Friday, November 11, 2011

Emotions Book

Bubble (who has ASD) has been without her usual Occupational Therapy for the last few months and as a result we've been experiencing a lot of over emotional behaviour and meltdowns. She is having a hard time expressing her feelings in a way we can understand, so helping her with her anxieties has been proving difficult.
To try and help her identify and work through her thoughts and feelings I made her an 'emotions book' last week that we use throughout the day and just before bedtime. The idea is that whenever she is experiencing heightened emotions (good or bad) she can use the book to identify how she feels and we can then try and talk about them.
She loves the tactile nature of the front cover and it gives us a springboard for discussing emotions as they occur, why or where they have come from and what we can do about them. It's also a great distraction tool and a way for her to download before going to bed.


* small notepad/notebook
* small key rings displaying different emotions
(I found these in our local dollar shop but you could use anything similar. Stickers, stamps, foam shapes, even draw your own or use your child's own artwork).
* superglue
* pens/pencils

We were very lucky to find a great set of emotions charms/key rings in our dollar shop that were perfect for our book. They are rubber so a great tactile tool as well as being bright and fun to look at. Bubble loves rainbows so I chose a colourful notebook to go with them and some special pens for her to use with her book.

The charms were easy to superglue to the front of the notebook. Laminated pictures, stickers or anything else you can find with emotions on them will do the job just as well. They provide a visual cue for your child to help them identify how the feel.

Once Bubble has shown me how she is feeling we write it as a heading on a page in her book and then she lists what is making her feel that way. Sometimes she doesn't know, so we just talk about what we can do to make her feel better (if she is feeling negatively) draw a picture or talk about her day.


  1. Newish reader, more of a lurker :), I wanted to ask you about OT. When our DS (ASD) was in OT they were only working with sensory issues. I actually had a hard time figuring out what the purpose was. Yet, you and other ASD moms talk about how it has helped tremendously with your child to express their feelings better. What does OT do for your child?

  2. Hi Angela! I'm no expert and every child is different with different needs, but for Bubble OT is the most effective therapy we've found for reducing her anxiety. She is a 'deep pressure seeker' and the exercises we learn in OT help to address these needs so she is calmer and not seeking the same effects in more destructive ways (such as headbutting, squeezing people, chewing things etc...). By following the different programs set out by her OT she is a much calmer happier child without all of the 'pent up' sensory cravings she otherwise has.
    When we can see Bubble getting stressed or a melt down building we can implement some of her exercises from OT and usually this will calm her and head off the 'explosion'. For her the most effective tools are squeeze therapy and following a 'sensory diet' program.
    The other things that help us are visual routine (we have a photo board that sets out what are doing the following day), and visual preparation aids like photo books and social stories/timelines.
    Hope that makes sense! Feel free to email anytime if you would like a chat, it's a daunting process helping our kids sometimes x

  3. What a great idea. Even though my son doesn't have ASD he can sometimes get over emotional and loses control. I can do something like this to help with this.