Understanding Emotions

Dr Tony Attwood’s work on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is very important for children with autism spectrum. According to Tony people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) need to work on feelings and emotions AT LEAST ONE HOUR EVERY WEEK from early childhood right through to adulthood. The issue is not that children with ASD DON’T have feelings or emotions – it’s that they don’t always understand their feelings or emotions, and often don’t have strategies to deal with them.

Interestingly, Tony talks about how feelings of sadness or anxiety can often come out as anger. They need a way to vent their feelings and as some just don’t know how to cry – they hit out instead. Teaching them to understand how they are feeling is a very useful tool in helping them to manage their own behaviour. Feelings of frustration or anxiety can very quickly escalate into major meltdowns, but with an emotional toolbox children can learn to manage these feelings before they reach boiling point.

Those of you who saw the wonderful ‘Australian Story’ on Tony in late 2017, the books they discussed as clinically proven are Exploring Feeling: CBT to Manage Anxiety and Anger (see below).

Managing Emotions

A key for students to fully participate in education is teaching them to manage their emotions, in particular any anger and/or anxiety. Tony Attwood’s Cognitive Behaviour Therapy books are a great tool to use as a return to school or class plan. In my experience withdrawing students and excluding students doesn’t actually resolve the underlying reason why they are not participating in school. Teaching students to understand their emotions and how to manage them has much better outcomes for everyone.

At his workshops and in his books Tony discusses using an Emotional Tool Box to help repair emotions.

  1. Physical Tools
  2. Relaxation Tools
  3. Social Tools
  4. Thinking Tools
  5. Special Interest Tools
  6. Sensory Tools

When helping children understand their emotions, sometimes we need to support them to understand what makes them anxious verses what makes them angry. Here are 10 causes of anger and anxiety according to my Facebook friends. I hope they help you identify triggers for kids you know.

10 Common Reasons for Anxiety

  1. Being teased.
  2. Getting a new teacher.
  3. Not getting to sleep.
  4. Someone hurting them on purpose.
  5. Having to make choices.
  6. Doing homework.
  7. Being around lots of people.
  8. Thunderstorms.
  9. Being alone.
  10. Sensory – haircuts, brushing hair, etc.

10 Common Reasons for Anger

  1. Getting work wrong.
  2. When others won’t play with them.
  3. Perceived to be treated unfairly.
  4. Someone shouts at them.
  5. When people interfere with their games or belongings.
  6. When they lose a game.
  7. Change in routine with no warning.
  8. Not being listened to or getting a turn when have hand upfirst.
  9. Being told “no”.
  10. Being told they are wrong.

Of course, what makes some children anxious makes others angry, and this is why it is great to do a programme like CBT to help you establish an individual child’s emotional reactions.

For 2018 workshops with Dr Tony Attwood go to out Workshop  page.

Managing Meltdowns by Managing Emotions

Exploring Feelings: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to Manage Anxiety/Anger
By Dr Tony Attwood

Guides for caregivers and teachers, each with a workbook section allowing children to identify situations that make them anxious or angry, learn how to perceive the situation differently, and learn appropriate responses. Learning about emotions helps children recognise connections between thinking and feeling, and helps them identify the physiological effects of anxiety and anger on the body.

ANXIETY $29.95 Click here for more info
ANGER $29.95 Click here for more info

Beautiful Books for Teaching About Emotions

The Green-Eyed Goblin

By K.I. Al-Ghani = JEALOUSY
This illustrated storybook explains jealousy through the story of Theo and his Green-Eyed Goblin. It will encourage children to talk about their feelings and learn how to subdue their own Green-Eyed Goblin for good. A section of tried and tested techniques for using with children, and a helpful introduction for parents and carers is included.

$33.95 (plus P & H)

Click here for more info

The Red Beast

By K.I. Al-Ghani = ANGER
This vibrant, fully illustrated children’s storybook is written for children aged 5+, and is an accessible, fun way to talk about anger, with useful tips about how to ‘tame the red beast’ and guidance for parents on how anger affects children with Asperger’s Syndrome.

$33.95 (plus P & H)

Click here for more info

The Panicosaurus

By K.I. Al-Ghani = ANXIETY
This fun, easy-to-read and fully illustrated storybook will inspire children who experience anxiety, and encourage them to banish their own Panicosauruses with help from Mabel’s strategies. Parents and carers will like the helpful introduction, explaining anxiety in children, and the list of techniques for lessening anxiety at the end of the book.

$33.95 (plus P & H)

Click here for more info

The Disappointment Dragon

By K.I. Al-Ghani = DISAPPOINTMENT
The Disappointment Dragon sometimes comes to see us all and, if we let him, he can make us feel sad or angry. The fun characters in this charming, fully illustrated storybook will help children to cope with, and discuss openly, their feelings of disappointment. There are many creative suggestions on how to banish the Disappointment Dragon and an introduction for adults explaining disappointment in children and how they can help.

$33.95 (plus P & H)

Click here for more info

Beautiful Books to Help Regulate Emotions

Stay Cool and In Control with the Keep-Calm Guru

By Lauren Brukner
Meet the Keep-Calm Guru, our expert guide to the art of staying cool, calm, and in control in the face of overpowering feelings! This illustrated book introduces wise ways for children to recognise and cope with anxiety, anger, frustration, and other difficult emotions. Using everything from yoga poses and pressure holds, to deep breathing and relaxing colouring activities, the Keep-Calm Guru shows kids how to take back control and feel cool, calm, and just right. Suitable for children with sensory and emotional regulation difficulties aged approximately 7-14 years.

$35.95 (plus P & H)

Click here for more info

The Kids Guide to Staying Awesome and In Control

By Lauren Brukner
From breathing exercises, pressure holds and finger pulls, to fidgets, noise-reducing headphones and gum, this book is brimming with fun stuff to help kids feel cool, calm and collected. They will learn how to label difficult feelings, choose the perfect strategies and tools to tackle them, and use the se correctly whether at home or at school. The strategies and tools are accompanied by cartoon-style illustrations, and the author includes useful tips for parents and teachers as well as handy visual charts and checklists to track learning and progress. For ages 7-14 years.

$35.95 (plus P & H)

Click here for more info

How to be a Superhero Called Self-Control

By Lauren Brukner
Narrated by a superhero called Self-Control, this illustrated book provides a variety of super power strategies to help children with emotional and sensory regulation difficulties, aged approximately 4 to 7 years to master self-control.

$35.95 (plus P & H)

Click here for more info

Self-Control to the Rescue

By Lauren Brukner
Narrated by a superhero called Self-Control, this illustrated book provides a variety of super power strategies to help children with emotional and sensory regulation difficulties, aged approximately 4 to 7 years to master self-control.

$35.95 (plus P & H)

Click here for more info