Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Social Thinking Curriculum and Comic Books

 You Are A Social Detective! Explaining Social Thinking to Kids by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke is a fun way to introduce appropriate social skills to kids struggling in this area. The book is written in comic book style with thinking bubbles to illustrate the character's thoughts. The book is intended for elementary age students or older, less mature individuals. It's divided into three sections:
1. School vs. Social Smarts and Expected Behavior
2. Unexpected Behavior, and
3. How to Be a Social Detective

The authors recommend using this book as a springboard for discussion with kids and in my experience, I agree. The book covers several topics that need to be separated out. I think it would be overwhelming to teach all of the concepts in one sitting. I love how visual it is and it's not overly wordy. It teaches the concepts and skills in a clear and straightforward way. Also, in the text certain key words or concepts are in bold to help point out the most important information. This book is also intended to be read as a precursor to the Superflex Curriculum described below:

 SUPERFLEX..A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum
also by Michelle Garcia Winner and Stephanie Madrigal is an
awesome resource for parents, teachers, and therapists. The book is comprised of 13 lesson plans to teach in social skills groups of elementary age children. The first set of lessons introduces the social thinking concepts and the characters through which the skills are taught, then the next series of lessons is designed to help kids gain awareness of their social behavior and ways to modify inappropriate behavior, and lastly this section is dedicated to self-monitoring strategies. Although I have not used this curriculum myself, I have seen it in action through one of our local social skills groups and the kids seem to have a great time with it! The group facilitator did share that as kids get older, however, they are not as interested in the superhero characters. Although the Social Detective book can easily be read on its own, this social curriculum really is intended for group use and several other comic books are used with the curriculum as well, like this one:

  SUPERFLEX: Superflex takes on Rock Brain and the Team of Unthinkables written by Stephanie Madrigal is a cute comic book that can be purchased as part of the Social Thinking Curriculum package. It helps to introduce the characters and provides a fun way to frame social smarts through superheroes so that the children in the group do not feel like they are necessarily singled out. The premise of the comic is that The Team of Unthinkables are trying to take over Superflex and his town and through this story, kids learn specific strategies on how to overcome the "Team of Unthinkables." The book is a little busy , but I think it's a nice supplement to the Social Thinking Curriculum. Again, it's meant to be a part of the curriculum and not a book to buy by itself.

If parents familiarize themselves with the characters and terminology as well, it's really nice to use the lingo at home-- for example: "do you think you're being a Space Invader" (one of the "Unthinkables) or the "WasFunny Once" character for kids who seem get stuck on an inappropriate jokes/topics and repeat them over and over again, etc. In general this curriculum seems to be a nice, light way to talk about social skills in a kid-friendly way. Have fun with it and if your child or student has used this curriculum in some capacity, we'd love to hear what you think!

- Molly


  1. thankyou for your blog and all the info on here. Invaluable

  2. You are so welcome Michele. We are so glad that you have found the blog helpful. If you have any suggestions of topics you'd like for us to write about, please do not hesitate to email!