Social Thinking®


The ILAUGH® social thinking program developed by Michelle Garcia Winner explores a variety of areas that contribute to social thinking and related skills. The ILAUGH® acronym represents elements of disability that contribute to social interaction skills, personal problem solving skills and organizational skills.

Deficits in social cognition are difficult to reveal through traditional standardized assessment tools as many children with social cognitive deficits fall in the “average range” on standardized measures of expressive and receptive language. Yet, there’s “still something...”. These children tend to have difficulty initiating (I), listening with their eyes and brain (L), thinking abstractly and making inferences (A), understanding other’s perspective (U), getting the big picture (G), and understanding humor in terms of the subtleties and timing (H). An ILAUGH® assessment is designed to assess a child’s individual strength and weaknesses in these areas. The ILAUGH® approach provides an innovative framework to examine a child’s social cognition through formal and informal testing procedures and provides intervention designed to address a child’s social cognitive deficits in a group format.

The ILAUGH® approach is appropriate for children who are at least 7 years old and have demonstrated average to above average cognitive skills. The approach is utilized in a small group setting of 4-6 children. Those who may benefit from this approach may include, but are not limited to, persons diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Non-Verbal Learning Disability, High-Functioning Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

If you are interested in pursuing a social thinking assessment for your child or if you have any questions, please contact The Therapy Place.

Social Thinking Deficits
Is this child a candidate for referral? (Yes-if any of the following are present)
  • Does not initiate appropriate social interactions or sustain social interactions
  • Has difficulty working in groups
  • Does not easily process the meaning of spoken messages
  • Does not observe/take into account other’s social cues due to limited eye contact
  • Has difficulty attending in large groups; needs more direction
  • Is limited in the ability to infer meaning, problem solve and predict academically and socially
  • Very literal in interpretation of all materials
  • Difficulty recognizing and incorporating other person’s perspectives into how to regulate social relationships
  • Difficulty understanding the perspective of characters in literature
  • Has difficulty talking about other people’s topics of interest
  • Makes off topic remarks or over focuses on details or topics of interest
  • Attends to details, but misses the underlying concept of assignments/stories/pictures
  • Has a good sense of humor, but may miss the subtleties of humor
  • May not understand the difference of being laughed at or laughed with
  • Doesn’t understand when” too much” humor is “too much”

A child who exhibits these difficulties may be appropriate for a social thinking assessment. The assessment includes both standardized and informal tasks which look at a child’s ability to take another’s perspective, initiate asking for help, topic initiation and maintenance and overall organization. Upon completion of the evaluation, a comprehensive assessment complete with findings and recommendations will be forwarded to the client, as well as the referring physician.