Emotional Awareness and Regulation Therapy Tools for Autistic Children

By Samantha Rowntree

Last month was Autism Acceptance Month, a month where Autistic people like me spend many hours, ridiculous amounts of energy, and spend all our emotional bandwidth on trying to spread messages of acceptance and inclusion, while the world is listening. The main message for Autism Acceptance Month this year is acceptance, not awareness. Awareness creates tolerance, acceptance leads to inclusion and understanding.

Autism is a neurological difference in the brain that influences how an individual interacts with other people and their environment. Our world portrays Autism as something purely negative – a life sentence – and a diagnosis is often delivered to parents as the end of their world. Autism is not easy to live with, but it is the job of society to change, not our Autistic kids!

Awareness creates tolerance, acceptance leads to inclusion and understanding.

Most of our Autistic kids spend time in Allied Health services (speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc.), and sometimes we want to continue our work at home between sessions. Busy Books are perfect for that!

One of my favourite Busy Books to use with my Autistic clients is the My Body Mindfulness Time Busy Book by Busy Books Australia. This book serves as the perfect vessel for explaining how our body works, and allows our Autistic kids a chance to use the images in the book to explain how they are feeling.

My Body → The My Body pages allow you to talk about the way that different emotions feel in our body. You can point out the stomach and talk about how when you’re nervous, you can feel it in your stomach. This opens up an opportunity for your child to tell you where they are feeling emotions or pain in their body. It is important to let them know there is no right and wrong – many Autistic people have reported that they don’t feel nerves in their stomach, they feel it in their limbs instead. Everyone feels emotions differently!

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