Who should attend social learning groups?

A number of diagnostic labels represent persons with some aspects of social cognitive deficits, these labels may include:

  • All Autism Spectrum Diagnosis (ASD): Asperger Syndrome (AS), Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) and Autism.
  • Non-verbal Learning Disability (NLD)
  • Attention Deficit Disorder, with or without hyperactivity (ADD, ADHD)
  • Persons without a diagnostic label who have social learning challenges

Social learning therapy best meets the needs of students with near average to way above average verbal intelligence.

Return to top

What are some of the characteristics a person with social learning deficits may have?

  • Few friends/ loner
  • Social anxiety
  • Socially awkward
  • Does not get the big picture or “gist” of a conversation.
  • Does not know how to “read others”
  • Does not pick up on non-verbal cues ( i.e. body language, facial expressions, context, etc.)
  • Lack of reading comprehension
  • Difficulty with time management
  • Difficulty planning and organizing social outings as well as school assignments.
  • Difficulty taking notes in class
  • Difficulty with cooperation and negotiation
  • Difficulty with figurative language/non flexible use of language
  • Difficulty using language to initiate and maintain social relationships.
  • Difficulty taking perspective and showing empathy.
  • Difficulty with quantity, quality, relevance, and clarity of discourse.
  • Difficulty holding a job.

(To name a few)

Return to top

Why participate in “social learning” therapy and not a traditional social skills workshop?

Social Skills training based on behavioral principals such as repetition and reinforcement have proven to be successful for children with autism and is widely used with toddler and preschool aged children. However, what is missing is the social thought process behind the action. Think Social East Bay teaches the necessary ” social learning” that will result in the production of the specific social skills. Teaching the thought processes behind the social skill enhances carryover and generalization of the social skill into new and novel contexts and environments.

Return to top

How do we group our students?

Students are grouped with peers of approximate age and social cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Cognition, perspective taking abilities, social language, auditory processing, and behaviors are all considerations with group placement.

Return to top

What do we teach?

Lessons are dependant on the needs of individual students. The following is a sample of concepts that are explored and not meant to represent a comprehensive list.

Early Elementary School

  • Focus heavily on social interaction.
  • Non-verbal play
  • Observation
  • Imitation
  • Learn to make “smart guesses” about the social world around them.
  • Familiarity of social expectations across environments and context.

Older Elementary School (3rd grade and above)

  • Social relatedness
  • Organizational skills
  • Visual organizational systems to help conceptualize both social interactions and academic work.
  • Expectations for homework time, as well as getting homework back to school!
  • Learn to make “smart guesses” about the social world around them.
  • Familiarity of social expectations across environments and context.

Middle School:

  • Self esteem
  • Organization
  • Non-verbal/ body language skills
  • Expected behaviors for middle school
  • Hidden Rules of Middle School

High School and beyond:

  • All of the above concepts related to middle school
  • Self advocacy
  • Social Networking
  • Acquaintances vs. friends
  • Social Fake (We all do this for much of our day).
  • When to use our “Brain Filter” and not blurt out all that comes to mind.
  • How to “read” a situation by determining “relevant information’”, accurately interpreting the information, and understanding how to react appropriately to the social situation.
  • Figuring out what people “mean” by what they say.
  • Appropriate discourse including quantity, quality, relevance, and clarity.

And much, much, more!

Return to top


Think Social East Bay provides both individual and group therapy. Therapy is scheduled in 50-minute sessions once or twice weekly. The needs of the client, the impact on social and educational performance and the family’s specific situation will all impact the schedule options. Following the therapy session a ten-minute parent wrap-up is conducted In order to maximize progress and carryover of learned skills.

Return to top


Our office is open for appointments weekly, Monday through Friday.

Please call (510) 444-8732 for schedule information, or send an email to

Return to top

Contact us

In order to address concerns and questions that parents might have TSEB offers a meet and greet for parents as well as potential students. Call to schedule your meet and greet today.

Return to top