Do you want to be my friend? That depends …. Thinking socially: tools for making and keeping friends

This course will provide current research and perspectives into the strengths and gaps that children with hearing loss have when it comes to thriving socially.


  • Tuesday, 11 September, 2018
    9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Course Code:   CPE18TST

Course Information

"Children should be taught how to think not what to think"  Margaret Mead

Been able to use their technology to access the curriculum, develop complex language and literacy skills is only a part of what deaf children need as they move from childhood, through adolescence to adulthood. Families will share with us that often the main concern for them as their children settle into primary and secondary school is whether they are able to make and keep friends and how they deal with the stresses that life throws with them.

This two day courses will consider and identify the skills that are needed for all children and teenagers to thrive socially and emotionally then think about how deafness impacts on this process. Day 1 will provide current research and perspectives into the strengths and gaps that children with hearing loss have when it comes to thriving socially. Through a mixture of presentations, interactive group work and sharing of research and resources we will explore the components that are needed for a solid foundation for social interaction. The aim is to become more confident at identifying those areas that having the biggest impact on their socialising and how we can best support them.

During day 1 we will use the principles and practice from Michelle Garcia Winner’s and Crookes’s  "Social Thinking" programme as a framework for considering social skills. It will explore the underpinnings of social thinking, including topics such as executive functioning and theory of mind.  There will be opportunities to start to share ideas as well as hear how the resources and ideas are being put into practice with teenagers at the Ear Foundation.

Day two will follow on from the theoretical foundations and practical information explored around thriving socially and using the Social Thinking programme. The focus will be to explore the different practical resources and how you may apply them in practice. Day 2 will also explore some of the other skills needed for thriving socially including resilience.  I will share some of the ideas and resources that we are using at the Ear Foundation to explore resiliency, particularly with our teenagers. The day will touch on the use of technology and online materials with research around how these are being used. I will also be sharing our newly established young leaders programme, helping teenagers and young deaf adults cope with the challenges of transitioning into adulthood. We have an exciting new project that pulls together the resources and ideas around social thinking, resilience, encouraging independence and leadership.

Learning Objectives:

The delegate will be able to:

  • Fill in a detailed matrix of a case study about teenager with hearing loss and recognise and describe the difference between behaviours that are indicative of theory of mind, executive functions and/or deafness.
  • Name three components that make up the foundations of the Social Thinking programme and be able to write a paragraph describing the difference between social skills and social thinking.
  • Describe one Social Thinking resource that they will apply and use in practice.
  • Write 3 actions to put into practice, short, medium and long term when it comes to resilience


Topics Covered:

  • Introducing Social Thinking: Understanding the social thinking tree, and the ILAUGH model
  • Exploring executive functions and theory of mind and thinking
  • Social thinking curriculum
  • Social behaviours and their impact on social situations and creating social behaviour maps
  • Building a social thinking profile
  • Exploring the four steps of perspective taking and the four steps of communication
  • Measuring social competency
  • Resilience


Please note that this course is registered with AG Bell for 12 CEU points.








Completing Do you want to be my friend? That depends .... Thinking socially: tools for making and keeping friends will contribute 13 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 1.1.2 and 1.5.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.


  • Diana Harbor
    Diana is dual trained as a Speech and Language Therapist and Audiological Scientist and joined the Ear Foundation’s education team in 2005 as part of the education and family programme. Along with taking an active part in the presentation of courses both in the UK and with our partners abroad, she enjoys being part of the development of resources and publications. She is also actively involved in the Ear Foundation’s “Teens Unite“ programme, inputting into the curriculum  and has undertaken several research projects in this area. Diana's focus over the last few years has been looking at what skills are needed for children with hearing loss to really thrive socially with a particular interest in encouraging their social thinking skills. Finally Diana is particularly involved in the exciting growth of the Ear Foundation’s education online resources, including the management of the Sounding Board website and annual virtual conferences. Professional Group: Speech and Language Therapist and Audiological Scientist



361-365 North Rocks Road, North Rocks, New South Wales, 2151, Australia


North Rocks, Sydney, Australia

Sydney is located on Australia’s south-east coast. With an approximate population of 4.5 million in the Sydney metropolitan area the city is the largest municipality in Australia. Sydney is easily accessible by air, rail and road networks from other Australian cities.

Located approximately 26 km north-west of the city centre, Renwick Centre is accessible via private and public transport to metropolitan areas such as Epping, Parramatta, Hornsby and the city.

North Rocks is a suburban area of Sydney and is the home of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children since 1961.

Public Transport

There are several public transport options for getting to and from the Renwick Centre within the Sydney metropolitan area.


Cityrail train stations are located in Epping (6 km away) and Parramatta (7km away) and have connecting bus services (refer to Buses section below) to the Centre.

Epping train station is on the Northern, Newcastle and Central Coast lines with a journey time of approximately 30 minutes to the city (Central, Town Hall and Wynyard stations) and 20 minutes to Strathfield or Hornsby stations.

Parramatta train station offers frequent services to the city (about 40 minutes of travel time) and is located on the Western, Cumberland and Blue Mountains lines.

Both stations are wheelchair accessible.


There is a bus stop directly outside the RIDBC campus – services to Epping and Macquarie Centre – and another across the road outside the Westfield Shopping Centre for services to Parramatta and Blacktown. For latest info on these routes, please visit the Sydney Buses website.

Route Destination Wheelchair Accessible
549 Epping Most
546 Epping via Carlingford Most
546/549 Parramatta Most
630 Macquarie Centre No
630 Blacktown No
610/619* City Few
610/619* Rouse Hill Few

* Access to these bus services is from the M2 motorway at Barclay Road bus stop, a 20 minute walk (1.4 km) from the Centre.

Sydney Airport

Sydney Airport has domestic and international terminals and is approximately 35 km south-east of the Renwick Centre.

Cityrail train stations are located within the domestic and international terminals. To get to the centre, you will need to change trains at Central to an Epping or Parramatta service and then either take a taxi or bus the remaining distance to the centre. Journey time by public transport is approximately 90-120 minutes.


Companies providing a taxi service in the Sydney area include Premier Cabs (Phone: 13 10 17), Silver Service (Phone: 133 100), Taxis Combined (Phone: 8332 8888) and RSL Cabs (Phone: 132 211).


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