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What is Social Smarts™?
Social Smarts is a social skills training program for children aged 5 to 20. The goal of Social Smarts is to teach children/ adolescents the tools they need to be more successful in their everyday social interactions. Social Smarts combines elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Social Thinking® into a dynamic, activity-based curriculum that allows children to learn and practice social skills in a safe and supportive small-group setting. Social Thinking is a teaching methodology created by Michelle Garcia Winner which consists of lessons, teaching tools, the Social Thinking vocabulary, and original characters used by clinicians to illustrate social concepts and teach social strategies to children and adults. Learn more at

Who runs the Social Smarts program?
Social Smarts is run by Dr. Pam Struiksma, C.Psych. and her team of highly-trained staff.

Where does the program take place?
The Social Smarts program takes place at the Child & Youth Psychological Services office, located at 1175 Wilson St. E in Hamilton, Ontario.

How does the program work?
Social Smarts runs in different formats:
  • A week-long summer day camp in August
  • Weekly group sessions that run Tuesday or Wednesday evenings from September to June
  • Individual Therapy
Each class includes a parent education component during which parents review the social strategies and concepts that their children have learned and learn how to apply these strategies with their child at home.

Is Social Smarts right for my child?
We encourage parents to register their child for Social Smarts if he or she experiences difficulties with any of the following:
  • Establishing and maintaining friendships
  • Taking the perspective of others
  • Behaving appropriately in different situations
  • Communicating effectively with others
  • Adapting to changing situations
  • Responding to social cues
  • Understanding how his or her own behaviour impacts the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of others
  • Thinking too literally. Not seeing the grey in life
What will my child learn?
Children will learn strategies for understanding the thoughts, feelings, and verbal/non-verbal behaviours of others and for communicating with others in a socially appropriate manner. They will also learn how to identify and follow the "hidden rules" that determine appropriate behaviour in different social contexts. Children will practice conversational skills and friendship-making skills, learn to think more flexibly, and come to understand that their own actions and words can affect others (and others' impressions of them) in a positive or negative way. Importantly, children will have the opportunity to practice these skills with their peers through their participation in a variety of fun, engaging, and developmentally-appropriate group activities, games, and outings.

*This program, including its teacher or leader, is not affiliated with, nor has it been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by Michelle Garcia Winner and Think Social Publishing, Inc.

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