Facilitating Emotion Regulation Strategies for Anger and Anxiety Related Emotions in Young Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (HFASD)
Reyes, Nuri M.
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Previous research showed that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) tend to experience high levels of anxiety and anger. Some of the deficits that children with ASD experience are due their difficulty expressing and understanding their own and othersâ emotions. Thus, the purpose of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility and efficacy of an intervention to teach young children with high functioning autism (HFASD) to recognize their emotions and use emotion regulation strategies to self-soothe. We implemented a group therapy that emphasized childrenâ s understanding and knowledge of emotions and coping strategies related to anger and anxiety. Eleven 5-7 year-old children were randomly assigned to either an experimental or delayed-treatment control group. The Emotion Regulation Checklist, Behavior Monitoring Sheet, What Makes My Child Angry/Anxious Questionnaires, and anger- and anxiety-related emotions vignettes were used to measure childrenâ s emotion regulation abilities. Finally, maternal confidence of their own and their childâ s ability to regulate their emotions were measured by the Self-Confidence Rating Scale. Children in the experimental group demonstrated more knowledge of emotion regulation strategies, had fewer negative emotional responses, and showed lower frequency and intensity ratings of anger and anxiety related episodes after treatment. All mothers reported higher levels of confidence in their own and their childâ s ability to deal with anger and anxiety related emotions after treatment. These findings suggest that teaching young children with HFASD about emotion regulation strategies to manage anger and anxiety emotional states may increase their knowledge about emotion regulation strategies, and improve their emotion regulation abilities. Training mothers about emotion regulation strategies may increase maternal confidence in their own and their childâ s ability to deal with emotions related to anger and anxiety. Limitations and implications of this study will be discussed.
- Masters Theses