Case study on Emotional Regulation
E. is a ten year old boy who attends a social communication unit within a mainstream school. He has a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome.
E. is a ten year old boy who attends a social communication unit within a mainstream school. He has a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. He has difficulties with emotional regulation resulting in outbursts of challenging behaviour at times. He also required support with developing his self-awareness and control. He is an engaging young man who has a vivid imagination and a talent for drawing. He enjoys playing Minecraft on his computer and displays skill with this and enjoys reading and has a particular interest in water mills and pumps and displays depth of knowledge in these topics. He has recently begun swimming lessons and appears to enjoy this.
E. has had difficulty regulating emotions when faced with certain situations in school e.g. losing at games, making a mistake, engaging in paired work, waiting for other students to give responses. These situations typically lead to a build-up of anxiety which result in emotional outbursts and occasional behaviour of concern.
On consultation with the parents and teachers, the following were identified as explanations for episodes of behaviour:
- Being unable to label his emotions
- Being unable to cope with losing at games, particularly games based on luck due to a lack of control
- Being unaware of strategies to use when feeling anxious
- Receiving a build-up of sensory overload throughout the school day
- Being unaware of consequences of actions on self and others
- Being unaware of the impact of his diagnosis on own behaviours
The following strategies were used:
- Social Stories ™ to guide to the social context of certain situations, e.g. when playing a game based on luck
- Exploration of famous people who have made mistakes e.g. Thomas Edison and Einstein. This gave a motto to remind E. that it is normal to make mistakes
- Social behaviour map (see below) which indicated the consequences of certain actions
- Use of strategies to support E. with labelling his emotions e.g. The 5 Point Scale, Emotional Toolbox, Cue cards, using special interests to calm down, deep breathing exercises
- E. also uses his calm plan to identify which strategy he would like to use in certain situations to regulate himself
- E. was taught (in consultation with his parents) a lot about his diagnosis and subsequent strategies to use to cope with difficulties he faces as a result of having Asperger’s syndrome (not every child is ready to be informed about his/her diagnosis)