You’ve heard that people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) struggle to understand and express emotions. But why aren’t they able to do so? What causes this issue?
Autism is a complex disorder that impacts individuals in many different ways. An issue related to the struggle to understand and express emotions is one of the most common characteristics of the disorder. So, it’s important to know more about it.
Learn more about how autism and expressing emotions are connected. You can also learn how you can help your loved one improve their emotional intelligence.
How Do Emotions Differ in Children on the Autistic Spectrum?
Autistic children may express the same emotions as children without autism. This includes such as fear, shock, sadness, joy, and happiness, though these expressions may differ. They may have difficulty identifying, understanding and show overwhelming emotions.
For example, they may have difficulty understanding the nuances of nonverbal communication. Thus, rely on literal interpretations of symbols. This includes such as facial expressions, which can lead to misunderstandings.
These children may show greater levels of emotional intensity. They often ‘shut down’ in response to a situation they cannot control or lack the language to express their feelings. They may also show unusual emotional reactions, such as laughing when others might be crying or angry when others might be more relaxed.
How to Help Individuals With Autism Manage and Regulate Emotions
There are many strategies to help those living with the challenges of autism in everyday life. Here are the most popular and effective methods:
Establish daily routines and schedules. This can reduce stress and anxiety while also providing a sense of predictability.
When individuals with autism are able to predict what their day is going to look like and what is expected of them, their emotions and behaviors can improve.
Modeling of Emotional Regulation
This can be done through social stories. It can describe how to respond in difficult situations, visual tools, and images that guide problem-solving or conversations.
It should be emphasized on how to understand one’s feelings. For instance, role play can be used to show someone with autism how to regulate emotions when faced with anger and frustration.
Teach Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is based on the theory that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interconnected. It is done by changing our thoughts. We can change our emotions and behaviors.
For example, if an individual with autism is feeling overwhelmed at the thought of attending a noisy public event, the therapist can help them identify the negative thoughts causing their distress.
They can teach them healthier ways of thinking and provide skills. This includes such as relaxation, problem-solving, and self-management.
On this page for ABA Therapy, you’ll find plenty of information about how CBT can be tailored to meet the individual needs of those with autism.
A Guide to Autism and Expressing Emotions
It is important to be kind and understanding when interacting with an individual on the autism spectrum. Respect their boundaries and engage with them in an understanding and accepting way.
This article provides a good starting point for understanding how to navigate conversations while recognizing their unique emotional expression.
Make sure to continue researching more resources on autism and expressing emotions. This is to gain knowledge on how to communicate better with individuals on the autism spectrum.
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