I was fortunate to receive a copy of one of the latest books from Social Thinking, Thinking about YOU, Thinking about ME. I’m not going to lie, the book is huge! As it should be considering the depth of information it provides. As thrilled as I was to get it, a few flips of the pages gave me an idea. The idea, pass it along to my son’s Special Education Teacher. SHE after all is passionate about her students and is always seeking ways to help them become the best individual they can be. What follows is my interview with her about this innovative book.
1) What was your favorite thing about the book?
I really loved all the figures, handouts and tables. Like many of my students, I use visuals to enhance my understanding of topics. It is also easier to present the different lessons in the book, to my students, through visuals like those included in the book.
The Table of Contents is also great, making it easy to go back to areas of interest. Right behind the Table of Contents are lists of the different figures, handouts, and tables for ease of use. That makes this book easier to use as a reference source.
2) What was one thing you learned or was intrigued by?
I was intrigued by the way the book used visuals to represent difficult, abstract concepts. I have known for a long time that the social part of language needed to be taught to my students. The difficult part is finding materials and different lessons to use in instruction. (My students are not “one size fits all”; I sometimes have to teach the same lesson in 3 or 4 different formats.) This book gives many examples and visuals that make the lesson planning easier and the hunt for resources right at my finger-tips.
3) Have you had an opportunity to implement any of the book’s suggestions in the classroom? If not, are you planning to… and if so, what?
I have not had the opportunity to implement any ideas from this book yet. Unfortunately, during the school year there is not a lot of time to do research. I generally do that in the summer. I read parts of the book during a break. What I was able to do with that information was observe the students for trends and needs in this area. I determined that this area is one of significant needs for my students (Special Education Significant Needs; SSN).
I have had a chance this summer to reread areas of the book that I marked during the first read. I would like to implement the “Me Binder” and “Behavior Maps” this next year with my students. I think these concepts would meet a need that I have been trying to address with my students. Most of my students do not understand the “why” to the lessons I am teaching them at school. They do not understand their IEP goals or why they need them. I think the “Me Binder” would help with this area. It would help with communications for all adults (parents, teachers, support staff, and itinerates) that work with each student; as well as give the student the information presented in appropriate language for their developmental level. I am planning to implement it the first few days of school, when we usually assess our students. It would be great to get the children’s input for an individual binder.
I think the “Behavior Maps” would help them understand how their behaviors are effecting their environment. Often my students feel that they have limited control of their environment and the persons that they interact with each day. This leads to frustrations and behaviors that are difficult at times. I would like my students to learn to self-advocate, to meet their needs; in a socially acceptable manner. I am going to try creating behavior maps to help them understand that they are in control of their behavior; and that their behavior has an impact on how others act around them.
4) What was one thing you didn’t agree on or felt could have been done better with the book?
Many of my students need visuals with all worksheets (often a visual with each sentence). Many of the handouts in this book do not include enough visuals. I will add these to both the “Behavior Maps” and the “Me Binders”.
5) Would you get more “Social Thinking” related materials in the future? Why or why not?
Yes, this is an area of major need for most of my students and my grown son. I have had to search for information in this area for many years; since my son was diagnosed with special needs at age 2 ½. I was a regular education teacher for most of the years my son was going through the public school system. (He was only diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome after he finished high school.) I spent much of his childhood looking for ways to work with him; as his teachers often felt there were academic areas that he “will never be able to master”.
My interest in this area started to meet a need for my son and advanced as I earned my Masters in Special Education. Most of my students see a Speech/language therapist/pathologist. The expressive/recessive language needs are usually addressed during those sessions (with follow-up lessons in the classroom provided to me by these specialists).
The area that concerns me the most is pragmatics. It is much harder to teach and seems to have a profound effect on the children’s academics. My job as a teacher is to provide my students with the best academic learning possible. Addressing the social and communication delays in my classroom is a needed step on the path to accomplishing those important academic understandings.
Elizabeth Finnesgard, Masters in Special Education
Mother of a child with significant communication and social delays, my most important role
This book is available at Future Horizons. Enter the code SPECIAL at checkout for 15% off.
Special Happens Contributors receive a complimentary copy of materials (this book) in exchange for an unbiased review. No other compensation is exchanged for this review.
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