Friday, August 16, 2013

Superflex Curriculum {Social Thinking Review}

Are you a fighting Rock Brain today? Are you having difficulty exhibiting flexible thinking? Having trouble compromising? Making bad choices? Don't worry! Just call on your Superflex skills!

If that was all giberish to you, that's ok! Rock Brain and Superflex are characters in the Superflex Curriculum.

Michelle Garcia Winner  (MGW) is the author of the Social Thinking series. Social Thinking is a cognitive approach to social language. Rather than teaching individual social skills, MGW's program focuses on a treatment framework and curriculum for teaching social thinking. As a part of the Social Thinking Blogging Team, I've already shared a few resources with you. The Incredible Flexible You and Thinking about You, Thinking about Me have already become frequently used resources in my speech rooms.

Many of you responded to the Thinking about You, Thinking about Me post and commented that you were using MGW's framework and theory for treatment. When moving from theory and planning to treatment, MGW has plenty of materials.

For my early elementary students I start with the Social Detective comic book. I've had this book for several years and used it with children with Autism and ADHD. When moving past the primary grades, MGW and Stephanie Madrigal, MS, CCC-SLP, have developed the Superflex: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum.

The Superflex Curriculum includes 13 different lessons, with specific skills and lessons for each part. The purpose (as outlined in the book) of the Superhero Social Thinking (SST) curriculum is to provide  the social-thinking educator, teacher or parent with a fun, motivating, and non-threatening way for our students to explore social thinking while increase their knowledge of social expectations, their awareness of their own behavior and how to modify their behaviors with Superflexible strategies.

Superflex is the social hero! He uses a flexible brain and skills to outsmart the Team of Unthinkables! The Unthinkables are full of powers that sometimes come over our brains. We have to do our best to avoid Rock Brain by using our Superflex Strategies.

Glass Man is one of the Unthinkables. He lets a person be flexible to some extent, but then, all of a sudden he just breaks. He doesn't melt down slowly, he quickly starts getting very upset. Glass Man usually thinks things aren't "fair". Space Invader is a character makes the person's body move into other people's personal space, not realizing how uncomfortable this makes others feel. The group of Unthinkables can be added to in order to meet your own students' needs.

There is also a comic book that accompanies the program. Here are a few screen shots from the comic book.

So let's walk through what a lesson looks like. This is a peek at Lesson #2

The lesson lays out the materials, vocabulary and activities. This activity focuses on the role of the brain. Students make a gelatin mold of the brain. This lesson is a great time to talk about using the brain for 'knowing' 'seeing' and 'understanding' in addition to its motor control of our bodies! 

The lesson asks student to make a gelatin mold and insert pieces of paper with examples of brain functions (breathe, move legs, make good choices, etc.) The lesson focuses on undertand the power of brain and explore flexible thinking. I borrowed this photo from In Spontaneous Speech, who has a post about making the flexible brain with her group! I can't wait to make it with my Social Group this year! 

A handout is included for each lesson. 

There is also a homework page included for each lesson. 

Pros: I love that the curriculum is very specific. It lays the framework for instruction, but also lets the teachers/SLPs add to the program and personalize it for each student. I am already dreaming up more Unthinkables for my specific students. 

Cons: While the lessons are detailed, they do require carryover from parents and teachers to be fully implemented. This vocabulary will need to be used throughout the child's life. I wish the program had more carryover pieces. This could include strategy cards for teachers carryover strategies. 

The Superflex program is available at the Social Thinking website or on Amazon.

Luckily I'm not the only one using Superflex. Here are just a few resources I found when I searched this afternoon.

Pinterest Page Mary Keiger (check out all her boards that related to social skills)
Jello Brain Example by In Spontaneous Speech
Jello Brain Example by Adventures Outside the Box
Daira's Pinterest Page
Patti's Pinterest Page.
Angela's website has a lot of social lessons (my favorite is Superflex 'headbanz" game adaptation)