Friday, January 1, 2010

Social Cognition and Perspective Taking….What it it?

taken from

friendsDo you work with a child who is at the advanced learner end of the spectrum? Wants to have friends, but doesn’t quite know how? Is pushy or rude?
Teaching him social cognition may be a good direction to head in. Well you may ask, what is social cognition?I am going to attempt to wet your tastebuds, and hopefully motivate you to learn more!

Many kids with HFA or Asperger’s have difficulties with the social cognitive skills it takes to make friends, and maintain friends, basically alot of social skills and pragmatics. Social cognition can target inferencing, social problem solving, understanding and using sarcasm, idioms, intentions, deception, understanding and using humor as well as facial expressions, non verbal language. These difficulties can be targeted in programming and data collected.

In the area of social cognition and theory of mind, some research has been done, but there is much more to be done. About 5 years ago, I completed an analytic review of the literature on the topic of interventions targeting teaching perspective taking in children with autism. One of the main discussion points I made was that there is no one curriculum for teaching these skills. Two of the main probes for testing Theory of Mind are the Sally Anne Task and the Smarties Task. There are many resources, but bringing it all together is something that has not yet been done. I think improving the technologies of teaching this is yet to come. We are always learning better ways to teach it.

Some of the best teaching materials we use here at ABC Group and ATS come from Michelle Garcia Winner at . One of my favorites is SuperFlex, where we have taken these ideas and put together a systematic continuum of teaching for our kiddos on the spectrum. ABC Group is even having a training on Saturday where we will present many of her ideas in our training on teaching social cognition presented by our very own Emaley McCulloch. I can definitely say everyone is very excited to have her wealth of knowledge among us! This is a much needed training, and several of our advanced learners will benefit from some of these programs we are introducing to them to target their deficits in social cognition. Exciting stuff!

With that said, do some research on social cognition, and find some good books, such as the ones and get reading. I think it will give everyone a great perspective for those kids whose difficulties are more difficult to pinpoint, and give the teachers and providers a curriculum guide to follow! You will probably start analyzing social cognitive behavior wherever you go.

Be a social detective! And as Michelle Garcia Winner says, start thinking about how others are thinking about you!! And that is what social cognition is in a nutshell! Enjoy!

I really love Michele Garcia Winer's Books!!

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