The Social Mind provides unique training opportunities for professionals, paraprofessionals, parents and carers, working with kids and adults with social learning challenges. We also distribute a specialised range of educational resources.
Our aim is to support those amazing people working to help kids and adults with social learning challenges, to make a contribution to their families and to their communities, and to lead fulfilling lives. We support all those out there making a difference to social development, one life at a time, you are the people who inspire us.
The Social Mind is a family business owned and operated by Peter and Nicole. Peter spent his career developing skills as a therapist, an educator and an organisational development consultant. He was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2008 to study innovative ways to support those with social development challenges and spent three months visiting programs across the USA and UK. During this trip Peter studied in Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking Clinic in California, attended as many of Michelle’s workshops as he could, and visited numerous programs and practitioners across the USA and UK who use innovative approaches to teach social development across the lifespan.
Following this study tour, Peter invited Michelle Garcia Winner to visit Australia. Peter & his partner Nicole, personally funded five workshops across Australia in 2010. How hard can it be? Well it was hard, but that was the start. There were books left over following Michelle’s first tour of Australia and Michelle asked Peter & Nicole if they could sell them. They set up a website and those books sat in their hall cupboard for years.
But you have to start somewhere when you believe in something. There have been many lessons along the way, many mistakes and some failures but Peter & Nicole have never given up. The business Peter & Nicole set up in 2010 to host those first workshops, Social Inclusion Australia, is now a company, The Social Mind Pty Ltd. The business moved out of the hall cupboard years ago and now imports stock from the USA every few weeks to keep up with the demand.
Peter & Nicole host training events featuring quality overseas speakers across Australia. Their training opportunities will expand into New Zealand in 2020. Their aim is to make available in Australia and New Zealand, the same high quality training Peter had access to during his 2008 Churchill Fellowship to the USA & UK.
Nicole has been Peter’s business partner from the start. Nicole has an art history & curatorial background and apart from being a fine arts administrator, Nicole has managed projects ranging from large aid & development projects in third world countries to the events of a symphony orchestra. Nicole is a member of the board of an arts organisation in Canberra and mentors women seeking similar leadership roles in organisations. In her spare time Nicole is an avid reader and dreams of walking the Comino de Santiago trail.
Peter & Nicole have three boys aged 9, 12 & 15, and two dogs, a Beagle and a Welsh Springer Spaniel. The boys, the Beagle and the Welshie are growing up grappling with all aspects of social development and providing their parents with plenty of opportunities to “develop” themselves. The boys are big fans of Superflex and have submitted new ideas for “Thinkables” and “Unthinkables” to Michelle Garcia Winner in the hope that they will one day be published. Never a dull moment in our house!
Our business is based on some key beliefs and values that are important to us. Those beliefs and values have shaped who we are and inspire what we do.
We believe that kids and adults with social learning challenges can make a positive contribution to their communities and live fulfilling lives, and like all of us, they do better with support.
We believe that some kids and adults may have a “lagging social development skill set” when compared with their peers, and that teaching the social development skills they need to navigate their way through life, is a better approach to punishing them for not having yet developed those skills.
We believe that relationships provide the context for teaching and modelling social competencies. Progress can be slow and at times difficult, but it is important to hang in there, be authentic, see every “problem” as a teaching opportunity and keep moving forward.
We believe it is important to get good training and support to keep moving forward. This is why the educational resources we sell and the speakers we bring to Australia, are those we consider to be some of the best available, so parents, carers and professionals are well equipped and well supported in the important task of teaching our kids and our clients the social development skills they may lack.
Based on these values, Peter & Nicole have taken the business from its roots in their hall cupboard, to a business that provides educational resources and training throughout Australia, New Zealand and beyond. Our aim has always been and remains, to make a positive contribution to social development and to the lives of individuals.
The Social Mind partners with with authors and speakers who are making a difference in their community and around the world. Our aim is to increase that list so that our clients meet some of the best thinkers in the world of Social Development both locally and from overseas. A list of our Associates can be found here.