- Published on Wednesday, 04 November 2009 21:11
Where to start when using our child-centered products, Social Detective and Superflex?
We are thrilled you like Superflex and are finding it so helpful. The response to this superhero comic book curriculum has literally been overwhelming.
I have recently begun to find the words to explain the evolution of the teachings of Social Thinking...
Superflex is getting great feedback on how it gets kids onboard and motivated to look at their own behaviors... the purpose of Superflex is to teach students self-awareness, self-monitoring and self-control using related strategies initially introduced in our core Social Thinking books, Think Social curriculum, Thinking About You Thinking About Me, etc.
We then released the Social Detective comic book to focus on the Social Thinking Vocabulary, which is essential to carry across the school and home day; this book is often the starting place for direct work with our students. There has been a remarkably broad range of classroom teachers, principals, parents and therapists who are finding the magic of our Social Detective and Superflex books for introducing Social Thinking concepts to students, many of whom are "neurotypical"!
Our work continues to evolve. I started by writing books and teaching how to conceptualize Social Thinking and develop related Social Thinking strategies. This was done through our books, Inside Out: What Makes a Person with Social Cognitive Deficits Tick?; Thinking About You Thinking About Me, 2nd edition; Think Social: A Social Thinking Curriculum for School Age Students and A Politically Incorrect Look at Evidence-based Practices and Teaching Social Skills.
After teaching our core concepts to students for many years, our therapist Stephanie Madrigal developed the concept of the superhero Superflex who takes on his nemesis Rock Brain, which we then expanded to a full Team of Unthinkables representing other challenges our students face. This became Superflex: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum, which has provided great motivation to many students to learn about their inner superhero (Superflex) and how to help calm down some of their social behavioral challenges as embodied by the Unthinkables.
However, the dilemma became that given the charm of Superflex, many people started there, only focusing on encouraging our students to change their behavior without learning more deeply about how to problem-solve, figuring out the expectations of each person's "social town".
Thus, we created Social Detective to put the horse back in front of the cart.
Social Detective teaches students to view/observe the expectations of the greater world. We teach our younger kids (K-5) to start as detectives to help them begin to observe the world around them, develop an understanding of a social thinking tool box (using their eyes, ears and brain) and understanding the connection between the expected/unexpected and how this makes people (including our students) feel about the people around them. As students develop a working knowledge of the expectations they have for others in the social world and that the world has expectations for them as well, then we hone in on encouraging students to self-monitor how they are using their "Superflex" to meet those greater expectations.
Thus, there are really two important steps:
The first step requires that students develop a larger view of the social world by developing better understanding of social expectations and how to figure out what they are (this is summarized in the Social Detective book, but taught in much more detail in my other books for teachers, therapists, parents, etc., to read).
The second step requires working towards a student's own personal self-awareness of who they are in this greater world of social expectations. Superflex then teaches beautifully self-awareness, self-monitoring and self-control.
It is really important that we don't rush to teach our students self-control, as this turns more into behavior-monitoring rather than learning how to think more deeply and problem-solve the world... Superflex was developed after many years of teaching the basic understanding of the social world and how to think about it. Hence, we teach: Social Thinking and related strategies. Superflex and the Social Detective Books fuse this all together well.
For older students we have tried to help them conceptualize all of this with our book, Socially Curious and Curiously Social.
Hope this helps to put it all in perspective!
Michelle, Steph and Pam...
©2012 Social Thinking Publishing - Michelle Garcia Winner www.socialthinking.com