Home > Social Smarts

Social Smarts Group (ages 5 to 7) With Parent/Caregiver Component


Social Smarts Programs

The Social Smarts programs at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities are designed to help improve your preschool or elementary aged child’s social smarts, social curiosity, and social engagement.

Social Smarts programs, based on Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® model, provide structured practice of social thinking skills in a positive, supportive and kid-friendly environment. Social thinking ideas, language, and strategies will be woven into the entire camp experience. Through group activities, play, drama, and individual instruction campers will develop self-awareness, self-monitoring, self-regulation, and flexible social thinking skills. These tools have proven to be effective in improving social functioning and behavior at home, school, and in the community as well as building self-confidence and self-esteem.

Social Smarts programs are for children who:

  • Have a basic foundation of joint attention skills and average to above average receptive and expressive language skills;
  • Have social cognitive challenges as a result of ASD, ADHD, or other social communication challenges;
  • Are able to follow simple directions;
  • Are able to stay in the group (not wander off).

Program Specifics:

  • Because there are only few available spots in each session and the Social Thinking curriculum requires a child to have specific skills (e.g., average to above average language skills, joint attention, ability to stay in the group), we must conduct a screening to determine if your child would benefit from these programs
  • Based on the screening and a first come/first serve basis, information sessions will be scheduled to get to know the students, determine eligibility, and to answer any questions.

Parent/Caregiver Involvement:

  • For summer camp, Parent/Caregiver involvement includes reading materials provided each day and daily activities to practice at home.  It is highly recommended that parents attend social smarts parent education sessions prior to or in close proximity to children attending the camp.
  • For more information regarding our parent/caregiver education groups, please contact sherry.mergner@cidd.unc.edu or visit our Social Smarts Parent/Caregiver Group page.

Upcoming Social Smarts programs:

  • July 11-15, 2016 Social Smarts Summer Camp from 9am -12 pm
  • Ages of Children:  5-7
  • Number of Children in the Camp:  4-6 campers
  • Teacher to Student Ratio:  1:1
  • Location: CIDD, 101 Renee Lynn Court, Carrboro, NC
  • Cost: $475.00 ($100.00 deposit is required to register and payment is due on the first day of camp)
  • For more information on the camp, please contact Margaret DeRamus at Margaret.Deramus@cidd.unc.edu by Friday, May 6, 2016.
  • August 6 and August 13, 2016 Social Smarts Parent Education Group from 9am -12 pm (six hours) – please arrive by 8:45 to check-in both days
  • Location: CIDD, 101 Renee Lynn Court, Carrboro, NC
  • Cost: $200.00 per parent/caregiver or $300.00 for both parents/caregivers (receipt will be mailed to parents/caregivers in the event insurance reimbursement is possible). Payment is expected prior to the first session.
  • If you are interested in registering for this group, please contact Sherry Mergner at sherry.mergner@cidd.unc.edu. Childcare is not available.
  • Registration deadline is July 29, 2016.
  • Click Here for Social Smarts Parent Education Group flyer
  • Click Here for Social Smarts Parents Registration form

While the CIDD offers Social Smarts programs, based on the Social Thinking methodology, Margaret DeRamus, M.S., CCC-SLP, speech and language pathologist, and Sherry Mergner, MSW, LCSW, clinical social worker are also available to provide individual and small group sessions to individuals of all ages with social cognitive challenges (regardless of diagnosis label), as well as to provide consultation to schools and parents via education sessions.  Social Thinking is a language-based approach best utilized by people with solid language and intelligence, ages 4 years through adulthood. For more information contact:  Sherry Mergner at sherry.mergner@cidd.unc.edu or Margaret DeRamus at Margaret.Deramus@cidd.unc.edu.

Disclaimer: while these programs incorporate the Social Thinking concepts and strategies originally created by Michelle Garcia Winner, it is not affiliated with, endorsed or approved by her or Think Social Publishing, Inc.


Need Financial Assistance?  If you cannot cover the costs of this program, parents of children with developmental disabilities may receive funding through:  The Jean Wolff-Rossi Fund at:  www.nc-ddc.org/services/rossi_fund.html and First in Families of North Carolina – Contact Peter Mora at 919-251-8368 or centralcarolinafif@fifnc.orgIf you are approved for this funding, you are still required to pay the registration fee up front and the Rossi Fund/First and Families will reimburse you for the class.