Different Ways to Understand Emotions

Different Ways to Understand Emotions

2021-07-27T05:09:43+00:00July 24th, 2021|

Recognising and understanding feelings can be difficult especially for kids with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). It’s because these kids have low social awareness which makes them hard to identify and understand social cues. However, it is essential for one to recognize own feelings and emotions especially when you grow older as this will affect the relationship with others and relationship with oneself. Emotions are part of human nature. They give information about what we’re experiencing and help us know how to react.

As mentioned, recognizing emotions doesn’t come easy especially for kids with ASD. Hence, there are many ways on how to step by step recognize emotions. Below are the following:

  1. Recognition of facial expressions from photographs
  • Children often cannot understand the words sad, happy, angry or scared. Therefore, it is best to pair these words with pictures. As we often say, picture speaks a thousand words. True enough, using “real life” pictures can help children understand emotions better. You can print pictures of a familiar person like parents, caregivers, siblings or friends who can show these emotions. For non-verbal kids, you can ask them to point which picture shows happy, sad, angry or scared.


  1. Recognition of emotions from Schematic Drawings
  • Real life pictures can be oversimplified using schematic drawings or clipart or what we commonly call “emojis”. To help generalize the photos, you can let your child match the schematic drawings to the real-life photo as shown below:


  1. Identifying situation-based emotions
  • This phase is to expose your children with situation-based emotions. This is to expand their understanding of which emotions will be present on that situation. This will help your children to interpret or predict the context of the situation. You can print out 4 pictures that portrays happy, sad, angry and scared.
  • For example:
    • happy – receiving a present

    • sad – kid fell off from the bicycle

    • angry – children fighting

    • scared – the dog is chasing a boy

  • Have your child match the schematic drawings to the scenario picture.

To generalize these different emotions, it is best to perform role-playing activities and some social stories. During these role-playing opportunities, it is fair to have a recap on different emotions through the pictures as this will give them some cues on what emotion is being portrayed.


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