Emotions are an incredibly powerful force in our lives! Emotions fuel our mental state, they tell us how we feel and how to respond to certain situations. So, what if a person has difficulty recognizing their emotions?
Children with Autism often experience that difficulty. They find it hard to recognize the facial expressions and what emotions they hold. And on the other end, they have trouble controlling their own emotions and reactions. The good news? We can do something about it.
Here are some of the tips for parents to use in helping their children develop and improve their ability to express and respond to emotions:
Associate simple words with emotions. One way to help your child remember and recognize emotions is by pointing out emotions as they organically arise. Take for example watching TV- If a character is smiling and joyous, point out his face and demeanor while saying “Look, Edward’s smiling. He is happy.”
Focus your child’s attention. Another helpful way in developing your child’s response to emotions is by improving their concentration skills. You can work on this trait by allowing him to focus on a person while they are speaking.
Respond to your child’s emotions. One good way to backup your child’s emotional recognition skill is by responding to their emotion by recognizing and verbally expressing what emotion is present. For example, “You’re smiling. You must be happy.”
Encourage your child to maintain eye contact. Having your child maintain eye contact when communicating with someone is an effective way in helping them practice and improve their emotional recognition skills.
Utilizing resources that are available to you is also important; other parents, blogs, social skills groups, one on one therapy, etc. Every child has their own pace of learning and developing. So, despite any hiccups or bumps in the road, remember to stay positive!