This is Day 29 in the series: 31 days on Living with ADHD, Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder: What We Have Tried, What Has Worked, What Hasn’t Worked, and Never Giving Up. Click here to see all the posts in this series.
About the time I started writing this 31 day series on Autism, ADHD, & SPD, a friend from church asked me if I had heard of Superflex. She said it had really helped her son who has similar issues as Mr Rockstar and is a few years older. I hadn’t heard of it so she offered to let me borrow the curriculum to look it over.
Shortly after talking with her, our behavioral therapist also asked me it I had ever heard of Superflex. She had just started using the program with a group of kids and was quite impressed with it.
What is Superflex®?
Superflex® is a Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum to help children with social or communication difficulties. It is perfect for ADHD or Autistic kids to learn these much needed skills. My behavioral therapist brought it up when I was explaining how Mr Rockstar just won’t let something go. He will get upset about something and continue to fixate on it even when there is absolutely nothing either him or I can do about it. It is just life. I needed a concrete way to explain to him sometimes you just have to let things go and be ok with it. Surely I thought there must be some practice sessions plus code words we could teach him?!? to help with this.
The Superflex curriculum was just what he needed! The curriculum is targeted to 2-5th graders but with only a little adaption it seems to be working ok with Mr Rockstar (6 years old and in Kindergarten). In the curriculum there are all these evil villains called the Unthinkables. They get into our minds and make us forget how to think about others.
In the first comic book, “Superflex Takes on Rock Brain and the Team of Unthinkables.”, we meet a boy Aiden who is very inflexible in his thinking. He is stuck on only what he wants to do and doesn’t do a good job considering others or listening to his mom.
But then Aiden finds Superflex’s brain sensor and becomes the new Superflex! It is his job to help Social Town learn flexible ways of thinking so they can defeat the Team of Unthinkables.
Some of the Unthinkables are:
- Rock Brain – He makes people get stuck on their ideas
- Glass Man – He makes people have huge upset reactions
- Mean Jean – She gets people to act mean and bossy
- Brain Eater – He distracts people
The Unthinkables are concrete objects to represent unacceptable behaviors. The comic book story makes it fun and entertaining to learn about them. And what kid doesn’t want to be a super hero? The first time I read the comic “Superflex Takes on Rock Brain and the Team of Unthinkables” to Mr Rockstar unfolded something like this:
Mr Rockstar: “You mean those are REAL!”
Me: “Yep they are. We all struggle with Unthinkables trying to take over our brain and make us not be nice to other people. But if we notice people around us and can be flexible thinkers then we too can be superflex heroes!”
Mr Rockstar: “That is SO COOL.”
I was shocked how quickly he picked up on the concept of the Unthinkables and was willing to stop, think and be flexible. I have to be careful to point out he is being a “rock-brain” in such a way that he is receptive to hear it. Usually I have been saying, “Ut-Oh I think you are getting some Rock-Brain. Knock it out using your super flex powers.” Mr Rockstar has decided taking a moment to blow raspberries is his way of “knocking out” an unthinkable. It gives him a moment to stop and notice he is getting stuck on something, or not listening, or being distracted and then he regroups and we come up with a plan together of what he could do instead.
Mr Rockstar has also started noticing when his sisters are being “Glass Man” or “Mean Jean”. I probably need to put a stop to this but for now I think it is easier for him to see and name the behaviors in others than himself. The next social rule to learn is that it is ok to name the behaviors in ourselves but we shouldn’t point out other people’s short comings. Probably not the best thing if he starts calling other kids “Mean Jean” or “Brain Eater” at our next playdate LOL.
I did hesitate for a moment when Mr Rockstar asked if the Unthinkables were real. In the past it would have been common for people to say they struggled with demons. This language has been lost in our society today. But isn’t that what the Unthinkables are? Our personal demons we struggle with? Mine demons would be Grump Grumpaniny and Worry Wall among others!
In some ways, the Superflex curriculum and other resources on socialthinking.com are very similar to the social stories I wrote about yesterday. Its a way to educate children on social rules they don’t naturally pick up. We have only done 3 of the 9 Superflex lessons so far but Mr Rockstar has been doing amazingly well since we started at being more socially flexible. I’m hoping the improvement lasts and the super flex curriculum continues to be a positive!
There are a lot more resources on socialthinking.com including a curriculum for children ages 4-7 called The Incredible Flexible You among other things. I pretty much want to buy everything on this website! I am hoping they have a Cyber Monday sale coming soon with the holidays!
Have you heard of Superflex? Which Unthinkables do you or your kids struggle with?