Here is a short video clip of Michelle Garcia Winner talking about the difference between Social Thinking and Social Skills.
Assessments are carried out either in the school or clinic environment. Assessments are designed to be a combination of formal and informal dynamic language based tasks. Children with social communication difficulties require careful observation in the school environment where they are exposed to both the academic and social based curriculums. I typically require 2-4 hours of individual language work and observation time within the most suitable setting. After many years of careful consideration, I have adopted the Social Thinking approach (www.socialthinking.com) as the most effective way of assessing a child's social communication skills. I offer a written report and discussion time for feedback to school staff and parents. Children with language based disorders and social emotional needs can also be assessed.
When there is a need to carry out individual or group therapy sessions, the families and other professionals involved are fully informed and specific goals and objectives are laid out. Children that benefit from a cognitive behavioural approach in developing their social thinking and related skills typically benefit from the social thinking approach. There are many useful resources developed by skilled clinicians that provide the basis for planning therapy. I have experience in combining social communication and emotional regulation therapy strategies. Sessions are usually 45-60mins and carried out over 6-12 week blocks. This can be done in school or at my clinic. Sessions are sometime videoed in order for specific role play learning to occur and this can be shared with the families. I also offer a model of intervention adopted from the SCERTS (www.scerts.com) framework that helps teaching assistants and school staff plan academic lessons in a way that compliments the student with an autism spectrum disorder. Use of technology is integrated into the therapy where needed. Therapy may also take the form a joint session with a qualified and experienced sensory integration occupational therapist with further specialisation of trauma based and attachment disorders. On completion of therapeutic services a brief summary outlining the goals and objectives are given. Amanda is also available to attend annual review meetings and will often liaise with other relevant professionals.
WORKING WITH SCHOOLS AND TRAINING
One of my greatest passions is to be able to pass on the knowledge and experience that I have gained in order to provide a carryover of skills. Working either individually or in a small group to support and train school staff is essential. My specialisation for developing social learning and emotional regulation strategies has been highly successful and many schools have benefited from additional trainings. Amanda also provides support by providing reports that can help with the diagnosis and Statementing process.