This is a brand new service — your feedback helps us improve it.

What is Tools for Schools? How can the Inclusion Framework and OAIP support my setting?

Find out more on our info page

Emotional Wellbeing

Emotional understanding

Monitoring, evaluating and modifying the intensity and rationalising of one’s emotional response is a life skill which develops through childhood for most individuals. This is often not the case for autistic individuals. The development involves both interpersonal and intrapersonal processes that are responsible for controlling one’s emotional reactions in order to meet one’s goals.

At the first stage autistic individuals may have difficulty recognising their emotions (through their interoceptive sense) which means they have difficulty identifying and describing their emotions (alexithymia) which may then impact on the way they behave or present.

Resources to support children and young people to learn to identify emotions:

ELSA Support – linking thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions:

Zones of Regulation Tools:

Wellbeing resources:

• Interoception, the Eighth Sensory System by Kelly Mahler.
• How Are You Feeling? by Molly Potter
• The Zones of Regulation by Leah Kuypers.
• Dealing with Feeling by Tina Rae.
• A Volcano in My Tummy by Elaine Whitehouse and Warwick Pudney.

Instinctive Behavioural Responses

If a person is unable to recognise their emotions, they may respond to situations in what others may see as a socially inappropriate or disproportionate way. They may respond with what we call a fight, flight, freeze or fawn response. To begin developing self-regulation skills they may benefit from explanations of this response to allow them to develop strategies to self-regulate.

Resources to Help Children and Young People to understand their instinctive responses:


  • Little Meerkat’s Big Panic: A Story About Learning New Ways to Feel Calm by Jane Evans
  • The Disappointment Dragon by K.I. Al-Ghani
  • The Green-Eyed Goblin by K.I. Al-Ghani
  • The Panicosaurus by K.I. Al-Ghani
  • Starving the Anxiety Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Anxiety Management for Young People (CBT Workbook) by Kate Collins-Donnelly
  • Starving the Anger Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Anger Management for Young People (CBT Workbook) by Kate Collins-Donnelly
  • Banish Your Self-Esteem Thief: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Building Positive Self-esteem for Young People (CBT Workbook) by Kate Collins-Donnelly
  • The Homunculi Approach to Social and Emotional Wellbeing: A Flexible CBT Programme for Young People on the Autism Spectrum or with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties by Anne Greig and Tommy MacKay