Emotional awareness is not just connected to naming the emotion – you have to be able to identify them i.e. it is difficult for some of our children to pinpoint this precisely – that is why the Zones are a fantastic resource. You can include symbols with the zones, and degrees of emotion ( also see RULER – Marc Bracket/ Yale’s Center for Emotional Intellgence) – and also the physical manifestations of these emotions and what reactions this creates – and impact on learning.
We use ZOR across the whole school – not just for children with those specific needs. We differentiate between emotions and feelings and the degree of both. We use them for all children, in all classrooms, as a vehicle for recognising emotions in themselves and others, and identifying strategies for regulating their responses. There are lots of resources on the Social ThInking Website but also look at the ZOR facebook page for ideas.
For children who need more support with emotional awareness, we use more explicit strategies – social skills groups, using games, stories and elements of the Social Thinking curriculum. Emoticons have their place but it is not always easy to relate these simplistic expressions to physical facial expression – it depends on age partly too, they are a good place to start. Using photographs ( situational ) are also a really good vehicle).
And of course with mask wearing possibly a feature of classroom life for a while, this also adds another dimension to non verbal communication.