Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Emotions Color Wheel—Part I

Most individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a difficult time accurately labeling their own emotions and the emotions of others. The Emotions Color Wheel can help teach these individuals with ASD (and anyone who has difficulty in this area for that matter) to group feeling in a visual and structured way.

As you can see each emotion is assigned a color, but within each emotion there is a range of intensity. Less intense on the outside to more intense in the center as shown in the example below.

Here is another visual way of looking at how lighter colors = less intense emotions and darker colors = more intense emotions.

We want to teach individuals with ASD that it is safer to stay with the lighter color emotions, the less intense emotions, because they make those around them feel more comfortable. For example people are more comfortable if you are 'unsure' rather than 'hysterical', 'aggravated', rather than 'enraged' as shown in the example below.

We can teach that the emotions toward the center can cause other people around us to become more emotional and more intense with their own emotions. As teachers we can use the Behavior Thermometer and teach our students to keep their emotions below a 3 to stay out of the center of the Emotions Color Wheel to avoid strong responses from others.
Stay tuned for Emotions Color Wheel Part II—coming soon!

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