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The concept of teaching social skills misrepresents the dynamic and complex process at the heart of social skill production. Before we can act socially, we need to be able to think socially. However, the fields related to education and counseling of school-aged students have failed to study the complexity of teaching social learning. Instead, they have applied behavioral teachings in an attempt to tidy up inappropriate behavior without exploring whether, and to what extent, the behavior itself is caused by weak social thinking. Students who are challenged with social thinking and social skills--those diagnosed with autism, Asperger's Syndrome, PDD-NOS, Nonverbal Learning Disorders and others--struggle daily within an education system that is, at present, ill-suited to meet their needs. Our current education of children (both disabled and not) is based on the assumption that all students enter school with basic social thinking abilities in place. And therein do we fail our students before they even arrive at our classrooms. Complicating matters is federal public educational policy (No Child Left Behind), which calls for schools to use evidence-based practices in teaching all students. The reality of today's world is that strategies abound for teaching social thinking and related social skills, and many are resulting in significant gains for our students. "Michelle challenges professionals and caregivers to think more deeply, and practice more consciously, in helping individuals with ASD to acquire and apply social-knowledge in their lives. In building on her seminal work in social thinking, Michelle argues effectively for an important and more thoughtful alternative to behaviorally-based social skill `training' approaches, which are so limited in honoring the complexity of individuals with ASD," Dr. Barry M. Prizant, adjunct professor, Center for the Study of Human Development, Brown University

A Politically Incorrect Look at Evidence-based Practice and Teaching

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