Teaching what we need to learn

Children with ASD sometimes have difficulty reading the clues to be able to figure out how the other person is feeling. What is equally important is identifying how they are feeling. We have thousands of thoughts a day and those thoughts can and do affect how we feel. When working with children with ASD we can teach them to identify how others are feeling by using their detective or information gathering skills. It can help to use tools such as video modeling, and watch videos of others to help the children identify how others are feeling. Questions such as– What’s the person telling us with their body? Where are they looking? What are their eyes telling us? What does their voice tell us? Can all guide their attention. We also teach them that this doesn’t always work and it is ok to say “I don’t know how you are feeling?”
Another skill taught is identifying and labeling their own emotions. BUT how good are we at really identifying how we are feeling? How often do we stop and allow ourselves the time to identify how our bodies feel, how our breath may have changed, what our faces are doing. We know it’s important to teach children with ASD to self-regulate. To identify how they are feeling and accordingly to make changes that help them feel better–but do we know how to do this? Is this something we practice? Sometimes we teach what we need to learn.

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