How I Use the Social Thinking Curriculum to Teach Flexible Thinking

Do you struggle with teaching your students how to be flexible thinkers?  Check out how I use the Superflex curriculum to teach about flexible thinking. - The Autism Vault


I previously wrote about the Social Thinking curriculum here, specifically about the book "You are a Social Detective".  The book has been a staple in our room since the beginning of the school year.  My students have become so much more thoughtful of how their behavior makes others feel, and how using their eyes, ears, and brains can help us make smart guesses.  Most of all, they have gotten really good at calling each other out when they see unexpected behaviors going on.

Do you struggle with teaching your students how to be flexible thinkers?  Check out how I use the Superflex curriculum to teach about flexible thinking. - The Autism Vault


We recently moved on to the book "Superflex takes on Rock Brain and the Team of Unthinkables".  Superflex touches upon some of the same principles that Social Detective does.  However, Superflex discusses the "Team of Unthinkables" and how to defeat them.  The Team of Unthinkables is a Motley Crew of characters, representing the problems that can arise when we are not flexible thinkers.

Rock Brain is the character that is mainly discussed in this book (duh).  He is the character that makes people get stuck in their ways.  This is perfect for my class, as I have a student that can be very rigid when it comes to the things he wants to do (such as taking the elevator instead of the stairs, or insisting that I modify my natural Long Island accent to fit how he thinks I should say certain words).

Before we read the book,I made these super simple visual posters to remind students of what Rock Brain looks like and how to combat Rock Brain.

Do you struggle with teaching your students how to be flexible thinkers?  Check out how I use the Superflex curriculum to teach about flexible thinking. - The Autism Vault



I collected some sensory balls that are squishy to represent a flexible brain.  I also made a makeshift rock (some people say you can to find a rock in a courtyard or from a landscaped area to use, but frankly there just aren't that many rocks hangin' around in New York City).  We discussed how the balls we "flexible", how we could play with them easily and that they couldn't hurt anybody.  However, the "rock" (aka the box of erasers wrapped in construction paper) was heavy and hard.  It wasn't as fun to play with the hard rock as it was the squishy sensory balls.  This visual seemed to really make sense to my students (and I had trouble getting the balls away from them!)
Do you struggle with teaching your students how to be flexible thinkers?  Check out how I use the Superflex curriculum to teach about flexible thinking. - The Autism Vault

After we had read the book a few times and discussed the different ideas, we completed some graphic organizers to identify behaviors of when we are being flexible thinkers and behaviors of when we have rock brain.
Do you struggle with teaching your students how to be flexible thinkers?  Check out how I use the Superflex curriculum to teach about flexible thinking. - The Autism Vault

My favorite thing about this curriculum overall has been how easy it's been to translate these topics in to our everyday routine.  When I see a student exhibiting "rock brain", I make sure to let them know and give them a chance to use flexible thinking.  When I see a student have flexible thinking, I also make sure to let them know with an enthusiastic "that was great flexible thinking!"  I have also found that modeling flexible thinking has really helped.  For example, when we are not able to use the elevator, I'll just shrug and say "no big deal" (or NBD, because that's just my style).  More often than not my rigid student will reply "it's okay, we'll just take the stairs" all matter-of-factly like it was his idea!


I'm sure it's no secret to all of you that it is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month.  I am linking up with some really awesome special education/autism blogs to celebrate!
Next up in the link up is from Fun in ECSE...check it out!



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