Much research’s been done on how children with autism communicate and manage their emotions. Much of it points to their difficulties gauging and communicating emotions in themselves and others. 

A recent study examining autistic and neurotypical individuals revealed that 49.93% of those in the autistic group showed signs of alexithymia, or an inability to identify and describe one’s emotions and those of others, compared to 4.89% of individuals in the neurotypical group. 

Helping Children With Autism Communicate and Manage Emotions

Challenges with emotions are common in children and adults on the spectrum. But it doesn’t mean these challenges can’t be overcome. Here’s how you can help your child communicate and manage their emotions healthily and openly. 

Learn how to help your child with autism communicate and manage their emotions in a healthy way Discover practical tips on identifying emotions regulating them and using gaming to relieve stress

Identifying Emotions and How They Show Up in Others 

The first step to communicating and managing one’s emotions is understanding what emotions are, their different kinds, and how they’re expressed. One of the best ways to help your child with all three is showing them how emotions show up in others.

Familiarize them with body language, tone, and facial expressions

When people feel something, you can see and hear it, meaning their voice changes, their face shows it, and their body language shifts. 

If you can show your child this, they’ll be able to connect a behavior or physical expression to each emotion, making them easier to understand and recognize when they’re happening. 

For example, when someone is happy, they typically smile. The corners of their mouth go up, and their eyes are bright. When someone smiles and displays these facial expressions, your child will associate them with happiness — plus, there are psychological and social benefits of smiling you can teach them about.

Smiling generally makes people more comfortable with you. So, you can help your child identify happy emotions by smiling at them and bringing them closer to you and strengthening your relationship. 

Using everyday interactions to familiarize your child with body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. When you read to them or watch movies and videos together, you can point out the characters’ tones or body language when they express certain emotions. When you’re playing or people-watching in the park, you can talk about what you see.

Anytime you’re in public or amongst people, even at home, you can teach your child about body language, tone, and facial expressions. Take advantage of as many as you can. 

Rely on social stories, categorization games, and sorting activities 

Aside from everyday interactions, there are things you can do that make for a more intentional effort in helping your child identify emotions and see how they’re expressed in others. 

Start with social stories. These are narratives created to help autistic children better understand emotions, social situations, and actions. They illustrate things in a way mindful of how autistic individuals think, behave, and comprehend information. 

Use the first-person perspective along with plenty of descriptive sentences. Follow those with directive sentences that identify possible responses and gently guide your child to the correct behavior. You can also include visuals to make the story come alive. 

Categorization games and sorting activities are also great for helping your child identify emotions in others. 

For instance, you could have your child place different emotions in the positive or negative emotion categories to gauge their understanding. You could use flashcards and have your child sort them based on the emotion identified (i.e., sad, happy, angry). 

There are many ways to customize and tailor these activities to your child’s ability and understanding. So, feel free to experiment until you land on those most effective for you and your child. 

Recognizing, Regulating, and Communicating Their Own Emotions

As you work on your child’s ability to identify emotions in others, it’s also essential to help them recognize, regulate, and communicate their own emotions. These two things can help you assist your child in grasping and communicating their emotions. 

Learn how to help your child with autism communicate and manage their emotions in a healthy way Discover practical tips on identifying emotions regulating them and using gaming to relieve stress

Try gaming 

Gaming presents a unique opportunity for children to understand better and manage their emotions. Using gaming to relieve stress and navigate various emotions is common. Your child can game for the same reasons. They can use it to communicate their emotions as well. 

For example, let’s say your child feels sad, and gaming makes them happier. They can tell you they want to game for a bit to feel better because they’re sad. So, not only have they expressed what they’re feeling, but they’ve also introduced a way to manage the emotion healthily. 

You can purchase your child’s favorite gaming console to keep at home. Or, they can engage in mobile gaming, which allows them to stream games on their phone. The latter might be a bit more budget-friendly. It’s also incredibly convenient with the help of 5G technology. 

Introduce mindfulness 

When your child experiences an emotion, you want them to be able to feel it and let it pass without it being destructive. That’s where activities and behaviors that help regulate emotions come in. 

Mindfulness is known to reduce stress and incite a state of calmness that promotes good mental and emotional health. Try kid-friendly yoga and intentional breathing exercises with your child to see how they impact their ability to communicate and manage their emotions. 

Introduce mindfulness and other therapeutic activities to your child to help them handle their emotions appropriately. 

Children with autism may have challenges with communicating and managing their emotions. But with a little effort and intention, you’ll be able to break down the walls that stand between your child and their emotional stability. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like...