Superflex… A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum Package (two-book set)

Stephanie Madrigal Michelle Garcia Winner

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  • Ages: 7-10+
  • Pages: 106
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9780979292248
  • Published: 2008


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’s syndrome, ADHD, high-functioning autism or similar). The three-part cognitive behavioral curriculum helps students develop further awareness of their own thinking and social behaviors and learn strategies to help them develop better self-regulation across a range of behaviors.


The Superflex Curriculum Package Includes

  • The Superflex Curriculum: 106 page book to guide adults in teaching the core concepts.
  • All handouts and relevant teaching materials are included in the book.
  • Superflex Takes on Rock Brain and the Team of Unthinkables, a 21-page comic book which introduces the basic Unthinkable characters through which we teach the curriculum.
  • When should you use the Superflex Curriculum: Teachers, parents  and therapists should only use Superflex after the core concepts introduced in the book You Are A Social Detective (a different product) are thoroughly taught to the student.
  • Ages: The curriculum is geared to elementary school children (grades 2nd-5th) but can be used  with immature older students who respond to visual books.


IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT TEACHING SUPERFLEX:  Teachers, parents  and therapists should only use Superflex after the core concepts introduced in the book You Are A Social Detective are thoroughly taught to the student.


The Superflex curriculum book offers clear lesson plans to help educators, SLPs, other therapists and parents create a personalized Superflex Superhero Training Academy for their students. Students learn they each have a Superflex superflexible thinking superhero inside their brains. Superflex helps them take on the Team of Unthinkables (Rock Brain, Topic Twister Meister, Mean Jean and Glassman to name a few), cartoon-like characters who embody different behaviors and challenges. For instance, Rock Brain makes people get stuck on their own ideas, or Glassman makes them have huge upset reactions. Each of the 14 characters’ powers are described and teaching materials include specific strategies that can help students subdue the Unthinkable that is invading their brain. You can even print cards, Superflex award badges and handouts included in the curriculum.


The Superflex Comic Book

The Superflex Curriculum package includes a 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 enter Superflex's town, Social Town, and learn about the cast of sneaky 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.

Why this Curriculum Has Been So Successful

Children with HFA, Asperger's, ADHD and other social emotional learning challenges have difficulty regulating their own behaviors in the moment. Superflex provides a fun forum in which they can explore their challenges and identify ways to modify their thoughts and related behaviors in different settings. Depicting behaviors as comic book characters helps students learn about their own behaviors in a non-threatening way,  while the superhero Superflex helps build the thinking required to regulate those behaviors. Superflex empowers and motivates students to help themselves--reducing meltdowns and anxiety as the students discover and develop their own inner superhero.


Good social skills can be defined as considering other people and "adapting efficiently in each context." To do this we have to read the hidden social rules in each social situation and then regulate our physical presence, eyes, language, emotions, and reactions.


This requires highly flexible thinking. While some children learn to do this somewhat effortlessly, many students, even advanced, so-called normal-thinking students, have challenges in recognizing and applying these concepts that are at the heart of social cooperation and social problem solving. "Social smarts" only occur when students incorporate all this information and regulate their bodies and minds to show they can effectively adapt to others across environmental contexts. 


Students who do not learn this information intuitively, but who function with emerging language-thinking skills, need to be taught these core concepts more explicitly. Superflex and the Team of Unthinkables help students understand and become more aware of their own thinking and behaviors: when they are using their  social smarts versus when their brains are getting sidetracked in less positive and social ways. The different Unthinkables help them zoom in on what challenge they may be facing in the moment and the strategies help them learn to overcome that Unthinkable’s powers. Kids enjoy being superheroes in training, flexing and building their social thinking and social skills.


How is Superflex Taught?

Superflex was designed to be used only after students have been introduced to the Social Thinking concepts included in our children’s book You are a Social Detective and they have worked through related activities from our book, Think Social: A Social Thinking Curriculum for School Age Students (Winner, 2005). This gives our learners a good foundation in being a social thinker and Social Detective so they get the most out of using Superflex.


The Superflex Curriculum book is to be read in smaller sections to students. It will take several days of reading 20 minutes at a time or so, depending on the level of social thinking and social learning challenges in your students. 


We introduce the concepts of Superflex and the Team of Unthinkables through a series of lessons. We start by talking about how the brain works, how social information is part of the brain, how we can change our behavior, what our brain is expected to do socially (Superflex) and then the thoughts that challenge our brains from doing our best (the Unthinkables). Each lesson stands on its own.and each lesson may take multiple sessions to teach so that kids grasp what we’re teaching and can begin to integrate into their own thinking and behavior. 


There is no “finish line” for working on these concepts. Once they are introduced within the 15 or so lessons included, the next step is to help students continue to use the vocabulary and strategies during real-time situations and interactions. It’s one thing to talk about Glassman as part of a lesson; it’s much more challenging for students to 1) identify when Glassman thinking is invading his or her brain, 2) think about the situation and how the student’s behavior is affecting others, and 3) employ one or more of the strategies taugh in the Superflex Curriculum!  


While the lessons should be taught at a discrete time (20-40 minutes), the application of the lessons is 24/7 in teachable moments. The teacher will want to reinforce how often kids’ Superflex and their superflexible social thinking is showing up, rather than just talk about when the Unthinkables are lurking about. More on how to teach is explained in the curriculum. 


Superflex is ME and YOU, and YOU, too!

Superflex was created to help students understand more about their own flexible and not-so-flexible thinking. We can all relate on some level to imagining what it would be like to be a superhero or how much fun it would be to have superpowers. In teaching the Superflex curriculum, we want students to learn that Superflex is unique to each individual and is active when we're thinking flexibly. There's not one gender or ethnicity for Superflex. My Superflex will look like me, yours like you, and a teacher's Superflex will look like the teacher! In our books and materials, we visually portray Aiden's Superflex, so he's male. But Superflex can be tall, short, light-skinned, dark-skinned, male, or female.

Be sure in teaching Superflex that you convey this concept to your students so they are not confused and think that Superflex is only a male superhero. Superflex is YOU!


How Superflex Connects to the Larger Social Thinking Methodology

Superflex is just one of many products we use with students to build their social thinking abilities. A more comprehensive two-book curriculum, Social Thinking and Me (Winner and Murphy, 2016) is designed for students in 4–7th grade to read as they engage in social emotional learning in treatment groups, inclusion based classrooms and/or at home. This set provides explicit instruction to help our students develop some of the information they need to create and strengthen their superflexible abilities and defeat the Unthinkables. 


Learn How to Teach Superflex

Michelle Garcia Winner, Superflex co-author and the founder of Social Thinking, shares tips for teaching ages 8-11 with Social Thinking products (including Superflex products), in this free, recorded webinar. Get the inside scoop!



NEW Superflex Music CD (Sold Separately)

Superflex My Hero Inside with CDHey Social Town citizens – there’s now music to go along with our popular Superflex superhero Social Thinking curriculum! We teamed up with Grammy-nominated songwriters Michael and Patty Silversher to write and produce 13 rockin’ kid-friendly songs that reinforce the concepts and strategies found in Superflex. Grab a copy and start singing those Unthinkables to rest. Listen to the song samples.








Superflex is ME - Free Download

Ryan Hendrix


Superflex is Me

Each of us  has our own Superflex inside, a superflexible thinking superhero that can help us work through social challenges. In this video Ryan Hendrix, one of our Superlfex conference day presenters, describes how to use this lesson and template to help your students or children create their own personal Superflex! Download now.

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Related Materials


Key concepts explored in this series: Superflex curriculum, You Are a Social Detective, PBIS & RTI, self-regulation, social awareness.

This series is all about ensuring fidelity when using two of our key teaching materials, the award-winning You Are a Social Detective! and Superflex: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum. The purpose of You Are a Social Detective! is to foster social pragmatic understanding using Social Thinking Vocabulary as kids learn to be social observers, or “social detectives.” The purpose of the Superflex curriculum (featuring our superhero, Superflex) is to help students develop their social thinking to improve self-awareness, self-monitoring and, ultimately, self-regulation. Though presented in a kid-friendly format, the teaching behind the playfulness has a scope and sequence that require time and thought on the part of the professional.

We will also share tips on how to adapt these teaching materials for early learners as well as for tweens and teens who have outgrown the cartoon hero teaching approach. Additionally, we’ll explore how all this information dovetails with educational standards, social-emotional learning, Response to Intervention (RTI), and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

Why We Created This Series:
We created this series because we realized some professionals were not recognizing the depth, complexity, and developmental appropriateness embedded in some of our teaching materials, particularly Social Detective and Superflex. The result was that some students were becoming more dysregulated rather than learning self-regulation!

Each module in this series encourages awareness of a student’s developmental level while sharing best teaching practices for You Are a Social Detective!, Superflex: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum, and other related Social Thinking products. We describe how to teach these materials and elements of the broader Social Thinking Methodology with fidelity based on common questions we receive and our observations of where more clarity is needed.

Content Disclosure: This series does not teach about any other methodologies or programs aside from the Social Thinking Methodology.

*Treatment refers to using conceptual and strategy-based frameworks to help individuals improve their social thinking, skills, and competencies.

Columbus, OH | May 12 - 14, 2020

Speakers: Beckham Linton, Nancy Clements

At this conference, gain evidence-based strategies to help people in every stage of life improve their social competencies; including self-regulation, social-emotional learning, executive functioning, perspective taking, and social problem solving. Join us in Columbus for these courses: May 12 – Social Detective, Superflex®, and Friends Take On Social-Emotional Learning, May 13 – ZOOMING IN: Strategies for Concrete Learners, May 14 – ZOOMING IN: Strategies for Individuals with Subtle but Significant Social Problems.

Learn More

Chicago Metro Area, IL | Apr 28 - 30, 2020

Speakers: Michelle Garcia Winner, Pamela Crooke, Kari Zweber Palmer

At this conference, gain evidence-based strategies to help people in every stage of life improve their social competencies; including self-regulation, social-emotional learning, executive functioning, perspective taking, and social problem solving. Join us in the Chicago Metro Area for these courses: Apr. 28 – The Informal Dynamic Assessment and Core Treatment Strategies, Apr. 29 – Case Journeys: Treatment Planning for Improving Social Competencies, Apr. 30 – Social Detective, Superflex®, and Friends Take On Social-Emotional Learning.

Learn More

10 DOs and DON'Ts for Teaching Superflex | Oct 2019

Author(s): Pamela Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP, and Michelle Garcia Winner, MA CCC-SLP

Superflex® has become super-popular! We have enjoyed hearing from so many people around the world about their love of Superflex and the Team of Unthinkables and Thinkables and the positive effect the Superflex curriculum has on helping individuals become better social thinkers and social problem solvers!

Superflex® the Team of Unthinkables and the Five-Step Power Plan | Oct 2019

Author(s): Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP

When we introduced the Superflex® teaching curriculum in 2008, little did we realize the far-reaching effect it would have on kids, parents, teachers, counselors, and clinicians across the country and around the world. Superflex and the engaging characters that are part of the curriculum – the Unthinkables and Thinkables – have been infused in creative ways into social groups, classrooms, even on a school-wide basis to help all students become better social detectives, social thinkers, and social problem solvers. In this article we review a brief history of Superflex and the Team of Unthinkables.

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