ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ten Ways to Help Children who have Autism Develop Emotional Understanding.

Updated on May 14, 2013

Children with autism may have difficulty expressing, recognising and interpreting emotions. They can have difficulty noticing and distinguishing other people’s facial expressions from as well as in understanding their body language, tone of voice and gestures. Some children may not use these skills in their own communications or have limited use and this can lead to them finding it hard to express and explain their own feelings.

There are many ways to help children with autism learn to not only recognise and be able to verbalise their own feelings but to gain more ability to understand how other people feel and the reasons why they feel that way. Learning these skills will enable them to have a better understanding of other people’s reactions and to react in the most appropriate way to them and everyday situations.

Pictures showing emotions do not need to be detailed or even realistic to help children with autism in learning to recognise emotions.
Pictures showing emotions do not need to be detailed or even realistic to help children with autism in learning to recognise emotions. | Source

Some useful strategies that can be used to help develop emotional understanding are:

  1. Explain how you are feeling and why when the opportunity arises. If you feel happy, tell the child ‘I am feeling happy today because…..’ Talk about how you look such as ‘I am smiling because I feel happy today’

  2. When the child shows emotions, name them. Describe how the child looks, for example ‘I can see that you are happy today because you are smiling’ or ‘you look like you are feeling sad, did something happen that you did not like?’

  3. Point out how other people are feeling. This can be especially useful if the feelings are related to the child you are teaching. Phrases such as ‘I think …… is feeling happy because you were kind and shared your sweets with her’ can help illustrate how people’s emotions can change and be related to events around them. If the child does something that upsets someone else talk this through with them to help them connect the event with the other child’s feelings.

  4. Use photographs and pictures in books and magazines to discuss emotions. Talk about the context of the picture and what could be happening. Point out facial expressions and body language and explain what these can mean in relation to how the person is feeling and how they help a person to express their emotions to others.

  5. Make lists or draw pictures of what makes you happy/sad/angry/scared etc. and then look at them together. This can help to link events to feelings and also illustrate that different people can feel differently about the same thing.

  6. Set up an activity during which the child can ask others how they are feeling or how they feel about certain things. For example, a table listing different food items could be created and then the child with autism can ask friends, family or classmates whether they like them or not and record the number of yes and no answers in the table. Afterwards you could have a group discussion on what people like and dislike about the foods such as taste or texture.

  7. Create an emotions album with pictures and photos of people showing different emotions and the facial expressions, body language and gestures associated with them. Children can look through magazines or online picture galleries and pick out pictures they believe fit the emotions. Pictures could be stuck down on the pages of a book or stored in folders. The album can be used in activity 4 above as well as being an activity in itself.

  8. Social stories can be used to describe emotions, how people feel and what they may do when experiencing different emotions. Social stories describe a social situation, skill or concept in a way that makes them easier for someone with autism to understand.

  9. Use pictures and photographs of events to explain what is expected in certain situations. For example a picture of a child receiving gifts at their birthday party could be used to discuss how the child feels about the party and receiving the gifts, how the child with autism felt when this happened to them and also how other people expect them to react i.e. how to act if they have to wait to open gifts or of they feel disappointed by a gift.

  10. Practice two way conversations based on emotions and feeling using role play or drawings. You and the child can act out a scenario in which you display an emotion and they respond to you in an appropriate way either using a script or if they are capable from their own memory. Strips of paper with responses written on can also be used as a half way measure in which the child needs to choose the one they feel is most appropriate. For example, if you were looking sad and holding a broken toy the correct response would be say something like: ‘Oh no, your toy has broken and ii has made you feel sad’ or ‘You look sad. Is it because your toy has broken?’ Cartoon strip style drawings could also be used in this way with blank speech bubbles that the child can fill in, again either from their own ideas or from a choice of included responses.

Photographs with clear faces and expressions can be a useful tool in helping children with autism understand others emotions.
Photographs with clear faces and expressions can be a useful tool in helping children with autism understand others emotions. | Source

© 2013 Claire

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Elderberry Arts profile imageAUTHOR

      Claire 

      5 years ago from Surrey, Uk

      Hi and thank you for the kind comment. I have sons with aspergers and autism and have found these ideas and similar to help. Some are easier with my aspie especially now he is older and has better understanding.

    • lisa42 profile image

      lisa42 

      5 years ago from Sacramento

      Good advice. Our friend has a son with Asperger Syndrome, and she uses many of these ideas.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)