At Jay’s progress review meeting with his speech therapist she told us about a program they had been using lately. Immediately we became alarmed; and some of the odd things we had been seeing at home began to take shape and make sense.
Before I wrote this post, I looked up reviews for the Superflex system. I thought for sure that my son wasn’t the only one who had problems with it.
All the reviews were good … until I posted mine. I don’t often write up online reviews, but I feel really strongly about this product and I think that other parents need to be aware of it so they can make informed decisions and possibly speak to their child(ren)s teachers/therapists.
This is a program that markets itself as:
A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum which provides educators, parents and therapists fun and motivating ways to teach students with social and communication difficulties .
It sounds great. There certainly is a need for such a curriculum. The main thing that characterizes autism is that it’s a social and communication disorder. Our lovies (often) struggle with picking up on body language, innuendo, sarcasm, teasing and other subtleties. They tend to do well with facts and lists and order and black and white. No grey areas. They are not usually the best at make believe or abstract concepts.
This is why it baffles me that the creators would choose a Superhero who “takes over your brain” as their base for teaching. In the program there are things (people?) called “unthinkables” who get into the brain and make you do bad things; such as over-react to what is really just a small inconvenience.
Jay thought these unthinkables were real. Think about that for a second. It’s Scary!!!
Lately we had noticed him talking to himself and actually arguing with himself.
There were times we saw him hitting himself in the head; as if trying to get the bad things out.
Needless to say we asked the therapist to cease and desist with that program and that line of language. I followed up with an email. She was very receptive to our concerns and assured us that she would take heed. In her own words, “I will take the ideas/strategies and modify the presentation so it has nothing to do with the cartoon characters in the program. We will omit the notion of something taking over your brain.”
Maybe in this case, I am the one over-reacting. Maybe the program is great and maybe Jay would have eventually done really well with it. I’m not willing to take the chance. The last thing I want is my baby boy to think there is something wrong with his brain or some “bad guy” in his head. That makes my brain go to dangerous places. In the worst of scenarios, he tries to do something harmful to himself to get the bad guys out.
*Ed Note: After publishing this I found out that this program was used with Ace also when he was getting OT. He thought it was great and really responded to it. I say that to say: I can see how it would be good for someone like Ace. He loves all things super hero and any time you can make something educational into fun, he stands a better chance at picking it up.
I am not saying the program has NO use. I am just saying that it should be approached with caution if it is being used with students who have very literal thinking and may have a hard time separating facts from fiction.