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Idea for expressing emotion in a child

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru

My GF's Son has learning difficulties.

He finds it hard to say how he feels

I had an idea of drawing a row 7 faces from top to bottom, next to each face, ill write the word to describe the emotion.

This was, if he looks at it and feels amazingly happy, he can say the word on the top of the list, if he feels 50/50 then he can choose the middle option.

Hope that makes sense.

I am posting here so that I can gather opinion onto the best words to describe levels of happiness/sadness.

I was going to use

Very Well
Not too bad
Very Bad

I could have an extra red smiley face for angry...

Any advice and suggestions would be very appreciated :)


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I know when I was younger I used to see my emotions as certain colours (everything in my mind would be dark blue when I was sad, for example.) My parents were never really into chatting about the colours ('Use your WORDS Grace, green is not a feeling') but a therapist at some point mentioned doing a little bit of colouring in the colour I was feeling to get it out of me, because I wasn't very good at expressing anything apart from rage. I don't know if the colour thing is unique-ish to me, but him drawing a red face to express anger, for example, might be something useful.

    Your face idea is very good. It'll also help him understand your feelings better as well as his own. If, for example, you're not very chatty with him one day, saying that you're feeling 'bad - a 5' will help him relate your feelings to his, and encourage him to empathise.

    One final thing is that I think it can be quite damaging if he's constantly told that he can't express emotions, or if you/his mother say 'he doesn't do feelings' to an adult he's talking with, if he doesn't seem enthusiastic. It's more important that you help him understand his emotions than to appease random adults.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks Grace,

    This is all really helpful.

    I like what you said about not making him feel that he doesnt express emotion.

    He is still young but whenever I ask how he is he says the same answer so I think he thinks that he is just answering a question rather than saying how he feels.

    So I had the idea of making a little poster and leaving it in his room.

    I hadnt considered colours.

    I had 7 yellow faces, some smiley, some sad.

    Do you think the sad faces should be blue or green?

    I appreciate you sharing your story and Im glad everything worked out for you.

    I hadnt even thought about using it to let him know how we are feeling so im glad you picked up on that :)

    He is a lovely boy and sometimes gets really angry at his mum and strikes out. I think its cos he just dont know how to deal with emotions due to learning difficulties so if it helps a tiny bit it is worth it x
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Blue, maybe, then it goes with 'feeling blue'. When you ask him how he is, is the answer something he's learnt, like 'fine thank you' that doesn't even really mean anything cos it's just a stock answer? Be chatty about your own emotions in front rather than just coming out with the polite answer.

    Do you and his mum and him have any support to help you all?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yes he will say he is fine which seems like a stock answer, exactly.

    I do not live with him and his Mum but she does get support from charities etc and OT's and she will ask them questions etc.

    He has moderate learning difficulties.

    If you know of any other types of support I would be grateful to let her know.

    Thanks :)
  • 'Alexandra''Alexandra' Deactivated Posts: 50 Boards Initiate
    Hi Localboy!

    I think using pictures to help him express his emotions is a really creative idea! Graces' suggestion of including colours is a great one and I think maybe also including numbers next to it as well could be beneficial (e.g. 1- fantastic + picture + colour). Then he could pick the form of expression that he relates to the most.

    When your starting off I think it could be beneficial to almost over use it both for your emotions and his. Point to it when eating, when watching tv, brushing teeth and so on... That way he can really engage with it and start to understand that you experience different emotions for the different activities.

    It's really fantastic that you thought of this! How old is he? Has he started school yet? As teachers might have some other good suggestions.
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