Saturday, November 28, 2009

Clinic Notes: What do Emotions Look Like to a Child with Autism?

Children with autism have problems identifying emotions in other people. It seems this has to do with facial expressions. But children with autism also have problems identifying and managing their own emotions. Anger, sadness, anxious, happiness, and other emotions are difficult to describe. Joseph and Silvana Karim have two children on the spectrum and after working with their children wrote a book using color to express emotion. For example, anger is hot and therefore red. This approach makes a lot of sense since children with autism seem to do better in the visual modality. Their book also has drills to help the child with autism identify emotions in the facial expression of others and describe their own emotions using their own words. I plan to see if this could be used in a discrete trial format in my ABA clinic.