interpret and understand the social situation and what behaviors are expected of you.

Remember that your behavioral-response is directly influenced by your social thinking. Social behaviors that align or fail to align with what other people expect in that situation determines how others judge your “social skills”. Improving your social thinking ability is a life-long learning process, and the key to developing chameleon-like social skills.

2. Adapt your behavior effectively (social skills)

Based on the results of your social thinking, adapt your behavior to consider the thoughts and feelings of others, as well as to communicate your intentions in the situation. By doing so, people are more likely to react and respond to you in the manner you had hoped (see below)

3. Be aware of others' reactions

People emotionally respond to our behaviors very quickly. If we feel a person has good social skills we may describe them as “polite” and “friendly”; if person has weak, awkward, or poor social skills we often describe them as “rude”, “odd” or “impolite”. The terms “polite”, “rude”, “friendly”, “impolite”, etc., represent how we emotionally perceive another’s behavior.

We are far better at summarizing our feelings (emotional response) than we are at describing intellectually the behaviors a person produced that swayed how we felt. How people respond to our behavior often leads to how they treat us in return.

Join Our Program

socialthinking-postimgIf your family member struggles with social skills that affect their ability to secure and maintain employment or have positive social interactions, this small-group forum may be a perfect fit! Your cost for this program may be covered by Medicaid for those approved for services through an Area Agency (talk with your case manager), and it’s also available on a private-pay basis. 

Session Topics Include:

  • Why is Social Thinking important?
  • What does body language tell us? How do we decide how and when to approach someone?
  • What are expected and unexpected social behaviors at work? What about those unwritten rules that everyone else seems to know about?
  • How do we use flexible thinking®? Specifically, how can it help us respond to a change in routine?
  • How do we evaluate if a problem is a big problem or a little problem?
  • How do we enter a room and assess what the social expectations are?

How to Get Involved

New groups start regularly and run for 10 weeks. Please contact one of our Social Thinking professionals with any questions or to register: 

Donna Raiche 
Email: donna.raiche@moorecenter.org
Phone: 603.206.2809)  

Barbara Didona
Email: barbara.didona@moorecenter.org
Phone: 603.206.2832

For more information visit the Social Thinking website.

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