Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Progress Report and Superflex November 16, 2016

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,autism mom,Family,Uncategorized — The B Side @ 2:54 pm
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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.

No thanks!!!

 

 

*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.

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9 Responses to “Progress Report and Superflex”

  1. Whoa! That is scary. These kiddos aren’t given their due respect with their level of intelligence. Instead of creating imaginary cartoon characters who act out in their brains (reminds me of using mythology to explain things in life), why not teach them about their brains? Using real brain terminology and talking about chemical reactions. They would absolutely understand it.

    • I think people like to take a one size fits all approach to teaching and that’s a problem – Particularly when working with ASD students. It is more work for the educator, but much more productive to tailor programs to individuals. For some students, this type of language may work. For my son, he would fare better with facts and proper terminology etc.

  2. Autism Mom Says:

    The school used Superflex with our son too and it never occurred to me how scary the “unthinkables” might be. This is such a good thing to consider, thank you for raising it.

    • Hi. I found out after I published this that it had been used with my other son as well and he loved it. He’s not as literal of a thinker as Jay is. He could easily separate the fictional superflex from his own brain. I don’t think the program is universally and inherently bad. I just think it should be approached with caution and awareness. And parents should pay attention to and address any odd changes they notice in their childs behaviour.

  3. Catherine Says:

    Education is not one size fits all. I am glad you recognized the issues in the Superflex progam in regards to your son. I have been following your blog for some time and I want to commend you on how much of an adovcate you are to your boys. I enjoy reading your posts. 💜

  4. Deb Says:

    Every kid is different. My son has been taking part in the Social Thinking curriculum for a few years now. Like you, the only issue I had with it is that it sounds as if these “Unthinkables” are both a part of you and something you need to get rid of. At the same time, it’s been really, really useful and helpful to my son. The way I’ve gotten around it with him is to say we all have “Unthinkables.” It’s not just him. I will make a point of pointing out times that I’m acting like one of the characters. They need to know we all have our struggles with making our minds choose to act the right way…it’s part of life, and shouldn’t just be part of someone’s life who is on the spectrum.

    • Thank you for that. 🙂 Making sure he knows he’s not the only one who struggles with making the right behavior choices is a great idea! We are not doing away with the program completely as there are def useful aspects of it. We just want to make sure it’s tailored to him and the way his brain interprets things. I had never heard of it before our meeting so we weren’t able to help him make sense of it all. Now I am able to help sort through it and the characters.

  5. No, I don’t think you are over reacting at all. You noticed behaviors that directly stem from his participation in the program. Everyone is different, as you said and each child will react differently. The poor kid! I’m glad you were able to figure it out before it went any farther.


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