Thinking about you Thinking about Me By Michelle Garcia Winner has been on the top of my wishlist for a long time now and I am so thrilled to share my thoughts about this amazing book with you all. Michelle Garcia Winner is a world renowned SLP who coined the term “Social Thinking” and has helped many understand the nuts and bolts of the complex topics related to social understanding. She aptly compares the art of conversation to an orchestra, wherein, the conversationalist has to read, interpret and respond to another person, similar to a musician in an orchestra! This book will be your guiding light in teaching this complex skill to children on the autism spectrum.
The book starts off with an introduction to social cognition and the I LAUGH framework model. The next two chapters are about Perspective Taking – Thinking, Learning and Teaching and the Keys to Perspective Taking, which talk about theory of mind and perspective taking deficits, perspective taking attributes, thinking about how others affect you and how others are thinking about you,etc,.
The next five chapters are all about the four steps of communication, each one described in detail in separate chapters with many exercises and examples. The four steps are :
1) Enhancing perspective taking knowledge and skills
2) Establishing physical presence
3) Thinking with your eyes and
4) Using Language to Develop, sustain relationships.
The eight chapter is about the very interesting concept of Social Behaviour Maps, which are used to educate the child about the chain reaction of behaviour, emotions and consequences. This is done separately for Expected Behaviours and Unexpected Behaviours. Let me explain with an example. When the child/student says ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to a parent/teacher ( Expected Behaviour), they feel happy ( How they make others feel), they compliment you ( Consequences you experience) and the child feels good ( How you feel about yourself). This exercise is done along with the child to help him/her understand that when they follow expected behaviours, it makes people around them happy/proud and when they compliment the child, it makes him feel good about himself and the opposite holds true for unexpected behaviours.
The chapter on the social thinking dynamic assessment protocol includes information about the Double Interview, Thinking with your eyes, Reading social scenario pictures to assess perspective taking, etc. among others.
I really loved reading the real life examples Michelle shares from her vast experience, which shed light on how difficult the concept of Social Thinking is for our children and more importantly, how with appropriate intervention we can help them develop this crucial life skill. With ample activity suggestions, tables, figures (for our visual thinkers) and handouts, this book will definitely help you in this process.
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