Implementation Tips

Implementation Tips



This section will be a resource for TIPS related to issues of fidelity (implementing the strategy in the way we designed it) vs. adaptability (implementing the strategy with changes to suit your setting).  In general, social thinking strategies are meant to be user-friendly. However, there are some important considerations that we want to share in order to make sure that you are using the tools and strategies in the most effective, efficient and "correct" way possible.  We will also add pointers to consider and DOs and DONTs.  Our first target: Superflex.



Superflex Tip Image

This portion of the website will eventually have implementation tips for several social thinking frameworks, strategies and tools. We've decided to start with a widely used curriculum - Superflex.

The purpose of the Superflex curriculum is to teach self-awareness, self-monitoring, self-control and social problem-solving. But, it is critical that students have some understanding of basic social thinking vocabulary BEFORE launching into the Superflex curriculum.


While concepts and story are motivating to many students, we have found that due to its charm - some educators and parents skip the foundational lessons and jump immediately into Superflex and the Unthinkables. It is critical that you begin by teaching concepts related to social observation. 


Start by asking these questions:

1. Does the student know about using his/her social thinking detective toolbox to observe social situations?  Y     N

2. Does the student understand the concepts of expected and unexpected?   Y   N

3. Is the student using higher level language and participating in reciprocal conversational exchanges?  Y   N

4. Does the student understand the difference between fantasy (pretend) and reality?   Y    N

5. Is the student over the age of seven?   Y   N

6. Have I introduced core social thinking vocabulary (e.g., thinking with eyes, read the plan, expected/unexpected, smart guess, thinking about what others think, etc.)?  Y     N


If you answered NO to any of the questions above, then please don't launch into the Superflex curriculum series. Instead, begin with teaching the Social Thinking Vocabulary found in the Social Detective Comic book or Think Social Curriculum


Note: Social Detective is designed for kinder - 5th (and older) students and Superflex is designed for 3-5th graders. These are our suggested guidelines, but some children, on a neurotypical developmental pathway, are able to benefit from the strategies and lessons at an earlier age (2nd grade).


Click here to read the DOs and DONTs Article for using Superflex.

TIP: Always begin, regardless of a person's age, by teaching how to view/observe the expectations of the greater world through the use of a social thinking toolbox (eyes, ears feelings, brain). Teach how to understand the connection between expected and unexpected behaviors and the relationship to others' thinking and feelings. An individual must first develop an understanding that he or she has expectations for others in the social world AND that others have expectations too. Only then should “Superflex” be introduced.  

It is VERY important to NOT rush to teach self-control before an individual has a solid grasp on self-awareness.  If you find that your child/student doesn't have a clear understanding between what's real/pretend, is anxious about thinking about the Unthinkables, becomes obsessed with the Unthinkables, or just doesn't enjoy the concepts, then please discontinue using the curriculum and change to focusing on other lessons or the Thinkables. 

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