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Module 4: Enhancing Social Developing for Students with ASD in General Education Classrooms


Students with ASD and Emotional Regulation ... Bouncing on a trampoline/balance ball. Going on a swing. Playing a sport. Dancing. Riding a bike ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Module 4: Enhancing Social Developing for Students with ASD in General Education Classrooms

Module 4 Enhancing Social Developing for
Students with ASD in General Education Classrooms
  • Lesson 3 Regulating Emotions

  • Defining Emotional Regulation
  • Students with ASD and Emotional Regulation
  • Strategies for Enhancing the Emotional
    Regulation of Students with ASD

Defining Emotional Regulation
  • Emotional Regulation is
  • A process in which emotional arousal (positive or
    negative) is redirected, controlled, modulated,
    and modified to enable a person to function
    adaptively (Cicchetti, Ganiban, Barnett, 1991)
  • Essential for optimal social and communication
    development (Prizant Meyer, 1993)

Students with ASD and Emotional Regulation
  • Students with ASD often have difficulties
    regulating their emotions
  • This can be due to a variety of factors
  • Difficulty with language and communication
  • Difficulty with social interaction
  • Difficulties in emotional expression
  • Motor difficulties
  • Challenges in the development of cognitive and
    metacognitive skills
  • Neurophysiological factors that result in
    hyper-reactivity (over-arousal) or
    hypo-reactivity (under-arousal)
  • (Prizant, Wetherby, Rubin, Laurent, Rydell,

Why is it Important to Regulate Emotions?
  • Extreme negative emotions or positive emotions
    can detrimentally affect attention, communication
    skills, and problem solving (Prizant et al.,
  • Students with ASD may display
  • Behaviors such as stereotypic body movements
    and/or verbalizations get over-excited when
    something makes them happy and
  • Tantrums or other negative behaviors if they get
    over anxious, upset, scared, or angry

Strategies for Enhancing the Emotional
Regulation of Students with ASD
General Strategies
  • Provide a predictable, structured routine
  • Provide visual supports
  • Offer choices (verbally and nonverbally)
  • Respond appropriately to the students attempts
    at regulation
  • Recognize signs of dysregulation and offer
    support by providing information (ex. You only
    have two more problems.) or assistance (ex.
    offer help with an academic task)

General Strategies
  • Follow the childs lead
  • Use time-delay to encourage initiations
  • Allow the student to work at own pace
  • Ensure expectations are developmentally
  • Model appropriate nonverbal and verbal
    communication and request imitation
  • Define clear beginning, middle, and end to
  • Provide repeated learning opportunities
    throughout the day for targeted skills
  • Use augmentative communication supports

The Incredible 5-Point Scale (Buron Curtis,
  • One strategy that may help students with ASD to
    regulate their emotions is to provide them with a
    visual scale so they can rate how they are
    feeling at any given time.
  • For example, a student may use the following
    rating to describe his emotional state
  • I am happy and calm
  • I am a little upset
  • I am definitely upset
  • I am feeling like I am getting to the point when
    I cannot control my behavior
  • I am unable to control my behavior

Acting Lessons (Myles Southwick, 2005)
  • Acting lessons my help students with ASD develop
    self-awareness, self-calming, and self-management
  • Students learn to express their emotions in
    specific situations both verbally and nonverbally
  • Students learn to interpret others emotions,
    feelings, and voices
  • Students receive direct and immediate feedback
    from an instructor and peers regarding their

The Emotional Toolbox (Attwood, 2004)
  • In the book entitled, Exploring Feelings
    Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to Manage ANXIETY,
    Tony Attwood discusses the emotional toolbox
    program to help students identify tools that can
    help fix certain feelings.
  • These tools include
  • Physical tools
  • Relaxation tools
  • Social tools
  • Thinking tools
  • Special interest tools

Physical Tools (Attwood, 2004)
  • The student selects physical activities that can
    help release emotional energy
  • These activities may include
  • Going for a walk/run
  • Bouncing on a trampoline/balance ball
  • Going on a swing
  • Playing a sport
  • Dancing
  • Riding a bike
  • Swimming
  • Playing an instrument

Relaxation Tools (Attwood, 2004)
  • Relaxation tools help to calm the student down
    and lower the heart rate. This may include
  • Drawing
  • Reading
  • Listening to music
  • Retreating to a quiet place
  • Rocking/engaging in repetitive behavior
  • Massage
  • Playing with a stress ball
  • Leaving the class to deliver a message
  • Doing a chore in the classroom (ex. Cleaning up
    the book shelf)

Social Tools (Attwood, 2004)
  • Social tools entail finding a person to be with
    who can help change the mood of the student. This
    may entail
  • Visiting with the school counselor or other staff
    member outside of the classroom
  • Helping a classmate who has difficulties in an
    area of the students interests or expertise
  • Working alongside a favorite peer

Thinking Tools (Attwood, 2004)
  • Using thinking tools means students use their
    intellectual strengths to control feelings. This
    can be done by
  • Using self-talk (ex. I can stay calm even though
    I am frustrated)
  • Create a personal antidote that can encourage
    positive thoughts (ex. I can ask for help to fix
    a problem.) The antidote can be written on a
    card to be used as a cue or reminder.
  • Help put the event in perspective for the student
    by doing a reality check. You can ask questions
    that require the use of logic and facts to help
    calm the student (ex. Is there another time in
    the day that you can finish your drawing?
  • Have the student engage in an academic task in
    which he/she excels to help calm down
  • Have the student keep an object in their pocket
    or desk that symbolizes relaxation for that
    student. The student can touch or look at that
    item for a few minutes to assist in calming down

Tension Release and Breathing (Bellini, 2008)
  • Students can be taught how to use tension release
    and breathing strategies when they encounter
    stressful situations
  • Tension release Make a tight fist for 5 seconds.
    Release. Do this five times.
  • Breathing exercises Take slow, deep breaths,
    inhaling through the nose and exhaling through
    the mouth
  • Bellini recommends introducing these techniques
    using a Social Story so the child can learn
    when, where, and how to use the relaxation

Module 4 Lesson 3 Activity
  • Select a student who has difficulties regulation
    emotions (best if it is a student with ASD)
  • Choose strategies from this presentation to
    develop an intervention plan to enhance the
    emotional regulation of the student
  • Submit an overview of the students difficulties
    with emotional regulation and a description of
    your intervention plan

  • Attwood, T. (2004). Exploring feelings Cognitive
    Behaviour Therapy to Manage Anxiety. Bellini, S.
    (2008). Building social relationships A
    systematic approach to teaching social
    interaction skills to children and adolescents
    with autism spectrum disorders and other social
    difficulties. Shawnee Mission, KS Autism
    Asperger Publishing.
  • Buron, K. D., Curtis, M. (2003). The incredible
    5-point scale Assisting students with autism
    spectrum disorders in understanding social
    interactions and controlling their emotional
    responses. Shawnee Mission, KS Autism Asperger
  • Cicchetti, D., Ganiban, J., Barnett, D. (1991).
    Contributions from the study of high-risk
    populations to understanding the development of
    emotion regulation. In J. Garber K. Dodge
    (Eds.), The development of emotion regulation and
    dysregulation (pp. 15-48). Cambridge, England
    Cambridge University Press.
  • Prizant, B.M., Meyer, E. C. (1993).
    Socioemotional aspects of communication disorders
    in young children and their families. American
    Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 2, 56-71.
  • Prizant, B. M., Wetherby, A. M., Rubin, E.,
    Laurent, A. C., Rydell, P. J. (2006). The
    SCERTS model A comprehensive educational
    approach for children with autism spectrum
    disorders. Baltimore, MD Brookes.