/, Early Leaners, High School Plus, Primary School Age/The Social Thinking Informal Dynamic Assessment – A One-Day Workshop Teaching You to Assess Social Communication, Executive Functioning, and Problem Solving in Real Time with Michelle Garcia Winner

The Social Thinking Informal Dynamic Assessment – A One-Day Workshop Teaching You to Assess Social Communication, Executive Functioning, and Problem Solving in Real Time with Michelle Garcia Winner

suitable for anyone working with ages 4 years to 18+

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

The Social Thinking Informal Dynamic Assessment is a useful tool for initial client testing and for assessing a client’s progress and provides valuable insights about the client for all members of the educational or support team. This a must use tool for everyone serious about using Social Thinking in their practice and the training is presented by the founder of Social Thinking, Michelle Garcia Winner.

 This training won’t be back in Australia for a few years so don’t miss this opportunity.

Tickets on sale HERE.

Scroll down to read the Workshop description below.



Michelle begins the day by exploring how to better understand the minds of individuals with social learning challenges when traditional standardized tests fall short.

Michelle will introduce the Social Thinking Informal Dynamic Assessment, a series of tasks with corresponding templates. The dynamic tasks included in the Social Thinking Informal Dynamic Assessment examine the way the individual being assessed approaches social communication, executive functioning, and problem solving in real time. The Social Thinking Informal Dynamic Assessment is a useful tool for initial client testing and for assessing a client’s progress and provides valuable insights about the client for all members of the educational or support team.

Results of the Social Thinking Informal Dynamic Assessment help to uncover the link between social thinking challenges and social and academic learning.

Michelle will provide you with a detailed checklist for two assessment tasks.  These checklists serve as a catalyst to guide more meaningful observations. Deeper observations, in turn, lead to developing more meaningful treatment programs.

In the morning Michelle will show you video footage of the informal assessment tasks being implemented.  These practical demonstrations will highlight how stakeholders (e.g. parents, diagnosticians, paraprofessionals, teachers, counsellors, therapists, etc.) can work more effectively with those we aim to help. Parents and professionals applaud the highly practical nature of this workshop.

In the afternoon, Michelle will teach you to implement two practical treatment frameworks.

The first, Social Behavior Mapping, is a visual framework that teaches social responsibility by highlighting that social expectations occur in a given context based on the situation and people involved. Social Behavior Mapping enables individuals to discover what is expected or unexpected in a social situation while also learning the impact their behaviour has on others’ feelings.

The second, the Friendship Pyramid, a visual treatment framework that helps individuals understand the difference between friendly and friendship. We will delve into five different levels of relationship development starting with the importance of initiating and responding to greetings with people who are not “friends.”

To round out the day, Michelle will teach you a four-phase social competency pathway to guide your students/clients as they engage in a social learning process.

What you will learn

At the end of the workshop participants will be able to:

  1. Describe how to assess thinking with your eyes and how this is different from identifying the direction of eye gaze.
  2. Describe how core components of the double interview can assess perspective taking.
  3. Describe the Social-Emotional Chain Reaction through the four columns of the Social Behavior Map.
  4. List and describe at least three different levels of the Friendship Pyramid and how they can be used to help students focus on different aspects of relationship development.

Our Speaker Michelle Garcia Winner

Founder & CEO Social Thinking • M.A., CCC-SLP

Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP specializes in the treatment of individuals with social learning challenges and is the founder and CEO of Social Thinking®, a company dedicated to helping individuals from four through adulthood develop their social competencies to meet their personal social goals. Michelle coined the term “Social Thinking” in the mid-1990s and since that time has created numerous unique treatment frameworks and curricula that help educators, clinicians, professionals of all types, and parents/family members appreciate that social capabilities are integral to a person’s success in life, socially, academically, and professionally.

Michelle maintains a private practice, The Center for Social Thinking, in Santa Clara, California, where she works with clients who continue to teach and inspire her. She travels globally presenting courses on the Social Thinking Methodology, an evidence-based approach she created that she continues to evolve and expand on. Michelle helps to develop educational programs, consults with and trains families and schools, and is a guiding presence with a wide range of professionals, politicians, and businesses on the topic of social emotional competencies. She is a prolific writer and has written and/or co-authored more than 40 books and over 100 articles about the Social Thinking Methodology.

Michelle receives accolades for her energetic and educational conference presentations, as well as her down-to-earth approach to teaching social competencies. The strength of Michelle’s work is her ability to break down abstract social concepts and teach them in practical, concrete ways to help people improve their social problem solving abilities and social responses.

Career Summary

Michelle’s interest in autism while attending the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1979 became the catalyst for becoming a speech language pathologist (SLP). Her first two mentors in the field were the late Dr. Carol Prutting (an early pioneer in the study of social pragmatics) and Dr. Robert Koegel (founder of Pivotal Response Therapy, aligned with ABA). While attending graduate school at Indiana University, Bloomington she became involved in the Indiana Resource Center for Autism (IRCA) under the leadership of Nancy Dalrymple, who became another strong mentor for Michelle. At IRCA in the 1980s, Michelle worked extensively with teens and young adults who would by today’s standard be referred to as “classically autistic.” Her students experienced significant intellectual learning challenges, weak speech/language development, and very limited social learning abilities. Michelle excelled at combining her knowledge of communication with behaviorism to help her more cognitively challenged students develop basic functional communication and social skills through behavioral teachings.

After returning home to California in the late 1980s, Michelle transitioned to working in hospitals and post-acute hospital rehabilitation centers with neurotypical learners who suffered from head injuries or strokes. There she learned about higher-level brain functioning and cognitive rehabilitation. In 1995, her career transitioned once more when she became the SLP for a public high school district. Her caseload was comprised of many older students who had relatively strong intelligence and language, but who lacked more refined social communication skills. The Social Thinking Methodology was born out of necessity as a way to reach those “bright but socially clueless students” who needed more information about how to navigate the social world than just memorizing dialogue to use in conversation. They needed to know why they should bother to converse at all, or even interact with others in their environment. The Social Thinking Methodology was born!

Michelle opened her private practice, the Center for Social Thinking, in 1998 and was met with high demand that continues to rise to this day. Trained professionals work with individuals ages 4 through adulthood in individual and group settings. Michelle continues to carry an active caseload of clients, in addition to consulting with families and schools on the Social Thinking Methodology and designing programs tailored to the individual’s needs. Michelle also started the company now called Social Thinking Publishing, Inc. to handle the growing public speaking demand from the national and international stage, as well as to publish her and others’ books on the Social Thinking Methodology. Michelle has written and/or co-authored more than 20 books on Social Thinking and her work is being applied not only to persons with higher-functioning autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADD/ADHD, and related disabilities, but also more broadly to students in mainstream classrooms and to adults in vocational and professional settings in the U.S. and abroad.


In 2016, her approach led GreatSchools.org, a leading national nonprofit organization, to call Michelle, “…the leading expert in the field of social skills.”

In 2008, Michelle was honored with a Congressional Special Recognition Award for her groundbreaking work in the field of social learning.

“…one of my favorite authors in the field of teaching emotional intelligence. Michelle Garcia Winner has pioneered some very helpful ways of conceptualizing and helping educators understand the social challenges that students on the autism spectrum face.” – Stephan Borgman, 2010, Psychology Today, “Spectrum Solutions”


To check out the Social Thinking Research homepage, click here. 

Research published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders supports using Social Thinking Vocabulary with individuals with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Learn more here.


Michelle lives in San Jose, CA with her partner and has two daughters, Heidi and Robyn.

Tickets on sale HERE.

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