One of the inspirations for Flummox and Friends came from a certain kind of conversation I found myself having over and over again. At the time, I was blogging quite a bit: writing about raising a kid on the autism spectrum and sharing experiences about learning strategies worked for well for him. This stuff often came up in my conversations with other parents, regardless of whether they had a special needs kid or not.
Sometimes I would describe the types of things my son was working on - perspective taking, conversational skills, managing the expression of emotion. I talked about how he was learning it in the context of school activities as well as social skills groups of same-age kids where play is used to build these foundational skills.
Then - and this happened more times than I can count - a parent with a typical child would say something like, "Why aren't they doing this for every kid?" or "Can my kid get something like that?"
It's been pretty clear to me that families like mine with file folders full of IEP paperwork at home aren't the only ones who care about and recognize the importance of social and emotional development for our kids.
We developed Flummox and Friends in the hopes that it would appeal to lots of different kinds of kids and families. We didn't set out to develop an autism intervention or a special education product, but instead, a comedy for families that's a springboard for learning, connecting, talking about challenges, differences, strengths...and laughing together. Because we believe that social and emotional learning should feel positive and fun.
So, I was delighted to discover a report called "Missing Piece" by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) that talks about the essential role that social and emotional learning plays for every kid; how it actually boosts learning and can transform a school culture.
Then a few days later, I caught this wonderful Edutopia video featuring Pamela Randall, CASEL's Director of Practice talking about these issues, along with educators who are applying best practices for social emotional learning in their classrooms.
I can't help feeling there is a movement afoot to bring social and emotional learning into the center of curriculum, into the heart of school culture, and we're excited at the possibility of being part of that!