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JADD Research Supports Using Comics and Superheroes as Visual Supports for Teaching Theory of Mind and Improving Social Skills (and Social Thinking) in Individuals with ASD

Cynthia Waugh and Joan Peskin

JADD

The May 2015 volume of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders recently published two studies related to using visual supports (comics and superheroes) for teaching social skills as well as deeper social thinking abilities. Both studies add to the pool of studies supporting the underlying evidence base and structure of the Social Thinking methodology.


The present study examines the efficacy of a social skills and Theory of Mind (S.S.ToM) intervention for children with high-functioning ASD. Children were taught to identify and consider their peer’s mental states, e.g., knowledge, emotions, desires, beliefs, intentions, likes and dislikes, while learning friendship-making skills and strategies, through the use of visual scaffolds in story format. Compared to two control groups, S.S.ToM participants demonstrated significantly greater gains on measures of Theory of Mind and social responsiveness. At a 3-month follow-up assessment, improvements appeared to have been maintained and continued gains were observed. These results provide support for the utility of a visually supported Theory of Mind and social skills intervention that may be delivered in community settings.


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Enhancing Curriculum with Social Thinking Comics & Superheroes


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 behavioral curriculum helps students to develop further awareness of their own thinking and social behaviors and learn strategies to help them develop better self-regulation across a range of these behaviors.

Superflex: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum Package

The package includes the colorfully 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 behaviors as comic book characters helps to remove blocks to the student's awareness of the behaviors, while the superhero Superflex helps build the thinking required to regulate those behaviors.




You are a Social Detective!

You are a Social Detective!

 

Every one of us is a Social Detective. We are good Social Detectives when we use our eyes, ears, and brains to figure out what others are planning to do next or are presently doing and what they mean by their words and deeds. This entertaining comic book offers different ways that can be reviewed repeatedly with students to teach them how to develop their own social detective skills. Enjoy watching your students and kids blossom day-by-day into successful Social Detectives!




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