Learning and Sharing



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,


Leave a comment »

A Kid’s Guide to Being a Friend

pta_20kids_20clipart_small (1)

My secret informants keep me posted on how my students are doing outside of the therapy room.  I received intell that some Lunch Buddies (in first grade) are struggling when it comes to being a friend.  It seems that each one is having a different issue so I pulled out my stash of visuals to see if I could cover all the bases.

First, I thought it was important to find out just what can be expected in the social and emotional development of a first grader.  I discovered in my research that for the first grade student, oneself is extremely important.  First graders love to have a “best friend” and they may decide to tattle on that friend at any given time.  First graders may have some extreme behaviors that need to be understood , but not always tolerated: tantrums, teasing, bossing, complaining, and tattling.  Spending time with friends becomes increasingly important to the first grade student.  I found this to be very interesting-First graders are still developing reverse process thoughts, therefore they might have problems understanding the consequences of their actions.

So, for the student who is hitting others, I used this great visual from


Everyone discussed being a safe friend vs a not safe friend.  When one has that impulse to hit:  stop, think about what a safe friend would do, and walk away.

For the student who gets too close and follows on the heels of others who don’t like it, the same visual shows them that a safe friend stops when a friend says “stop”.



This princess knows how to think with her eyes to look at friend’s faces to understand how they feel.  This princess also knows that if she makes a sour face at a friend, they might have an uncomfortable feeling/thought about her.  Having your brain and body in the group is something this princess understands will let her friends know that she is interested in them and what they have to say.  Showing interest makes friends feel happy. The Princess Social Skills packet created by CC of is available for purchase at



We read this book as we ate our lunch.  Everyone had their brain and body in the group.

I made this visual reminder for the students to take with them back out into the world.


I learned at the Social Thinking® Providers Conference that learning social is a long process because it requires deep understanding.  I think that practice makes progress so,  I expect this lesson to help the girls to be better friends

Have a great Saturday, everyone!

My Best,