Two Social Thinking® Days for Young Children 2019

Only 100 seats available in-person | Watch live from anywhere in Canada via web streaming!

Thursday & Friday, April 11 & 12, 2019

Kari Zweber Palmer, MA, CCC-SLP
Social Thinking Training and Speakers' Collaborative, San Jose, California

SFU Harbour Centre

Two Social Thinking® Days for Young Children 2019

You can also register by calling us.

Level Introductory/Intermediate
For Community Professionals/Parents
Focus Younger Children with age-appropriate language skills
Autism-specific? No

Page Index

About the Event

Kari Zweber Palmer from the Social Thinking Training and Speakers' Collaborative is back in Vancouver to deliver two days of Social Thinking training. 

Live stream: Watch and participate live online registering for web streaming. This event is only available to web streaming registrants in Canada.

Day 1 - Teaching Social Thinking through Stories and Play

What looks like pure fun to us has important social consequences for the developing mind. The ability to participate in collaborative play and learn as part of a group depends upon having a flexible brain, competent language ability, self-regulation, and solid social-emotional development as well as the executive functioning skills to multitask the use of it all. Educational standards highlight the importance of classroom listening and collaboration, which are hallmarks of developmental learning in preschool and early elementary years.

This workshop is designed to give participants knowledge of the key researched components of social-cognitive development from birth to age 5 as they connect to the core concepts taught through the Social Thinking curriculum. Social-emotional growth and executive functioning/self-regulation - and their interactive impact on socio-communicative abilities - will also be explored from a research perspective. We will focus on how to put the research and best practices of teaching social information into action. Five Social Thinking Vocabulary concepts that have been adapted for children ages 4-7 will be introduced: thoughts and feelings, the group plan, thinking with your eyes, body in the group, and whole body listening. We will explore methods to teach these concepts through storybooks, music, structured activities, and play. We will also look at different strategies for service delivery in a variety of settings. Strategies for home and school are designed for young children with average to strong language and learning abilities.

Objectives for Day 1 

Participants will be able to:

  1. Identify at least three (3) key milestones that underlie the development of social cognitive skills from birth to age
  2. Explain the difference between a skills-based approach and a social cognitive–based approach.
  3. Explain why an early learner (ages 4–7) with social learning challenges may struggle to work and learn as part of a group.
  4. Describe ways to structure learning experiences in preschool and early elementary settings to promote social and emotional learning.
  5. Describe ways to teach at least three (3) Social Thinking Vocabulary concepts to students ages 4–7.

Day 2 - What Does Play Have to Do with Classroom Learning?  Exploring Social Executive Functioning and Social Emotional Learning for Early Learners

Social-executive functioning is at the heart of successful play, social interaction, and learning as part of a group. In this workshop, we’ll teach how to move from the five basic Social Thinking lessons in We Thinkers! Volume 1 Social Explorers (formerly The Incredible Flexible You!) to the more complex lessons presented in We Thinkers! Volume 2.

Attendees will engage in research-based group learning activities and learn strategies to apply in the classroom, clinic, or home the next day. Explore concepts such as the role of play and working as part of a group in the development of self-regulation, social problem solving, and executive functioning. We will also look at why a child who has difficulty with social attention will have trouble with sharing an imagination and interacting/playing with peers. Learn to teach kids to become better social observers and decipher the hidden rules and social expectations of a situation. From there we move to teaching strategies around the concepts of flexible versus stuck thinking, recognizing the size of the problem, making smart guesses, and sharing an imagination. Learn to use Social Thinking’s newest tool, the Group Collaboration, Play and Problem Solving (GPS) Scale, to understand the five different levels of play and how they relate to classroom participation and academic standards. Understand how this scale interfaces with and expands upon other known scales such as the Westby Play Scale (2000), a highly regarded standard in the literature of play assessment.

Learn how the lessons and activities in the We Thinkers! curriculum are adapted for each level of Social Thinking’s GPS and how the information can be used in Pre-K–2 mainstream classrooms as part of social and emotional learning (SEL), Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and Response to Intervention (RTI) programs. Our goal is to teach how to use We Thinkers! Volume 2 and related treatment* ideas with fidelity. 

Objectives for Day 2

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe two (2) strategies for helping individuals learn to be more flexible thinkers.
  2. Describe two (2) strategies to help individuals learn how problem solving involves self-regulation.
  3. Design a lesson to promote a child’s development of Shared, Collaborative, Imaginative Play (SCIP).
  4. Describe two (2) aspects of each of the five levels of play as explained through Social Thinking’s Group Collaboration, Play and Problem Solving (GPS) Scale.
  5. Define two (2) different strategies to provide differentiated instruction to students who have different interactive play abilities.
  6. Explain how to teach students to read the hidden rules to figure out what behaviors are expected in a specific situation.

Participant Comments

  • "Excellent, engaging presentation." 
  • "Built on my knowledge of Social Thinking concepts." 
  • "Wonderful strategies to use with my students and awesome ideas for ways to structure groups in the future." 

About the Presenter

Kari Zweber Palmer, MA, CCC-SLP researched and wrote "The Double Interview: Assessing the Social Communication of Adolescents with Asperger Syndrome" for her Master's Thesis. Kari trained with Michelle Garcia Winner at the Center for Social Thinking in San Jose, CA. Her diverse caseload included preschool aged children to young adults, all with varying levels of social cognitive challenges.  Currently Kari has a private practice, Changing Perspectives, in Excelsior, MN.


Workshop Schedule

8:30 - 9:00 Check-in
9:00 - 10:15 Session 1
10:15 - 10:45 Break (light snacks will be served)
10:45 - 12:00 Session 2
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch (bring or buy your own)
1:00 - 2:15 Session 3
2:15 - 2:30 Afternoon break (light snacks will be served)
2:30 - 3:30 Session 4

Note: This schedule is being used for both days. All times are Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).


Special group rate of $150/person* for 3 or more people watching via web streaming on the same screen - a great team building opportunity for schools and clinics to train staff. Contact us to learn more!
*Price subject to $50 increase after April 5th. Register early to save!

Date Parents, Para-Pros & Students Professionals
Early Bird Rate ends March 7th, 2019 $275 $325
Regular Rate ends April 5th, 2019 $325 $375
Late Rate begins April 6th, 2019 $375 $425


ACT's Bursary Program
ACT fundraises to provide bursaries for low-income participants and/or those travelling from outside their home regions to an event. ACT only provides bursaries prior to registration.  You are welcome to call or email ACT's office ( for more information. ACT provided over $23,000 in bursaries in 2018 and gratefully accepts donations to our bursary fund to allow us to provide a greater level of support. Donate to our bursary fund.
Learn more about how to register using the ACT event bursary program.

Autism Funding

Parents who receive Autism Funding may use 20% of the total for equipment, books, training and travel costs. ACT's live events are considered eligible expenses by the Autism Funding Branch. More information on using Autism Funding