If you use the Social Thinking™ curriculum by Michelle Garcia Winner then you should know about Superflex™. Superflex is a superhero that teaches children how to defeat their team of Unthinkables™. Unthinkables are the characters that sometimes come into our heads and make us behave in unexpected ways.
Some of my favourite Unthinkables are:
Rock Brain™ – Gets us stuck on what we want to do so that we can’t be flexible thinkers
Glassman™ – Makes us have huge upset reactions to tiny problems
Energy Hare-Y™ – Gives us too much energy at unexpected times
When I use this excellent resource with children, I have them use a handout (Handout, Lesson #6) from Superflex: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum to make their own Unthinkables team. This is the team of Unthinkables that comes into their brain the most frequently. This allows me to see a child’s self-awareness, especially when I have my own idea of which Unthinkables are on their team!
As we all know, having to shift to virtual therapy came with a lot of challenges. However, this shift was quite beneficial when it came to creating my clients’ teams of Unthinkables. After creating the team, my next step has always been to go through the “Superflex Strategies” for each Unthinkable on the child’s “Unthinkables team.” In teletherapy, I have come up with a new idea and this is how we learn to defeat the team of Unthinkables over teletherapy! Here is what I do:
Step 1: Have the child identify a time when this particular Unthinkable entered their brains, e.g., “Glassman entered my brain when my mom asked me to put my tablet away and I screamed/cried”
Step 2: With consent from parent and child, take a picture of the child acting out the situation, e.g., crossed arms and angry face if working on Glassman
Step 3: Add the picture to PowerPoint with a thought bubble and speech bubble for the particular situation, e.g., speech bubble that says, “NO, I WON’T PUT IT AWAY” and thought bubble with a picture of Glassman
Step 4: On the next slide, add a picture of Superflex with a speech bubble telling the child to use his/her Superflex strategies
Step 5: Take a picture of the child acting flexible, e.g., with a smile on his/her face
Step 6: Add each Superflex strategy to a new slide in PowerPoint with a picture of the child’s flexible face. Add a thought bubble and speech bubble to the child’s face with the superflex strategy
Step 7: Save as a PDF and email the document to parents
This will leave your child with a mini booklet for each Unthinkable on his/her team. It is personalized, engaging and fun. I love the idea so much that I will probably start doing it in my in person sessions as well.
If you try this out, let me know how it goes!