Learning and Sharing


on November 3, 2013


I have heard the word resilience often in the past couple of weeks.  Throughout the Social Thinking® Providers Conference the speakers used the word as it relates to our work with students to teach them social thinking skills.  The principal of my school used the word resilience in a parent/teacher conference the other day as the team brainstormed strategies to help a certain student.

What is resilience?  In my reading I found these definitions:

  • the ability to bounce back or recover from setbacks
  • to function competently under stress
  • adapt successfully to adversity
  • the ability to cope with change
  • the ability to maintain positive emotions in the present (outlook) and the future (optimism)

George Vaillant, 2002,  compares a resilient individual to “a twig with a fresh, green living core.  When twisted out of shape, such a twig bends, but it does not break; instead, it springs back and continues growing”.

At the Social Thinking® Providers Conference, Dr. Nancy Cotton and Michelle Garcia Winner presented on how we can use Social Thinking to help build resilience.  They focused on and explored 3 concepts:

  1. Having a moral compass- why care?  Understanding how one’s behavior/actions affect others.
  2. Brain training: cognitive and emotional
  3. Cultivating positive emotions

In Lunch Buddies, we use Social Behavior Mapping to show how we affect each others emotions.  We also use Zones of Regulation® to teach self-regulation and emotional control.  Something new that I brought back from the conference is teaching how to re-write the negative self-script.  Re-writing the self-script will require writing new short-term and long term personal goals for the student.  I was also struck by the points the presenters made to create mindsets seeking positive rather than negative attention and to notice and validate the positive.

Resilience requires flexibility and optimism.  In Lunch Buddies, we use Superflex® and his Very Cool Five-Step Power Plan to help foster flexible thinking and developing the power within us to defeat distractors.

Developing social thinking takes time and deep understanding of the concepts.  Everyday we move forward!

My Best,



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