Lately I’ve realized that many times I struggle to identify my own feelings, and even break them down. If I could figure out a) what my feelings are, b) why I have them, and c) how to deal with a problem, I’d feel more in control of the things that happen in social situations.
Unfortunately, feelings happen very quickly, often before I understand why I’m having them. Sometimes I catch on to other people’s feelings before I identify my own (a finding in contrast to much of the ASD literature). I have an easier time picking up on other people’s feelings (though I’m not always right–far from it) because I see it as a more pressing requirement of social interaction (v. my feelings are always there whether I’m alone or in a group, and I tend to put identifying them on hold in favor of all else that’s going on; it’s totally a damage control thing).
In both instances (self or group), however, NLD skews and rearranges my perceptions (i.e., I tend to get less than 40% on the facial recognition tests). It’s very frustrating, and explains why I like alone time best. Here are some things that might help:
-“I feel” statements–every day in the home
-Ask child how he/she feels about a situation, and teach him/her names of major feelings
-Teach that there are degrees of feelings, and that they often occur with other feelings
-Teach that it’s OK to have feelings, but that we must deal with them in acceptable ways
A quick list of emotions, compiled by two emotional theorists, appears in this Wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emotions.
I’m going to look at it and write more later. I hope to find some interventions that help adults as well.