Autism and Emotions. The Main Challenges

It cannot be denied that when it comes to the topic of autism, there are many challenges regarding the processing of emotions by children who have autism. Thus, this article will provide beneficial information to help you with real ways that work in guiding your child with the processing of his or her emotions when your child deals with the various struggles of autism. 

When children usually develop emotions and recognize them

Most babies that undergo a diagnosis of autism later than their infant years still generally can form recognition of emotions just like most other babies in the process of development. However, the reality is that babies and children who have autism are noted as being slower regarding their development of responding to emotions in comparison to children who do not possess autism.

When children with autism reach the age of five to seven, the majority of them can realize what emotions are sad or happy. However, they do struggle with the identification of emotions of anger or fear that may be subtle. When they reach adolescence, they still tend to struggle with being able to identify emotions of disgust, surprise, anger, or fear in comparison to other teens who do not have autism. Even in adulthood, people with autism can often struggle with identifying various types of emotions. 

Challenges that children have with emotions

  • Recognizing emotions

Indeed, children with autism do have challenges. They tend to find it difficult when it comes to the recognition of emotions. They may not know how to process various expressions of the face as well as other cues that have an emotional connotation, such as body language along with the tone of someone's voice.

Moreover, children who possess autism do find it rather challenging to engage in the management of their emotions. They have a hard time demonstrating their emotions openly or in an acceptable social manner. 

  • Responding to emotions

Children with autism do not readily comprehend the emotions of the people around them and they do not openly respond to the emotions of those around them.

This means that people with autism can have a lack of empathy in their interactions with those around them. Or they may seem to portray a lack of empathy toward others in their environment. 

Ideas to help your child

  • Begin with the basic emotions

Though the truth is that there are a wide array of emotions that children will learn overtime during their process of development in terms of becoming more emotionally aware, you should begin with the five basic emotions, which will greatly simplify the process of your child being more successful in learning these emotions well. Thus, this means that you will want to reinforce to your child the emotions of surprise, disgust, happiness, anger as well as sadness. Both therapists, as well as psychologists, are in unanimous agreement in their view that the five basic emotions tend to be the only types of emotions that can be readily recognized on the face without other emotional indicators consistently.

This means that other forms of emotions have the requirement to include additional contextual clues as well as body language. Therefore, if children possess autism, emphasizing the five basic emotions is the right approach to enable them to learn well at the introductory level. This will permit the children to make generalizations regarding these emotions as they connect such emotions to a wide array of photographs as well as people. This approach will further help to ensure that they are prepared in being able to form the recognition of emotions that are noted as being more complex. 

  • Be responsive

Always be careful to be responsive to the emotions of your child by speaking about the emotions of your child. You can also increase your emphasis on your emotional responses. For example, when your child is smiling, be sure to tell your child that you see your child's smile and that his or her smile makes you happy. Also, you can emphasize emotion when you tell your child that you are super excited and when you ask the child to give you a high five. 


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