Social Thinking and Intellegence

Social thinking skills keep adults from consistently put their foot in their mouth or sharing too much personal information. When these skills are not understood, you have an adult that is like a bull in a china shop.

All of these adults began as children with weak social thinking skills.

Children need strong skills in this area.

What Is Social Thinking and Intellegence?

It is...

1. ...a valuable skill that begins in infancy and continues throughout life. It is the ability to think about and apply knowledge appropriately in social situations.

2. ...the ability "to act wisely in human relations.”

3. ...any skill facilitating interaction and communication with others.

They are both a form of social intelligence. Regardless of the name, it is the ability to establish and maintain positive and appropriate interactions with peers and adults is one of the most important aspects of a child's development, yet 50 to 60 percent of children with ADHD have difficulty with peer relationships.(1)

It is not limited to children or adults with ADHD. It also includes disorders such as Aspergers, Autism and other developmental delays. Adults with executive function weaknesses also struggle.

These individuals often experience difficulties, rejection, and interpersonal relationship problems as a result of their inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

While we may not consciously think about it, positive and effective interaction with others involves being attentive, responsible, and the ability to control impulse behaviors.(2)

How the Social Piece Affects Children

When a child is struggling with the this piece, there are many things you can do to help make the connection. Michelle G. Winner's Center for Social Thinking has developed a technique called Behavior Mapping . Children are explicitly taught how their actions, or lack of, create behavioral consequences.

Games and activities are a great way to learn social skills. They include role playing, practice play dates, detective work and more. In each game, a skill is either observed, practiced or reinforced. Learning it once isn’t enough; kids need lots of practice.


1. Gresham, F., & Elliott, S. (1993). Social skills intervention guide: Systematic approaches to social skills training. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press, Inc.

2. Anderson, N.H. (1968). Likeableness ratings of 555 personality–trait words. Journal of Social Psychology, 9, 272–279.