FACING EMOTIONS©

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Theodore Roosevelt

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Specific needs with increased focus on the period of Transition into Adulthood exist for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Marked difficulties with social/emotional comprehension and reasoning are prevalent factors. Abilities to use verbal/nonverbal communication in functional, useful manners are impacted by these deficits. Interpretation of communicative intentions and messages/actions embedded with social cues/information are often misjudged or simply disregarded. Reciprocal difficulties, in all, influence abilities to interpret/perceive social interactions with others. Given pronounced deficits with comprehension of emotions and social situations, which require multi-sensory processing, individuals with ASD directly exhibit insufficient perception, engagement, reciprocation, and utilization of social interactions. Named difficulties lead to obstacles, especially when becoming older. Reports of being lonely, troubles with establishing friendships, and being bullied by peers are commonplace for adolescents/adults with ASD.

Individuals with ASD often interpret language in an overly literal way. Difficulties with accurate interpretation of humor, sarcasm, and idioms/metaphors or figures of speech result. These communicative weaknesses set individuals with ASD apart. Problems are typically displayed with engagement in reciprocal utterances/conversation and recognition of the listener’s needs when talking. Speaking at length about a topic of interest is traditional, and resists to change the topic are often overlooked.

Weaknesses in facing emotions extend far beyond reading facial expressions and interacting with others in a group. Collective disabilities are not just social skills, as commonly associated with ASD. Realization and identification of one’s own thoughts and feelings, perception/resolution of related situation or circumstance, functional use of communication to appropriately react/respond, processing/adaptation to sensory information, recognition of the thoughts/feelings or mood of others, and generalized improvements in the abilities to interact with others in a useful, social manner embody the needed skill-sets related to social/emotional reasoning that are necessary for social competence. Individuals with ASD need strategic training and practice with social interactions as a whole. This is comprehension. This is interpretation. This is communication. This is socialization.

Though some display little interest in social interactions, many individuals with ASD desire friendships. Secondary to troubles with perception of other’s feelings/perspectives, relationships often fail, if established. Facing Emotions© will focus on helping young adults with ASD make and keep friends; identify one’s feelings based upon associated nonverbal components, prosody of speech, & related situation/circumstance; identify their own feelings based upon context/conditions with description & realization; become increasingly socially competent; establish increased awareness of abstract language; develop successful social relationships with others; advocate for themselves; and develop a growth mindset to establish perseverance.