After hitting the ball out in 4-square, Joe completely lost his temper. He screamed, cried, yelled, and pushed one of his classmates. When the teacher asked why he reacted this way, Joe whined, “It’s not fair!” And when she asked how it made his classmates feel, he looked blankly at her. He had no idea.
Many individuals with social pragmatic disorders, such as autism, have difficulty with theory of mind or understanding the thoughts and feelings of others. Children who have a meltdown at school or on the playground, may not realize that both negative and positive actions have an effect on those around them.
In addition, many children with autism struggle with social problem-solving. They may know that they made a mistake, but don’t know what to do. They might feel frozen and unable to process what to do next.
I created a think sheet to help my students process their behaviors, especially those that are unexpected. This one page printable goes over:
- What happened?
- How was I feeling/how much energy did I have?
- What can I do now?
- How will people think about me when I make positive choices?
To make an unexpected action into a teaching moment, it can be very helpful to process through each step of what happened and come up with positive choices to make for next time. Visuals are especially helpful for those individuals with verbal language difficulties.
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