Superflex: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum Package
Superflex ®: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum provides educators, parents and therapists fun and motivating ways to teach students with social and communication difficulties (undiagnosed or diagnosed, such as Asperger Syndrome, ADHD, high-functioning autism or similar). The three part cognitive behavioural curriculum helps students to develop further awareness of their own thinking and social behaviours and learn strategies to help them develop better self-regulation across a range of these behaviours.
The Superflex Curriculum Package Includes
- The Superflex Curriculum soft covered, 106 page book to guide adults on how to teach the core concept.
- A comic book (21 pages), Superflex Takes on Rock Brain and the Team of Unthinkables, which introduces the basic characters through which we teach the curriculum.
- When should you use the Superflex Curriculum: Teachers, parents and therapists should only use Superflex after the core concepts introduced in the book You Are A Social Detective (a different product) are thoroughly taught to the student.
- Ages: The curriculum works best with elementary school children (grades 2nd-5th) as well as with immature older students who respond to visual books.
- Superflex Curriculum Book
The Superflex curriculum book offers clear lesson plans to help educators, SLPs, other therapists and parents create a personalized Superflex Superhero Training Academy for their students. The students learn how each of them have Superflexible capacities in their brains that can take on this Team of Unthinkables (Rock Brain, Topic Twister Meister, Mean Jean and Glassman to name a few), each embodied in a cartoon character as a different behaviour and challenge, accompanied by specific strategies to help subdue them. You can even print cards, Superflex award badges and handouts from the book.
The Superflex Comic Book
The package includes the colourfully illustrated 21-page storybook, Superflex Takes on Rock Brain and the Team of Unthinkables. This book tells the story of how Superflex came to be. The children will enter Superflex's town, Social Town, and learn about the cast of Unthinkables who are trying to overtake and rid the town of Superflex forever. Superflex and his sidekick dog, Bark, go on their first mission to try to save the citizens of Social Town. Depicting behaviours as comic book characters helps to remove blocks to the student's awareness of the behaviours, while the superhero Superflex helps build the thinking required to regulate those behaviours.
Why this Curriculum Has Been So Successful
Children with HFA, Asperger's, ADHD and like challenges have difficulty regulating their own behaviours in the moment. Superflex provides a fun forum in which they can explore their challenges and identify ways to modify their thoughts and related behaviours in different settings. Superflex empowers and motivates students to help themselves--reducing meltdowns and anxiety as the students discover and develop their own inner superhero.
Good social skills can be defined as "adapting efficiently in each context," meaning we have to read the hidden social rules in each social situation and then regulate our physical presence, eyes, language, emotions, reactions.
This requires highly flexible thinking. While some children learn to do this somewhat effortlessly, many students, even advanced, so-called normal-thinking students, have challenges in recognizing and applying these concepts needed for social cooperation. "Social smarts" only occur when students incorporate all this information and regulate their bodies and minds to show he or she can effectively adapt to others across environmental contexts, demonstrating they are considering other people.
Students who do not learn this information intuitively, but who function with emerging language-thinking skills, need to be taught these core concepts more explicitly. Superflex and the Team of Unthinkables shows students when they are using their own "social smarts" versus when their brains are getting sidetracked in less positive and social ways, as illustrated in the dominant thinking in the Team of Unthinkables. Kids enjoy being superheroes in training, flexing and building their social thinking and social skills.
How is Superflex Taught?
Superflex is to be used after the instructor (teacher, parent, etc.) is familiar with the Social Thinking vocabulary. Our book, You Are A Social Detective, introduces much of this vocabulary. Superflex is to be read in smaller sections to students. It will take 2-3 days of reading 20 minutes at a time or so.
The concepts of Superflex and the team of Unthinkables are taught across a series of many lessons starting with lessons about how the brain works, how social information is part of the brain, how we change behaviour, what our brain is expected to do socially (Superflex) and then the thoughts that challenge our brains from doing our best (the Unthinkables). Each lesson stands on its own... and each lesson can take multiple sessions for the kids to really process and respond to. There is no endpoint for working on these concepts once they are introduced within the 15 or so lessons; the information is then considered, applied and worked on for the rest of time. While the lessons should be taught at a discrete time (20-40 minutes), the application of the lessons is 24/7 in teachable moments. The teacher will want to reinforce how much Superflex is showing up in the kids brains, rather than just talk about when the Unthinkables are lurking about. More on how to teach is explained in the curriculum. Superflex is part of the larger comprehensive program taught through Social Thinking.
Superflex is ME and YOU, and YOU, too!
Superflex was created to help students understand more about their own flexible and not-so-flexible thinking. We can all relate on some level to imagining what it would be like to be a superhero or how much fun it would be to have superpowers. In teaching the Superflex curriculum, we want students to learn that Superflex is unique to each individual and is active when we're thinking flexibly. There's not one gender or ethnicity for Superflex. My Superflex will look like me, yours like you, and a teacher's Superflex will look like the teacher! In our books and materials, we visually portray Aiden's Superflex, so he's male. But Superflex can be tall, short, light-skinned, dark-skinned, male, or female.
Be sure in teaching Superflex that you convey this concept to your students so they are not confused and think that Superflex is only a male superhero. Superflex is YOU!