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Teaching Children with Autism about Emotions:

Emotions are one of the things children with autism find very difficult to communicate. Here’s an idea to get your toddler or young child with autism to learn to define their emotions.

Use Emotion words frequently– some words you can start with are mad, happy, sad and angry. Every time the child is going through that emotion, use the word and emphasize it.  For Example  “Are you mad?” or “Did you get mad because ______(use name) hit you?”

The more you use that particular word, the more your child will get familiar with the word and start using it. You can also emphasize the expression of the emotion on your face to get the child to understand more about expressing themselves non verbally.

You can also talk about the characters in a short story and how they felt. Another idea is to model talking about feelings by doing it yourself.

Finally, when your child does use a word to express his/ her emotion, make sure that you respond accordingly and help them deal with their feelings. Help them to realize that sharing their emotions is a good and positive thing.

Just remember that all children take time to start talking about their feelings and it does not happen overnight. However, by using the words frequently, and talking about them, we teach the child the words so that they can use it whenever they are ready to.


2 comments to Teaching Children with Autism about Emotions:

  • You can also use colors and shapes to help children suffering from autism express their emotions. Something red and firm for anger or blue and soft for happy. Experiment with your child to discover what works best at helping them express themselves.

  • For parents who are looking for tools to teach emotions, we do have a set of cards to help you. The Emotion Set consist of 80 photographic picture cards. http://www.stageslearning.com/shop/language-builder-emotion-cards-p-1083.html
    Half (40) of the images are taken with the models against a plain background, showing only the upper body and face. These pictures feature 8 different people whose facial expressions clearly depict each of 5 basic emotions:
    The remaining 40 cards portray people in realistic emotion-provoking situations and activities taken in natural settings and contexts. The represented scenarios invite discussion about a range of emotions, why the people may feel that way, and possible appropriate and inappropriate responses to these feelings.

    Hope this helps!

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