Exploring Feelings for Young Children with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Disorder is a practical manual for professionals that provides a set of simple strategies to help children with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome who suffer from mood difficulties to decrease negative feelings and increase positive feelings in daily life.

The primary goal for each of the mini activities included below is to introduce feelings of happiness in children with autism spectrum disorders. Young children with autism often have particular difficulty in understanding and controlling their emotions.

How the activities work to teach emotion:

Cool Down: relaxes the child and prepares the group for understanding the complex emotion

Tell the children the rules of the group and explain the schedule. The rules will involve the following:

  • sit (in your seats or carpet squares)
  • look (at the speaker)
  • listen (to the speaker)

Welcome: introduces the child to the activity and sets the tone of each session

Ask each child to tell the group about the following things:

  • name
  • age
  • siblings

Singing: demonstrates to the child why it is important to understand and learn how to manage feelings

Get some ideas from the children, but guide them towards the following three reasons:

  • to feel better
  • to think better
  • to stay out of trouble

Story/Discussion: shows the children how they feel when they are experiencing a happy emotion

Read a story about happy feelings, and present each of the following questions on a card with a visual aid clue to the answer:

  • When do you feel very happy?
  • How do we know when we are happy?
  • How does your face look? (look in handheld mirror)

This dynamic and effective resource is for all professionals working with young children with autism spectrum disorders including teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists, speech therapists, behavioral therapists, occupational therapists, and social workers.

Download sample activities here

Exploring Feelings for Young Children with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Disorder: The STAMP Treatment Manual by Angela Scarpa, Anthony Wells and Tony Attwood is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

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