This was one of the first books in the series of Superflex books from Social Thinking® and Michelle Garcia Winner. Out of all of the Superflex books, I like it the best.
Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® is designed for those who struggle with social issues. It can be helpful for those with ADHD, Autism, Social Communication Disorder and Nonverbal Learning Disability. It can also be helpful for those kids who don’t have a diagnosis, but are having a hard time fitting in.
It’s really a series of concepts you can use to work on your interactions with others - flexible thinking, expected vs. unexpected, social behavior mapping, etc. Here is a definition straight from the Social Thinking website.
“Social Thinking is not a singular tool, but instead is a constellation of concepts, curricula, and related strategies that form a framework that can help all people better understand the social experience and how it can be taught through cognitive behavioral techniques. The strategies were originally created to be used by individuals who were teaching, counseling, or living with a person with social learning challenges. The relevance and effectiveness of them became quickly apparent as equally useful with typically developing students. We all can be helped by learning to be stronger social thinkers!” (Here is the rest of the article if you want to read more)
I like the social thinking concepts because it teaches kids to think in a social way, not just do the socially expected thing. It’s almost like cognitive behavioral therapy for social interactions.
One of the ideas from Social Thinking that I first heard about was the concept of Unthinkables®. In order to make Social Thinking accessible for Elementary School age kids, Michelle Garcia Winner and her colleagues created a character named Superflex®.
Superflex is a Superhero who is able to manage all sorts of different social situations in an expected way. He helps defeat The Unthinkables when they try to take over kids brains and make them behave in unexpected ways.
Your next question may be - what on earth is an Unthinkable? The Unthinkables are little cartoon characters that externalize particular problems kids may have. For example, Rock Brain is a character who makes kids get stuck on their own ideas.
What's neat about the Unthinkables is that it takes the focus off of the child, and instead you can talk about the behavior as a separate entity. “Rock Brain is making you get stuck, how can you defeat him? What strategy can you use?” I’ve worked with kids and families that said this was such a helpful tool for them to use.
What's cool is that over the years Michelle Garcia Winner has asked people all over the world to make up new Unthinkables. It's been really interesting to see the different characters that other kids have come up with. And there’s also been more Thinkables created as well, supporting Superflex in defeating all those Unthinkables.
Superflex takes on Rock Brain and the Team of Unthinkables is a great book to use in social group settings, school or even home.