During the traditional teaching years, our school is focused on teaching subjects such as English, Mathematics, Science, etc. This is also because during the old days, students aren’t experiencing much of social learning challenges. However, time has changed and so are the children in this whole new modern world. Admit it or not, today’s children: both typically developing and those with special needs, are entering school with decreasing abilities to learn in a group or dealing with other kids or adults in general. This is why we need to know the importance of social learning to a student’s academic success and later success in life.
Let’s start it with the question, “What is Social Thinking?” It is a method used to help children to effectively interact and deal with others, helping them figure out the best way to think or best way to do when they are in a social situation. This will actually help them realize that every time they are around others, the way they behave will cause them to think a certain way about others. This will train our children’s brain to figure out what people around them might be thinking. This will also help them create positive thoughts about themselves and others as well.
It sounds quite easy right? But it doesn’t. For some children, they learn the “rules” of social situation and form friendship easily just by observation. However, some children also have more difficulty picking up these social cues from their natural environment and are sometimes perceived as “different” or “odd” by their peers. This is why in our center, Bridging the Gap, we want to help our children succeed not just in academic situations but most importantly, social situations.
What can our children benefit from Social Thinking lessons and activities?
This will help them:
- Think about other people’s feelings
- Ask about other people’s personal experiences
- Work in group setting at school
- Work as part of a team
- From connection and build friendship
- Share and take turns
- Play with peers in an age-appropriate way
- Keep schoolwork organized
- Stay calm in stressful situations
- Read the social cues of peers
Here in Bridging the Gap, we have group sessions, focusing on teaching our kids how to socialize with their peers and of course to have fun. We will present expected and unexpected behaviors. We will then create opportunities for them to express their feelings and give them a chance to actualize what they have learned on Social thinking.
Below are the pictures of our group session:
- We play games to focus on turn taking, waiting and sharing. This is also a good activity for them to be flexible and to be a good sport. The game will help them realize that winning and losing is part of the game. We always give them opportunity to let them feel their emotions when they lose and give them ways on how to manage their emotions as well.
- We also conduct presentations to show the different situations that our children might encounter or experience in their daily lives. We do role playing activities on how to deal on such encounters with other people that will make use of their social thinking. Also, through worksheets, we let them read and analyse different situations and let them think of solution on how to respond to different social encounters, helping them to use their social thinking effectively.