Autism Corner: How to Teach Social Thinking to Students with Autism

socialthinking[Source: Almaden Valley Speech Therapy]

Students with autism often have inflexible thinking.  When kids hear a comment like “We’ll go in 5 minutes”, typically-developing kids make guesses about it, or understand that the meaning is about 5 minutes and not exactly 5 minutes. Kids with autism tend  be concrete thinkers and may take language literally, and think the meaning is exactly 5 minutes! Figurative language is tricky for the student with autism also. They may hear someone say “She knocked my socks off” and may think the speaker’s socks came flying off.

Inflexible thinking causes many problems for students. When a student is inflexible, it will be hard for him to get along with his classmates. It will be like his brain is a rock – hard and stiff, and unwilling to consider other’s actions and feelings.  He often misunderstands phrases or behaviors that his classmates use. He takes things literally and won’t understand the nuances of polite language. His classmates use language to navigate socially, but his “rock brain” will prevent him from knowing the differing meanings of language like figures of speech, irony, sarcasm and the difference between bullying and just kidding around.  

Inflexible thinking can also cause problems with school or family schedules, as well as environments.  Some students can cling to their routines and have difficulty being flexible if their routine is interupted. If there is a change in a child’s regular schedule, it may cause a meltdown or at the very least some anxiety. Some students need to have their environments arranged a certain way, and feel anxious if their items are moved, or out of place.

Read the Rest of this Article on The Almaden Valley Speech Therapy Blog 

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Selective Imitation Shows Children Are Flexible, Social Learners

UT[Source:  Science Daily]

Psychologists at The University of Texas at Austin found that children flexibly choose when to imitate and when to innovate the behavior of others, demonstrating that children are precocious social learners.

“There’s nothing children are more interested in than other people,” said UT Austin psychologist Cristine Legare. “Acquiring the skills and practices of their social groups is the fundamental task of childhood.”

In order to function within their social groups, children have to learn both technical skills with instrumental goals, such as using a fork and knife to cut food, and social conventions with goals based on social conformity, such as forms of greeting (for example: handshakes, kissing and bowing).

This research demonstrates that children are sensitive to the distinction between instrumental and conventional goals and flexibly adapt their behavior accordingly.

“The more carefully you imitate a social convention, the better, more reliable group member you are. Tasks with instrumental goals allow for more innovation,” Legare said. “Young children adjust how carefully they imitate and when they innovate, depending on the perceived goal of the behavior or reason for action.”

Read the Rest of this Article on Science Daily

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Pediatric Tx Activity of Week: Paper Helicopter

Editor’s Note:  This is a great idea for both fine motor and following directions!

[Source:  Therapy Fun Zone]


It is always fun for kids to be able to take home a fun item that they created, and the paper helicopters are a nice finished project. They are pretty quick to make, but you can have the kids do more things to them before they are finished. I am going to have my students do some coloring on them, and practice their pencil control, and some of the kids, I will have write things that they like about themselves on the helicopters.

These paper helicopters include a little bit of cutting, some paper folding, and some writing if you choose to have the kids do that. Then it is fun for the kids to drop them and watch them twirl back to earth.

I have created a template to make it easy for the kids to know where to cut and where to fold in order to make the helicopters.

Read the Rest of this Post and Download the Template from Therapy Fun Zone

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Pediatric Clinic Speech-Language Pathologist/SLP Job – Gilbert, AZ


We have a wonderful opportunity for a full-time Speech-Language Pathologist to work in a pediatric clinic in the Gilbert area. This is a Monday through Friday position with a 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule. Most of the children seen are more highly involved with disabilities such as autism and Down Syndrome. Patients seen range from age 3 to adult. It is mainly pediatrics, but they also have an adult day treatment program which will be a very small percentage of the overall caseload. Candidates will be paid on an hourly basis, and once the 90-day probationary period is completed, they also will be paid for no-shows and cancellations. They offer PTO, 6 paid holidays, health insurance, vision and dental and up to $500 in continuing education. Apply today to learn more!

Qualifications: Must hold a Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology or Communication Disorders; a current state license (or eligible) if applicable. CFY candidates are welcome to apply.

Apply for this Position Through our Website

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Back To School Activities of the Week: All About Me!

allaboutme[Source:  MPMIdeas]

Get to know the new kiddos in your class with All About Me activities – perfect for back-to-school! Tami over at Learning and Teaching Preschoolers featured several ideas your class is sure to love. Each activity provides a great opportunity for the kids to get to know each other as well!

All About Me Posters
Trace an outline of each student onto white butcher paper. Then allow them to begin completing the drawing of themselves with crayons or markers.

Check Out More of These Fantastic ‘All About Me’ Activities

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