Case study on Anger Management

A. is an eight-year-old boy who attends a special school for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. He has a diagnosis of autism.

Background

A. is an eight-year-old boy who attends a special school for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. He has a diagnosis of autism. He is academically capable with a curious mind and a sense of humour. He displays strengths in the area of mathematics and science and enjoys playing with construction toys such as Lego and Knex and playing Minecraft on his computer.

A. has difficulty regulating his emotions resulting in behaviours of concern, particularly in the school environment.

Stress Responses 

A finds the following situations stressful

  • Presentation of work that A. perceived to be too difficult for him
  • Other children not following his agenda
  • Losing games and literacy work
  • Other children not following the rules
  • He was unable to label his emotions
  • He was unable to ask for help in the classroom
  • He had no adaptive strategies in his repertoire for coping when he lost a game or when other children didn’t follow the rules
  • He was unaware of consequences of his actions on himself and others

Supports

The following strategies were used to help A. recognise and manage his feelings of stress

  • Exploration of how everybody experiences lots of different feelings, including anger. Promote understanding of what happens to our bodies when we feel angry (e.g. Volcano in my Tummy)
  • Age-appropriate books and games to facilitate teaching and understanding around feeling angry and strategies to help manage this (e.g. The Red Beast, The Overheating Game)
  • Social Stories ™ to support understanding the right and wrong way to manage situations he finds difficult (e.g. coping with losing, dealing with mistakes)
  • Powercards were used as reminders in natural environment
  • Developed a ‘calm area’ within the classroom which could be used if pre-requisite behaviours were observed which suggested he was becoming frustrated with a situation
  • Use of strategies to support him with labelling and regulating his emotions e.g. The 5 Point Scale, deep breathing exercises