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Superflex… A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum Package (two-book set)

Authors:
Stephanie Madrigal Michelle Garcia Winner

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  • Ages: 7-10+
  • Pages: 106
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9780979292248
  • Published: 2008

Description

Looking for an engaging way to teach social awareness and self-regulation? Superflex, to the rescue! Kids around the world are having fun learning strategies and practicing new skills to boost their “Superflex powers,” so they don’t realize they’re improving their self-regulation and flexible-thinking abilities! (New to Superflex? See what it’s all about in this short article.)


IMPORTANT: The first book in the Superflex series is You are a Social Detective!, which builds social awareness—the foundation of self-regulation. Please spend time teaching You are a Social Detective! before using the Superflex Curriculum with kids.


What's included

Superflex Curriculum: The 106-page curriculum contains lessons, activities, character profiles, and materials to create a personalized Superflex Superhero Training Academy for your students. Kids learn they each have Superflex (a flexible-thinking superhero) inside their brains. Superflex helps them take on the Team of Unthinkables* (we are officially changing Unthinkables to UnthinkaBots over the course of 2021-22), cartoon-like characters who embody different behaviors and challenges such as Rock Brain, who makes people get stuck on their own ideas, and Glassman, who makes people have huge upset reactions to small problems. The curriculum outlines the powers of each of the 14 Unthinkables and teaches strategies to help students subdue each Unthinkable as it invades their brains.


Introductory Storybook: Superflex Takes on Rock Brain and the Team of Unthinkables, is a 21-page storybook that tells the story of how Superflex came to be a superhero. The children enter Superflex's hometown, Social Town, and learn about the cast of sneaky Unthinkables who are trying to invade the brains of everyone who lives there. Superflex and his sidekick dog, Bark, go on their first mission to try to save the citizens of Social Town from the wrath of unflexible thinking brought on by the Unthinkables.


Why people around the world are using Superflex

Many children (with and without diagnoses) have difficulty regulating their behavior. Superflex provides a fun forum in which they can explore their challenges and identify ways to modify their thoughts and behavior in different settings. Depicting behaviors as cartoon characters (a.k.a. the Unthinkables) helps students learn about their own behavior in a non-threatening way. Superflex empowers and motivates students to self-regulate—reducing meltdowns and anxiety as students develop their own inner superhero.


Children with diagnoses who respond well to Superflex teachings often have autism levels 1 and 2, ADHD, social communication disorders, and others.


How do I “teach Superflex”?

First, teach You are a Social Detective! to help kids develop a solid foundation of social awareness so they can get the most out of using Superflex teachings. The Superflex Curriculum was designed to be used only after students have practiced being a “social detective”.


The curriculum is intended to be taught to children ages 7 to 10+, but can be tailored for use with younger and older kids. When teaching about Superflex to kids ages 5 to 7 or older kids who are immature, focus on developing awareness that their brains generate the powers of the Thinkables and Unthinkables. With ages 8 and up, if kids are able, encourage them to use self-regulation strategies to defeat the Unthinkables.


How to teach Superflex to kids ages 8+ (with average maturity): First, read the introductory Superflex storybook to introduce students to the characters. Then, read aloud from the curriculum for 20 minutes or so per day, depending on what your students can handle. The curriculum introduces the concepts of Superflex and the Team of Unthinkables through a series of lessons. Start by talking about how the brain works, how social information is part of the brain, how we can change our behavior, the flexible-thinking our brain is expected to do (represented by Superflex) and the thoughts that challenge our brains from doing our best (represented by the Unthinkables). Each lesson stands on its own and may take multiple sessions to teach. Teach slowly to help kids deeply understand the information and begin to integrate the concepts into their own thinking and behavior.


There is no “finish line” for working on these concepts. Once the concepts are taught through the curriculum, the next step is to help students use the vocabulary and strategies during real-time situations and interactions. It’s one thing to talk about Glassman as part of a lesson; it’s much more challenging for a student to 1) identify when Glassman is invading his or her brain, 2) think about the situation and how the student’s behavior is affecting others, and 3) employ one or more of the strategies taught in the Superflex Curriculum! Avoid only talking about Superflex during times of poor behavior—it’s really important to praise kids when you see them using Superflex strategies and thinking flexibly. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in motivating kids to improve their flexible thinking. Learn more key insights on how to teach Superflex in this free webinar.


Superflex is ME and YOU, and YOU, too!

It’s important to teach students that because Superflex lives within them, their Superflex looks like THEM. Superflex is not defined by a specific gender or ethnicity. Main character Aiden’s Superflex looks like HIM (the Superflex we see in the books), but my Superflex looks like ME, and your Superflex looks like YOU!


Use the Superflex is Me! Coloring Sheet to teach this concept and have kids draw their inner Superflex. Watch the video below to learn more about this lesson from Ryan Hendrix, a member of our Social Thinking Training and Speakers’ Collaborative.




Superflex Music CD (Sold Separately)

Supplement your teaching with Superflex music! We teamed up with Grammy-nominated songwriters to create 13 fun kid songs that support the concepts and strategies taught through the Superflex Curriculum. The music is available via CD and streaming through popular music platforms. Start singing those Unthinkables to rest! Preview the songs on this page.


How Superflex connects to the larger Social Thinking Methodology

The Superflex Curriculum is one of many products we use with students to build their social competencies. A more comprehensive two-book curriculum, Social Thinking and Me (Winner and Murphy, 2016) is designed for students ages 9 to 12 to read as they engage in social emotional learning in treatment groups, inclusion-based classrooms and/or at home. This set provides explicit instruction to help our students strengthen their social competencies in every setting.


 

*Name Change from the Team of Unthinkables to the Team of UnthinkaBots


We have officially changed the name of the Team of Unthinkables to the Team of UnthinkaBots. The Superflex curriculum was born in 2008, and over its lifetime we have relied on input and ideas from clients, students, families, teachers, and therapists in both the neurodivergent and neurotypical worlds. Using their feedback and our own clinical experience, we have refined the curriculum series to include Thinkables, expand the characters in Social Town, and add the You Are a Social Detective, 2nd edition, storybook as a way to welcome social learners into the Superflex Universe. Recently, while meeting with neurodivergent adults, we discovered that the concept behind the creation of the Unthinkables was misunderstood and, at times, misused in classrooms and clinics by having certain Unthinkables represent children or people, rather than specific thoughts or actions.


To encourage interventionists to use these concepts in the manner intended, we are changing the name of Unthinkables to UnthinkaBots. With this new name, social learners can now imagine the Bots that try to control some of our thoughts and actions. For example, Was Funny Once releases SillyBots to get us to use humor at unexpected times and in unexpected situations. We all can learn to tackle the SillyBots with strategies and tools from the Social Thinking® Methodology. We hope you will enjoy imagining new ways to think about the UnthinkaBot characters in classrooms, small groups, and at home! One more thing. We replaced 4 of the 14 “first generation” characters with new names: Mean Bean (previously Mean Gene/Jean), Me-Gull (formerly One-sided Sid), Body Drifter (formerly Body Snatcher), and Blurt Out Blue (formerly Grump Grumpaniny).


We will be updating our products with these changes over the course of 2021 and 2022. It makes sense that we’re teaching students to be superflexible, since we, as publishers, also flex a lot as we learn. We hope you enjoy incorporating these important updates.

Recommended Teaching & Learning Pathway

The Superflex Curriculum is more powerful when taught with other materials. Teaching social concepts should follow a natural sequence, from simple to complex, to support student learning. The following Teaching & Learning Pathway outlines the recommended teaching sequence by age group. As with our products, this pathway is relevant to clinicians, educators, parents—anyone helping a person develop their social competencies.

  • Ages 5-8
  • Ages 9-12

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Related Materials

10 DOs and DON'Ts for Teaching Superflex | Aug 2021

Author(s): Pamela Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP, and Michelle Garcia Winner, MA CCC-SLP

Superflex® has become super-popular! We have enjoyed hearing from so many people around the world about their love of Superflex and the Team of Unthinkables and Thinkables and the positive effect the Superflex curriculum has on helping individuals become better social thinkers and social problem solvers!

Superflex® the Team of Unthinkables and the Five-Step Power Plan | Aug 2021

Author(s): Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP

When we introduced the Superflex® teaching curriculum in 2008, little did we realize the far-reaching effect it would have on kids, parents, teachers, counselors, and clinicians across the country and around the world. Superflex and the engaging characters that are part of the curriculum – the Unthinkables and Thinkables – have been infused in creative ways into social groups, classrooms, even on a school-wide basis to help all students become better social detectives, social thinkers, and social problem solvers. In this article we review a brief history of Superflex and the Team of Unthinkables.

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