Thursday, September 20, 2012

Flummox and Friends

If you follow my posts here, you know I have a strong interest in social learning, and I am always looking for ways to engage my students in developing social cognition.  Video is definitely an engaging medium to help students discuss social interactions in context. The problem with finding fun, engaging video is, well, finding it and knowing the timing of clips, etc.  The problem with many video modeling products on the market, although there is a good evidence base behind these products, is that they don't engage (especially high-functioning) students very much and....zzzzzzzz.

Enter Flummox and Friends! Flummox and Friends is a video (currently available for free, and hopefully a series, currently there is just the pilot) available on the web and EASILY playable on iPad or other devices, relating the adventures of a group of somewhat socially-challenged scientists and their neighbors, who aren't all that socially adept, either. Notably, the series was created by a parent of a child on the spectrum, Christa Dahlstrom, along with two SLPs, Jordan Sadler and Liesl Wenzke Hartmann, who developed the curriculum addressed in the videos.

The pilot episode involves a party that doesn't quite go as planned, based on various problematic social behaviors involving "Tuning In" to the group.  The episode is well-paced, funny, and subtle enough that you can use it with a group and have them identify exactly what is going wrong, but the episode also features the characters processing (and even singing and dancing about) the target skills and strategies that they will remember to use next time. In addition to the live-action segments, there are several animated components adding additional entertainment value and opportunities for discussion. Think of it as an Electric Company for social interaction. I especially liked the animated segment in which real kids discuss their own challenges with "tuning in" to others in a group.

The creators provide a nice professional guide to Flummox and Friends on their website. Also, as I am trying to coordinate the use of this resource among our staff, I made a quick-and-dirty map of the episode with good stopping points and discussion topics to use with kids. In addition to the suggestions in the guide, this episode presents a great opportunity to develop narrative language and social comprehension with tools such as Story Grammar Marker.

I hope you'll give this resource a look and spread the word, so that the creators will soon give us an episode 2! Check out their Facebook page, Twitter feed or mailing list for updates (links all on site).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Sean for sharing this. I'm so excited to check this out and use it in some of our social groups. Looks really engaging, and has lots of important concepts to discuss and practice.