Dr. Karina Poirier

Center for Social Cognition

The Center for Social Cognition offers social skills therapy and an autism intervention program. All intervention programs are developed and implemented by Dr. Karina Poirier, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Dr. Poirier’s exceptional social skills therapy program develops and strengthens social skills that enable children to build meaningful and lasting relationships with peers. Children learn social interaction skills through modeling, coaching, and direct-instruction. The negative behaviors that isolate children from being accepted by peers are shaped into socially acceptable behaviors that attract peers. This widens children’s opportunities to demonstrate acquired play and friendship skills, conversational skills, empathy skills, and social problem-solving skills—the very characteristics that make children likeable and appealing to play with.

The Place for Developing Your Child’s Social and Cognitive Potential!

Program for Children with Autism | Irvine, CaliforniaThe Center for Social Cognition is here to help you with your child’s cognitive (thinking) and social deficits. We understand your needs and will enable your child to socially integrate in the school and community.

Social cognition has to do with how well your child works with his or her interactions with others. Children with autism are said to lack a “theory of mind” when it comes to befriending and interacting with others. They are often viewed as concrete thinker, impulsive, socially inappropriate, disorganized, inattentive, inflexible, and as lacking the ability to pursue long-term goals.

The CSC focuses on developing the “executive functions” processes of your child. This refers to emphasizing your child’s abilities to develop self-control over his or her actions. Your child will learn how to understand personal strengths and needs, set goals and plan out methods for achieving them, and how to use these goals and plans to behave and act on them in everyday life.

Executive functions (EF) are what the mind does to enable us to plan, carry out plans, act on our plans, evaluate our actions, and make changes when necessary to reach our objectives. They include memory, ability to control impulses, ability to evaluate one’s actions and change course, ability to plan ahead, and the ability to switch gears when one is unable to reach the goals.  They are important for academic, work, social success for your child.

Using executive functions as the platform for intervention will ensure your child to succeed at difficult and non-routine tasks.  Your child’s conscious mind engages executive functions processes when challenged with an unfamiliar task, which are crucial when it comes to proper cognitive (or “thinking”) and social development and behaviors. Consciousness relates to social functioning, so we will teach your child to behave appropriately and to stop sudden, unthinking impulse behavior. We will supply a caring and nurturing atmosphere where your child will learn to appreciate the boundaries and desires of others – as well as his or her own boundary structures.

We will use the intentional therapy approach, to help your child develop a more complete awareness of his or her interactive social strengths and weaknesses.

Your child will also learn to utilize language within the framework of his or her executive functions. Social understanding is acquired largely through communication, and participation in your child’s “mental world” requires it. Through language, your child will become part of “the community of minds” of others. Your child will learn about how minds, emotions and desires work, both for him or herself and for others.

The main reason we emphasize executive functions over other basic developmental processes such as the development of basic language and cognition processes is that your child begins developing normal executive functions in early infancy and all throughout childhood.

Group and Individual Therapy

Social Skills Individual and Group Therapy for Children with Autism | Irvine, CaliforniaThe Center for Social Cognition provides social and cognitive skills training in a social setting, for children or adolescents affected by either Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Asperger Syndrome (AS). Call us at (949) 788-9299 to schedule a consultation. We are here to meet your child’s every developmental need.

Social cognition is the ability to understand that oneself and other people have different points of view and operate with different needs and goals. Individuals with autism are said to lack a “theory of mind” because they tend to be less proficient “mind readers” compared to typical developing individuals. For those who are unable to predict what others are likely thinking or what they are about to do, life is a social minefield where those with social-cognitive deficits are often relegated to the safety of routine and repetitive tasks.

Below are few goals of the social skills therapy. Your child will:

  • Develop adequate awareness of his/her interactive strengths and weaknesses.
  • Develop adequate knowledge of social rules, roles, and routines.
  • Learn how to correctly perceive and interpret the social behavior of others.
  • Learn how to communicate intentions effectively.
  • Learn how to initiate and maintain interaction with others.
  • Learn how to flexibly change communication styles to meet changing social demands.

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