How to Teach Complex Social Concepts to Children

For some children, it is difficult to learn social cues and rules. These children often excel in grasping many complex ideas but they frequently require explicit instructions when learning social concepts. Parents: if your child is having difficulties understanding the rules of social communication, there is a program that will teach these skills explicitly in a child-friendly manner. Through stories, music, and dramatic play, children are introduced to and learn about complex social concepts in The Incredible Flexible You™– Social Thinking® Curriculum program.

The Incredible Flexible You™– Social Thinking® Curriculum is a group program that teaches children about social thinking and communication. Through the use of storybooks, children learn about aspects of social thinking through the four characters in the books. They then practice the concepts in structured activities and dramatic play with their peers in the group. This program is suitable for children between the ages of 4-7 who have appropriate language skills, but are looking for some guidance in social skills. The topics covered in this program include:

– Thinking thoughts and feeling feelings
– The group plan
– Thinking with your eyes
– Body in the group
– Whole body listening

Not only are the children taught these skills explicitly, they explore the consequences of forgetting to use these social rules through the characters in the book, and then they have the opportunity to practice these skills with their friends in structured role-play and dramatic free play. It is much easier for children to learn these complex social skills when they are explicitly introduced to them through the characters in a story. The dramatic play provides them with the opportunity to practice the concepts learned with their peers. Together as a group, the children are able to remind each other to apply these social concepts and practice them in a fun and safe setting. I found that children are much more likely to remember the importance of having their “Body in the Group” when they were pretending to be chased by a shark in the dramatic play!

1to1 Therapy will be offering The Incredible Flexible You™– Social Thinking® Curriculum program in our upcoming March Break day camp. More information is available on our camp page, or please contact us directly to learn more.

Hendrix, R. E., Palmer, K. Z., Tarshis, N., & Winner, M. G. (n.d.). SocialThinking – The Incredible Flexible You Curriculum Set Volume 1 (Deluxe). Retrieved February 06, 2016.

About the Author:
Amanda Tse is a speech-language pathologist with expertise in the area of preschool and school aged language development. She has used the The Incredible Flexible You™– Social Thinking® Curriculum from Socially Thinking® author Michelle Garcia Winner and colleagues to develop the social skills of children through interactive group therapy.

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