All of us have experienced a time in which they did something which could be construed as “socially awkward” – I average about 150 of these moments in one day. There is a fun curriculum called Superflex®: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum which teaches children (and adults!) about factors and behaviors which can interfere with positive social interactions, and thereby reduce social awkwardness. Basically, there is a superhero named Superflex, who exemplifies flexible, adaptive, and positive thinking in a social context. Then there are a gang of villains, called the “Unthinkables,” who represent reasons for breakdowns in social interactions. For example, one villain is “Rock Brain,” who makes people become rigid and inflexible regarding their ideas, and another villain is Glassman, who makes people have huge emotional reactions to tiny problems. Here is a picture of Superflex and the “bad guys”:
Recently, as a means to help children identify moments when the “Unthinkables” are threatening to derail a social interaction, I have begun taking videos of myself and kids play-acting different Unthinkables on video. Here is a child pretending to have “Body Snatcher” inside of his brain, which results in him not being able to physically stay with an interaction:
Here is a video of me as “One-Sided Sid,” in which I want to just talk about something I am interested in, and am not interested in what others have to say:
The child and I have been able to use these videos to learn about factors and behaviors which break down social interactions, and we have also shared these videos with peers, who have appreciated the humorous as well as socially-educational content. As we increase our ability to identify the Unthinkables, we can then become more adept at adopting strategies and flexible ways of thinking to “defeat” them, and increase the quality of our social interactions, and our ability to form relationships with others.
You can check out the Superflex® materials and curriculum at: https://socialthinking.com/books-products/superflex-a-superhero-social-thinking-curriculum-package-detail
Posted by: Andy, Speech-Language Pathologist