This article addresses the complexity of what it means to “be social” from the perspective of social thinking. This perspective recognizes social cognitive processing abilities as the foundation for social knowledge and, in turn, social behaviors. The article further describes variables that influence how one understands how to do what is expected in different social situations and how development, stakeholders, and context influence that process. Challenges in “being social” for individuals with autism spectrum disorders are discussed, as well as differences between behavior-based and cognitive-based therapies. Finally, an example of one Social Thinking strategy-based treatment framework, Social Behavior Mapping, is used to illustrate the essential elements of cognitive behavioral therapy.
Social Thinking, Santa Clara, California (Dr Crooke and Ms Winner); and Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (Dr Olswang).
Corresponding Author: Pamela J. Crooke, PhD, Social Thinking, 404 Saratoga Ave, Ste 200, Santa Clara, CA 95050 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
While no direct financial support was provided for this project, Dr Crooke serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for Social Thinking and therefore receives a salary as part of this role. No other financial benefits or compensation relate to her position. Ms Winner owns the company Think Social Publishing, Inc., through which all Social Thinking concepts are developed. She is the founder of Social Thinking. She receives a salary from the company and spent part of her time working on this project for the group through her salaried income. Dr Olswang was recruited to be a research advisor and receives financial compensation from the research department in Social Thinking for expertise and time.