Being able to negotiate social situations is a lifelong task that is essential for getting along with others, making friendships and holding a job. Many students who have difficulties with social cognition are not able to see the “Big Picture” of a situation. Rather, they hyperfocus on details that are often irrelevant. This is described in the literature as weakness in “central coherence” (Frith, 1989).
Interacting with students who are not Big Picture thinkers can be frustrating. Sometimes they have difficulty getting to the point in a conversation or are only concerned about their own thoughts. These behaviors not only annoy others but can be socially alientating.
Many small details make up the Big Picture in a social situation. Here are some things for students to think about:
1. Place Clues: What’s going on in the immediate environment? What kind of behavior is expected?
2. People Clues: What is my relationship with these people?
3. Nonverbal Clues: What are people communicating with their faces and bodies? What do their voices sound like?
4. Language Clues: What are people saying? Does their language match their feelings?
Understanding the Big Picture is all about thinking about situations as a whole rather than parts. My latest packet helps to develop these skills: Big Picture Thinking; Social Situation Analysis.
This packet was created to be downloaded and projected onto your iPad or Whiteboard for easy presentation. It requires no printing or prep and best of all is EXPANDABLE. Currently included are 5 social stories to be presented slide-by-slide. Each story has a script that can be read by the therapist or students. Featured stories are:
Party (Emotions): Tempers flare when Jonathan is pranked at a
Resolution): Alana pushes the boundaries of
friendship. Is her apology enough?
(Problem Solving): Uncontrollable circumstances cause big
disappointment for Danyela. Did she
(Friendships): Four friends plan a fun weekend. Do opinions matter?
(Friendships): Hard time fall on Kyle & his family. Are some questions too personal?
Each story also includes lots of discussion questions to help students focus on the Big Picture. My students love these visual stories as they relate to their interests and social interactions. I will be adding to this packet in the future; your purchase locks in the price!