FOCUS Fort Myers ABA and Occupational Therapists on Expressing Feelings vs. Energy on the Autism Spectrum
As our FOCUS Fort Myers ABA and occupational therapists can explain, lots of kids with autism and ADHD have difficulty recognizing or describing their emotions. There’s actually a name for this: Alexithymia.
It’s not a medical condition in its own right, but lots of neurodivergent people describe it as very real, characterized by substantial and continued difficulty with emotional awareness. It was detailed in a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
Some neurodivergent people who experience alexithymia say that it’s easier to discuss feelings as levels of energy, which can seem a bit more tangible than emotions.
Our FOCUS Fort Myers ABA therapists and occupational therapists recently came across a resource created by the therapy consultants at AutismLevelUp.com that describes the various energy levels, and it inspired us to create our own visuals/explainer.
This idea of identifying energies versus feelings closely relates to the Zones of Regulation that our therapy team uses frequently. (i.e., Blue Zone 🔵 = Sad, Tired, Bored, Sluggish; Red Zone 🔴 = Mad/Angry, Scared, Out-of-Control; Yellow Zone 🟡= Frustrated, Worried, Wiggly, Silly, Excited; Green Zone 🟢= Happy, Calm, Focused, Relaxed).
Every person may have their own unique manifestations of these various zones or energy levels (i.e., one may become hyperactive when they are overly-tired – perhaps because they’re overstimulated).
The bottom line is that any time we can help kids better identify their feelings and/or energy level, the better able we are to help them learn the most effective self-regulation strategies.
Self regulation plays a key role in relationships, well-being and overall success in life. People who are able to manage their emotions and control their behavior are more prepared to manage stress, deal with conflict and achieve their goals.
If you have questions about the Zones of Regulation, identifying energy levels, or setting self-regulation goals for your child with autism and/or ADHD, our FOCUS Fort Myers ABA therapists and occupational therapists are here to help.
FOCUS Fort Myers offers ABA therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, feeding/swallowing therapy, and physical therapy to kids throughout Southwest Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.
Alexithymia and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Complex Relationship, July 17, 2018, Frontiers in Psychology
More Blog Entries:
FOCUS Therapy Only Schedules Evaluations if We Have Space to Treat Your Child, Aug. 1, 2022, FOCUS Fort Myers Therapy Blog
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