From Unthinkables to UnthinkaBots
We have officially changed the name of the Team of Unthinkables to the Team of UnthinkaBots. Recently, while meeting with neurodivergent adults, we discovered that the concept behind the creation of the Unthinkables was misunderstood and, at times, misused in classrooms and clinics by having certain Unthinkables represent specific children or people, rather than specific thoughts or actions.
If you already own the Superflex curriculum and/or recently purchased any of these materials–you can, and should, continue to use these products while explaining to your students that the Team of Unthinkables’ name is changing to the Team of UnthinkaBots. The reason is that we want children and adults to think of the behaviors produced by the “Bots” as something separate from how we describe ourselves or others. We realize changing the name of a core concept requires flexible thinking, but that’s what the Superflex curriculum is all about!
Unthinka-whats? Why did we make changes?
As of Fall 2021, we have officially changed the name of the Team of Unthinkables to the Team of UnthinkaBots. The Superflex curriculum was born in 2008, and over its lifetime we have relied on input and ideas from clients, students, families, teachers, and therapists in both the neurodivergent and neurotypical worlds. Using their feedback and our own clinical experience, we have refined the curriculum series to include Thinkables, expand the characters in Social Town, and add the storybook You Are a Social Detective!, 2nd Edition as a way to welcome social learners into the Superflex Universe. Recently, while meeting with neurodivergent adults, we discovered that the concept behind the creation of the Unthinkables was misunderstood and, at times, misused in classrooms and clinics by having certain Unthinkables represent specific children or people, rather than specific thoughts or actions.
To encourage interventionists to use these concepts in the manner intended, we are changing the name of Unthinkables to UnthinkaBots. With this new name, social learners can now imagine the Bots that try to control some of our thoughts and actions. For example, Was Funny Once releases SillyBots to get us to use humor at unexpected times and in unexpected situations. We all can learn to tackle the SillyBots with strategies and tools from the Social Thinking® Methodology. Along with this change, we have replaced 4 of the 14 “first generation” characters with new names: Mean Bean (previously Mean Gene/Jean), Me-Gull (formerly One-Sided Sid), Body Drifter (formerly Body Snatcher), and Blurt Out Blue (formerly Grump Grumpaniny). Several of our Thinkables characters have also evolved.
We will be updating our products with these changes as they come up for reprinting. It makes sense that we’re teaching students to be superflexible, since we, as publishers, also flex a lot as we learn. We hope you enjoy incorporating these important updates.
We hope you will enjoy imagining new ways to think about the UnthinkaBot characters in classrooms, small groups, and at home!
Come back to this page for the latest updates!
If you already own the Superflex curriculum and/or recently purchased any materials–you can, and should, just continue to use them. If you just bought it or are thinking about buying it–it’s okay! It will likely be a year+ before all the rollouts take place. Not only that, the Superflex curriculum is flexible enough to be used with the terms UnthinkaBots or Unthinkables. Here are some suggestions for helping students or clients (and yourself) transition to using the term UnthinkaBot:
- When you are comfortable, substitute UnthinkaBot in place of Unthinkable as you are teaching from the Superflex curriculum or any related products.
- If your kids struggle to transition from Unthinkable to UnthinkaBot terminology, use the opportunity to teach about flexible thinking–after all…things change, and it’s okay.
- Discuss why the term UnthinkaBot is a much better name for the imaginary creatures (consider that the literal term “Unthinkable” is pretty negative, but UnthinkaBot has no literal meaning).
- Explore (pretend) that the term Unthinkable was an “alias” or old name or nickname for the real name of the UnthinkaBot.
- Use whatever term makes sense to your students. They both represent the characters in the curriculum, so don’t force a transition if kids are struggling or pushing back on the new name.
- Use both terms interchangeably and don’t make a big deal about it.
- Talk about any new UnthinkaBots like Me-Gull or Mean Bean and how these new characters don’t use people’s names like the old UnthinkaBots did (Sid, Jean, Gene), and why that is important.
- Use the ideas from Social Town to encourage your students or clients to make their own characters and call them what makes sense to them.
The most important thing to remember is that you can use what you’ve already purchased in the same way you’ve used it in the past. The new products and materials won’t be ready for the Superflex Universe for a long time, but we wanted to get brains flexing now!!