Friday, August 9, 2013

Thinking About You, Thinking About Me {Social Thinking Review}

If you're a Speech-Language Pathologist I hope the words 'Social Thinking' aren't new to you. 

Michelle Garcia Winner is one of those rockstars in our field that I'd love to sit and chat with!  For years, I've been borrowing all the books I could get my hands on that deal with social skills from other SLPs. Earlier in 2013 I joined the Social Thinking Blogging Team, giving me the opportunity to check out their products and review them for you! I loved the Incredible Flexible You Program and have been slowly reading one of the foundational books in Winner's library: Thinking about You, Thinking about Me. I was provided with a copy of this program for review. These thoughts and opinions are all mine. 

So...let's talk about what this book features and if it's right for you. This book is right for.... everyone. It's perfect for new SLPs, SLPs who haven't been practicing a lot of social instruction, SLPs who feel like they need to brush up on the latest EBP for social language instruction. 

Winner outlines a foundation for her point of view on social cognitive deficits and their assessment and treatment. The book focuses on the four steps of communication outlined by Winner. These include perspective taking, establishing physical presence, thinking with your eyes, and 
using language to develop and sustain relationships. In each of these sections Winner provides background and theory. She then provides ways to teach the skills, treatment ideas (many in each section!) and suggested goals. 

For bright children with high-level language skills, Winner suggests cognitive behavioral approach to behavior. Meaning the child is instructed to think about the behaviors. This is different than a Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approach that is often more appropriate with lower functioning clients. Winner has created an approach called Social Behavior Mapping (SBM) as a tool to teach more abstract concepts. Templates and visuals for this section are included. SBM includes some buzz words that you've likely heard, such as 'expected/unexpected behaviors'. The big idea for SBMs is pairing visuals and concrete materials so that clients can identify how actions impact self and others.

Other included activities includes: 
-The 'Me' Binder (helping students understand their IEP, goals, and service providers)
-Understanding the Social Thinking Assessment Protocol
-Standards Assessments: Comments & Critiques
-Winner includes a sample report and template to help SLPs incorporate standardized assessment with clinical frameworks to describe a students social skill deficits. 

Ready for a picture montage? Here are some snippets and favorites: 

Each chapter includes ideas of treatment.

Several of the activities feature handouts. 

I loved looking at the goal lists for each skill. 

Pros: Winner includes theory, relevant research, intervention activities and suggested goals for a social cognitive approach to social development. This program is practical in it's suggestions. I love the real life clinical examples provided in each section. Multiple times in the book, I found myself wishing I had read this program 3 years ago, as my experiences matched those examples in the book. I highly recommend this book. If you're looking for a reference that includes practical ideas that are research based you've found it in Thinking about You, Thinking about Me. 

Cons: This books has a ton of ideas that develop the foundation for Winner's other programs. The only con you might find it that if you haven't purchased other programs, you're going to be busy developing new materials to match her program. The book is heavy on theory and activity ideas, but light on actual activities to print/go. Look to her other programs for those products. The other difficulty of this program is its scope of practice. SLPs will find they need to use another program for the lower end of their caseload. While social thinking applies to children with average to above average language skills, tt likely won't meet all the needs for your social skills caseload. 

The book can be purchased for $48 dollars on the Social Thinking website. It's a bargain for all the information included. If you work on social skills, run, don't walk, to add it to your library. 

Have you used this book before? Are there other Social Thinking books you can't live without?