Superflex Exercise Academy

Yesterday, I developed an exercise program for two of my students with high-functioning Autism.

Well, it was a semi-exercise program.

There was a mini-trampoline, jump rope lines to run between, hula-hoops to jump in, balls to toss.

But these exercises were actually intended to develop brain strength and flexible thinking. Based on Michelle Garcia Winner’s Superflex program, this activity tested a student’s ability to change activities rapidly and without warning. I told a student he was to jump on the trampoline for 15 seconds. But 5 seconds into the jumping, I “changed my mind” and had him run between the jump ropes.

What was interesting to me was that the students did not respond as I expected them to do. The child who is very rigid, requires a picture schedule for every part of his day, and will obsessively tell you parts of a routine, was able to transition between activities very well. His brain was being “super flexible”. The child who appears to transition fairly well, has genius level IQs, and can tell you all about “flexible thinking” was irate at the activity transitions. He declared that I had “tricked” him and I was “out to get” him. He was so agitated that he continued to mumble and complain about the exercise for the next hour.

Fortunately (or maybe not!), I video-taped the events. Next week we will review the videos and the students’ flexible thinking. We will decide together whether or not they “passed” each event. Should be interesting…

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  1. I hate to admit this, but I’d probably fall into the irate, “out to get me” mumbler if you did that to me. 😉

  2. Oooooooooo this was very interesting. I think MONK would of done what #2 did. Maybe after a bit, seeing what you were trying to do, he would of caught on and done well transitioning quickly from one activity to another.

  3. That is fascinating! You are so good! Keep us posted! You may have a research-type project and article on your hands here!

  4. This is so cool!

    I would “flunk” this exercise, by the way.

  5. I would totally fail this exercise. I remember one night Husband wanted to go to dinner at some “warm Subway” type place. On the way over there, he decided to go to Applebees.

    I almost lost it.

  6. I might pass this info onto a friend if you don’t mind….she has two children with forms of autism. I think she would appreciate it:)


  7. My nephew has Aspergers Syndrome and I imagine my SIL would have loed some resources/activities like this when he was younger. They had such a lot of drama trying to placate him every time something went out of routine! Thankfully now, at age 15, he had learned to be more flexible…… somtimes.

  8. That is pretty cool I’d like to give it a try on my two boys and see how they respond. Sounds like some after school fun.

  9. What an interesting exercise… I’d be interesting in using it with several people I know (including me?)

  10. Interesting! I’d probably fail thoroughly ~ but I’m going to tell myself that most adults probably would!

    I think the older we get, the less flexible our brains become. (haha, just like the rest of our bodies!!) This would probably be a good exercise for all ages of people.

  11. very interesting – and I am so glad I don’t have to live with flash cards any longer!

  12. That’s really interesting!
    And what a great idea to video it. I bet we could all benefit from examining our thinking patterns and how we make choices.

  13. Hahahah! Love it! Sometimes the smartest kids do have the hardest time. Once I told a 6 year old Autistic student, who was a numbers genius, that he needed to sit in time-out for 3 minutes. He threw a fit and got soooo upset that he gave himself a bloody nose (hyperventilating or something) because he was INSISTING that he had to be in time out for 20 minutes instead of 3! LOL! I guess 20 is a more desirable number than three ;D

  14. Very interesting, indeed!

    All behavior is based in the brain. Every movement begins with a thought.


  15. What an interesting exercise! Can’t wait to hear how next week goes. Your students are lucky to have such a creative and caring teacher!

  16. Sounds very interesting and kinda fun! You are so creative!!

  17. What a great activity… I wonder if the difference in response was also related to how preferred the activity was? I know my guys would respond differently to an unexpected transition depending on if what they had to stop early was something they really enjoyed or not (an early end to the trampoline would probably not have gone over well!)

  18. I like the idea of video taping. I have been thinking about getting one…

  19. Awesome – I love it

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