The social skills program used by the Grafton School District is Superflex..A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum, by Stephanie Madrigal & Michelle Garcia Winner.


A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum

by Stephanie Madrigal & Michelle Garcia Winner

The purpose of this program is to provide teachers and families with a fun, motivating, and non-threatening way for their children to explore social thinking while increasing their knowledge of social expectations, their awareness of their own behavior, and how to modify their behaviors with "Superflexible" strategies. 

The children are introduced to the hero, "Superflex" and learn that they can each become their own Superhero by defeating the various Unthinkables. The Unthinkables are fictitious characters that try to invade a person's thinking.  They make it difficult for a person to successfully communicate with others. 

Each of the Unthinkables has a fun name that children can easily use to identify common behaviors that cause them to have social struggles.  The names of the Unthinkables are used to label behaviors, and NOT children.  These names allow the behavior to become the third person and help create a safe environment for identifying and working on social skills.  These characters try to invade the way people think and it is our mission as a "Superflex" superhero to try to defeat them. 

Character Powers


to Defeat


Rock Brain

Makes people get stuck on their ideas. 

  • Wants others to do what he wants
  • Doesn't allow for negotiation
  • Repeatedly tries solutions that don't work
  • Causes someone to be rule-bound or rigid
  • Only sees one solution to a problem
  • Notice that what you are doing is not working
  • Try to solve the problem another way
  • Take a deep breath
  • Remember that being part of a group means that you can't always do things your way
  • Self talk: "Not a problem.  I will get to do this later or another time."

Body Snatcher

Makes people move their body away from the group.

  • Gets people to wander away from others
  • Causes people to leave the group they are in
  • Causes a person to turn their body away from the group, not realizing the message it sends to others
  • Use your eyes to think about where your group is
  • Use your eyes to think about who is talking to you
  • Point your shoulders to the group
  • Self talk: "Where should my body be?"

Energy Hare-y

Gives people too much energy.

  • Makes the person fidgety
  • Makes a person move without thinking about what others around him need or feel about him
  • Sometimes pairs up with Wasfunnyonce
  • Use whole body listening (keep your whole body quiet)
  • Try to match the body behaviors of the rest of the group
  • Take a few deep breaths to calm your body

Glass Man

Makes people have HUGE reactions.

  • Causes a person to get upset very quickly
  • Causes a person to get very upset over tiny problems (Difficulty matching size of reaction to size of problem)
  • Makes a person think things are usually unfair
  • Identify the size of the problem on a 1-10 scale
  • Try to find the expected reaction to match the size of the problem
  • Self talk: "I am starting to get mad.  I need to move away and take a breath or tighten all the muscles in my body and then relax them."

Gump Grumpaniny

Puts people in grumpy moods.

  • Makes the person think the worst - always sees the negative or bad in things
  • Causes the person to think that others are always unkind, even if others are trying to be nice
  • Causes the person not to understand how their emotions spread and make others unhappy
  • Think about how the other person is treating you
  • Try to judge whether others are being friendly or mean
  • Self talk: "I am being negative.  What could be a positive way to think about this?"

Mean Jean

Gets people to act mean and bossy.

  • Causes a person to insult or criticize others.
  • Causes a person to take things away from others
  • Causes a person to try to move the attention away from others and onto themself
  • Think about what you are going to say or do before you say or do it.
  • Keep bragging, bossy, or hurtful thoughts in your own brain.
  • Self talk: "Will this hurt someone's feelings?"

One-Sided Sid

Gets people to only talk about themselves.

  • Causes a person to only talk about their own set of topics, plans, or interests.
  • Causes a person to interrupt others while they are talking
  • Think about what you know about other people.
  • Ask questions to find out more about other people's experiences, interests, or plans.
  • Use your eyes to figure out the other person's plan.  If they look busy, save your question or statement for another time.
  • Look for clues that others are not interested:
    • looking away
    • bored look
    • trying to change the topic

Space Invader

Gets people to invade other's personal space.

  • Will move into another person's space when they do not expect or want it. 
  • Does not realize how uncomfortable it makes others feel.
  • Use the one-arm rule to determine if you are too close to someone.
  • Look at other people's faces.  How are they feeling about your closeness?
  • If you are making others uncomfortable, move your body away from them.

Topic Twister Meister

Makes people jump off topic.

  • Gets a person to twist the topic around to what he/she wants to talk about.
  • Causes a person to go off on tangents, going on and on about a topic not realizing that others are not interested.
  • Check-in with those around you. Does it look like they are interested in what you are saying?
  • Ask questions about what others want to talk about. 


Keeps people from thinking about others.

  • Stops a person from showing interest in others or thinking about what they want to do
  • Keeps a person from asking questions about others or contributing their own ideas to an activity
  • Look at the person who is talking to let them know that you are thinking about them and what they are saying.
  • Remember the wh-questions (who, what, where, when, & why) and use them to find out more about other's interests or plans
  • Create mental files of the things you know about certain people


Gets people to use humor at the wrong times.

  • Causes a person to use a lot of humor without realizing that it wears out quickly or sometimes isn't even funny at all.
  • Causes a person to have difficulty recognizing appropriate times for humor.
  • Causes a person to use laughter inappropriately
  • Use the one-time rule: Only say the word or joke once.
  • Look around to see if others are laughing too.
  • Look at the faces of others.  Are you making them uncomfortable?
  • Self talk: "Is now a silly moment or a serious moment?"

Worry Wall

Makes people worry too much.

  • Makes a person worry or feel so nervous that they can't participate in an activity or be part of the group.
  • Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let it out slowly.  Continue to do this until your body feels relaxed.
  • Find a thought that can change how you are feeling or help you solve the problem.

Brain Eater

Distracts people.

  • Makes it hard for a person to focus on what is going on.
  • Causes a person to get distracted with their own thoughts or the things around them.
  • Turn your body and eyes away from what is distracting you.
  • Think about the person talking
  • Try to notice when your brain is thinking about something else and get it to refocus on the group.


Destroyer of Fun

Makes people too competitive.

  • Causes someone to insist on going first.
  • Makes people only play what they want to play.
  • Causes people to refuse to compromise or think about how others feel.
  • Makes a person bend the rules to influence the outcome of a game.
  • Causes someone to take the fun out of playing with them.
  • Look at the faces of the other people playing. Are they having fun? Will they want to play with me again?
  • Gauge the size of your discomfort.  If it is a tiny problem, you will still get a turn or might win another time. 


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