Autism Conference

Social Thinking

Social thinking is what we do when we interact with people: we think about them. And how we think about people affects how we behave, which in turn affects how others respond to us, which in turn affects our own emotions. Whether we are with friends, sending an email, in a classroom or at the grocery store, we take in the thoughts, emotions and intentions of the people we are interacting with. Most of us have developed our communications sense from birth onwards, steadily observing and acquiring social information and learning how to respond to people. Because social thinking is an intuitive process, we usually take it for granted. But for many individuals, this process is anything but natural. And this often has nothing to do with conventional measures of intelligence. In fact, many people score high on IQ and standardized tests, yet do not intuitively learn the nuances of social communication and interaction. While these challenges are commonly experienced by individuals with autism spectrum disorders (high-functioning), social communication disorder, Asperger's, ADHD, nonverbal learning disability (NLD) and similar diagnoses, children and adults experiencing social learning difficulties often have received no diagnosis. A treatment framework and curriculum developed by Michelle Garcia Winner targets improving individual social thinking abilities, regardless of diagnostic label. Professionals and parents alike are using these methods to build social thinking and related skills in students and adults. Social Thinking books, workshops and trainings, created by Winner or based on Winner's work, now offer a range of strategies that address individual strengths and weaknesses in processing social information.

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For more information, contact Debra Miller, Region III CSPD, 406.657.2072,

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Michelle Garcia WinnerMichelle Garcia Winner is the founder of Social Thinking® which specializes in developing treatment models and specific strategies for helping persons with social cognitive learning challenges. She runs and works in her small clinic, has authored numerous books, and speaks internationally. Michelle’s goal is to help educators, mental health providers, and parents appreciate how social thinking and social skills is an integral part of students’ academic, vocational and community success. She was honored with a “Congressional Special Recognition Award” in 2008.

August 5th

Informal Dynamic Social Thinking Assessment and Core Treatment Strategies for Home and School

August 6th

Implementing Social Thinking Concepts and Vocabulary into the School and Home Day


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Registration Fee: Free!


  • OPI renewal units
  • MT Speech and Language & Hearing, MASHA
  • ASHA Certification Maintenance Hours (please contact Debra Miller at if you are interested in this credit)
  • Social Work/LCPC (please contact Debra Miller at if you are interested in this credit)
  • Nursing CEU credits/license contact hours (please contact the MSU Billings Extended Campus at 406-896-5890 to register. Cost $32.50)
  • MSU Billings Graduate credit (please call the MSUB Extended Campus at 406-896-5890 to register. Cost $199)

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