Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and having complex communication needs find it difficult to express and manage their emotions. 

Identifying triggers

You need to identify what are the triggers for the negative behaviour. Request the parent/communication partner to observe all the instances when the negative behaviour crops up. 

They can use the ABC approach. 

  • A - Antecendent- as in what triggered the behaviour or what happened before 
  • B - Behaviour - what is the behaviour that the user engages in  
  • C - Consequence - what happens after? 

    For e.g. 
    • A - is they don't understand the question or the question is too difficult 
    • B - they start crying or push you away and 
    • C - they do not calm down until you stop the task and move on to something of their choice. 
      Once we observe  and document the ABCs you can add personalised statements accordingly to the AAC system and teach them to use the same.  

What statements can you teach a child with social-emotional issues to curb negative behaviour? 

You can use some of the pre-stored sentences from the Quick > Responses and comments folder or you can add them: 

  • I need more time
  • I need quiet time
  • I need a break
  • I will do later 
    etc. or customize it as per the individual user's needs. 

    This is the screenshot of a personalised set of statements created for a user after observing their behaviour. 

Emotion Zones

The Emotion zones or Emotion charts help in simplifying the identification and expression of emotions by associating specific colours with certain types of emotions and also offering suggestions for responding to the emotions. Since it is colour-coded and visual, it makes it easier for children to follow a common response strategy based on the colour. It helps them better regulate their emotions and respond accordingly. Once the child is able to express more emotions, it is useful to offer a strategy for dealing with different types of emotions. 

Make the chart/ scale on low-tech board, so that it can be used anywhere, at anytime, showing the colours and the feelings. You can talk about each emotion and when the child indicates their state of mind, and explain the expected behaviour through a social story for each emotion. 

Expressing anger - Using Social stories to teach a child how to express their emotions 

Download the above folder (.avc file) to your app - When I'm angry 

How to import .avc file to Avaz

Related articles

FAQ - How to teach emotions and expression of feelings?

Avaz blog - 5 Simple Activities to Develop the Emotional Intelligence Skills of Learners with Disabilities