Helping a 3rd grader improve his social perspective taking skills - ADHD Dude - Ryan Wexelblatt


Helping a 3rd grader understand his buddy's thoughts about a comment he made about him.

I use a whiteboard a lot when I work on perspective-taking with kids because I think it helps make an abstract concept more concrete.
When kids with social learning challenges unintentionally make comments that could be perceived as mean or hurtful the adults around them often try to correct their behavior by saying "that's mean" or "that's inappropriate". If they're familiar with Social Thinking terminology they may say "that's unexpected". The problem with this is that it's not teaching how to think about others' thoughts about their words/behavior, based on the context of the situation.
Every social interaction is context-dependent which is why learning "social skills" in most social skills group is not a productive use of time. Teaching social skills is often teaching scripted behaviors, not teaching about how to think socially about others in different contexts. Context can be an abstract concept for many individuals with ADHD.
This third grader, "Bill" whom I work with recently made a comment to his friend Dom about the fact that Dom still needs to use training wheels on his bike. I drew this to illustrate what Dom's thoughts (in his brain) about Bill's comment might have been.
I never told Bill that what he said was wrong or inappropriate, rather I focused on helping him to understand Dom's thoughts, which he argued with me about it and tried to say that Dom didn't feel that way. I explained to him that Dom didn't share what was written on this board because Dom was using his brain filter to keep his hurt feelings inside.
I don't waste time "sugarcoating" things for kids or play guessing games with them to try to help them develop perspective-taking skills. I get to the point right away. This is antithetical to what I learned about being a therapist, which is why I no longer call myself a therapist.
My goal here is to move treatment for ADHD beyond the narrow confines of "therapy" and create a more practical, relatable & helpful approach to addressing ADHD and social learning challenges.

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[In case you can't read the board it says: "I already feel bad that I still have to use training wheels, now I feel worse."]