Tonight MissG was having a really tough time coping with the noise in the house, and was barely "holding it together" when a ball accidentally bumped her on the head. It wasn't a big bump to cause physical pain, but she was very upset. A outburst followed, and MissG took herself off to her room to be alone for a while.
After a few minutes I went to her and asked if she would like a hug, as she often appreciates some deep pressure squeezes when she is stressed. She replied "leave me alone". So I quietly left.
When she came out she wanted to talk to me. She asked me to sit with her, and she told me that when she said "leave me alone" she had meant to say "I do want a hug".
I asked her if she often found herself saying things that weren't what she wanted to say. She said "no" and then she said "but when I yelled 'I hate you' to E when the ball bumped me I meant to say 'I am OK'."
We talked about this for a while, and I told her I knew of other Autistic people who who find it hard to get their mouths to say what they want to say when they are stressed. I told her about writing to communicate. She asked what to do if you can't write yet. I told her some people use pictures to communicate. She thought about that for a while, then said she wanted to tell E she didn't mean to say "I hate you".
After she went to explain to E and she felt things were restored between them, she asked to draw pictures of her feelings.
We got out some coloured paper and she drew some feelings. I asked her if she wanted to use her pictures to help let people know what she wants to say if she gets stressed.
She loved the idea, so we set about putting together a book of feelings for MissG to use when she has trouble making her mouth say the same thing her mind is thinking.
The images in this post are the pictures MissG drew of how she feels at different times. Each has a caption written by me so that the people MissG shows the picture to knows what she means by them. There is a "title page" that says "MY FEELINGS" and has a few different pictures of faces on it. There is a yellow page with a smiling face that says 'I am happy'. Then a green page that has a face with a small smile that says 'I am OK'. Next is a pink page that has a picture of a person with their mouth open and hands on their cheeks that says 'I'm so surprised'. Following that is a light brown page with a face with an open mouth and eyebrows raised that says 'I wasn't expecting that!'. Next is a purple page picturing a face with downturned mouth and two tears under each eye that says 'I am sad'. A grey page follows showing a face with a downturned mouth and eyebrows close to the eyes that says 'I'm feeling cross'. The next picture is on dark brown paper, there is a picture of two people and a cat standing next to a fish tank, one person looks happy and one looks sad, the caption says 'I'm feeling a little disappointed'. The last picture is on blue paper and is of a person with wide eyes and a flat line mouth, the person has big ears and is holding their hands over their ears, it says 'That was too LOUD'.
The pictures and information in this post are all shared with MissG's permission.