Social Thinking Group

Level 3 Group

What is Social Thinking? 

Social Thinking is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner, M.A., CCC-SLP who specializes in social skills development. Using metaphors, Winner's program helps young children to identify ways of thinking that are linked with emotions and behaviors. By identifying the "unthinkables" and correcting them with "thinkables," children learn to read social cues and respond accordingly.

Next Group

3-day Intensive!

June 25-27, 9am-12pm daily

Register Now!

Listen to Michelle Garcia Winner describe Social Thinking.

Social Thinking Group at ATSA is considered an intermediary level outpatient group. The group is specifically designed to continue social and verbal exposures in a group setting, while fostering social awareness through the teaching of social concepts and problem-solving to promote flexible thinking and appropriate social skills. Social Thinking Group at ATSA is intended for children who are ready for a more challenging group experience, where group interaction and presentations in front of the group are expected. Therapeutic goals include habituating to speaking peer to peer, habituating to presenting in front of the group, strengthening peer interactions, and increasing social awareness and skills.

This group is ideal for children who tend to be strong-willed, rigid in their thinking, tend to avoid groups and/or have difficulty in groups, and who need general social skills practice to improve their relationships. As schools focus more on academic group work, group social skills are becoming more and more important.

The group is considered Level 3 in our group therapy hierarchy at ATSA. Click here to learn more about our group therapies and levels.

Positive peer relationships are important for a child's social development , ego development, and identity formation. For children with selective mutism and/or social anxiety, or other anxieties, making friends can be challenging. We offer several groups at ATS to meet the needs of children with anxiety, at different stages of treatment.


Social Thinking Therapy Group at ATSA is considered an intermediary (Level 3) outpatient group.

The prerequisites are as follows:

  • Must have completed sessions at ATSA within the last three months, including at least one peer session (2:2 Child to Therapist ratio) or group session (3:1 Child to Therapist ratio).
  • Demonstrates the ability to separate from parent after a 5-min warm-up during individual therapy session and group therapy session.
  • Demonstrates the ability to respond directly to Group Therapist in the presence of a peer during the Preview Session (first session).
  • Demonstrates the ability to participate in verbal interaction with peers when prompted by Group Therapist during the Preview Session (first group session).

Readiness for this group can also be demonstrated by the following:

  • Has participated in Adventure Camp or Winter Adventure.
  • Has participated in Social Exposures Group or Social Thinking Group at ATSA.
  • Has participated in Courage Club Fall and Winter groups.

If you think an introductory group is more appropriate, then consider Come Play or Courage Club.


What to Expect

1 Preview + 5 Group Sessions = 6 Sessions, 90 min each

The purpose of a preview session is two-fold. First, it allows your child a chance to see what the group is about and see who else is registered before committing to the remaining 5 sessions of group. Secondly, it allows the clinician to assess whether or not your child is ready for this group. 

Group Agenda:

  • Drop off: 5-min warm-up with parents
  • 30 min: Social Concept Lesson
  • 40 min: Activity to reinforce lesson
  • 20 min: Awards and Funwork (Parents Attend)


NEW! 3-Day Intensive, 3 hours daily = 9 Therapy Hours

Will be offered June 25-27, 2024, 9am-12pm.



Group sessions are billed as 90-minute sessions. Click to register and see associated fees, which covers 6 sessions (1 Preview Session and 5 Group Sessions) or 3 sessions (3 hours daily, no preview session). If you cancel before the Preview Session or first day of therapy, you will be refunded for the full amount less a $35 administrative fee.

If your child attends the Preview Session and it is determined that he/she needs more therapy before participating in this level group, you will be refunded for the remaining sessions, and no administrative fee will be applied. Insurance CPT code is 90853. Statements will be provided to those who wish to submit to their insurance for reimbursement.

If you are not sure if your child meets the prerequisites for this group, talk it over with your child's therapist. If it has been over three months since your child has been in treatment at ATSA, then a refresher session may be necessary to reacquaint your child.

If it has been over six months since your child has been in treatment at ATSA, your child will need to complete a re-evaluation. If your child has never received treatment at ATSA, and you think this group is ideal for your child's needs, please contact ATSA at 630-230-6505 to set up an intake evaluation or click here to request an appointment.


Can't make this group? See our other groups here.