Top 5 autism tips for professionals: Improving emotional wellbeing in autistic young people

In this article Caroline Smith, Specialist Educational Psychologist and licensed FRIENDS trainer, provides her top 5 tips for developing emotional wellbeing and promoting mental health in young people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr Smith has also written an article for Network Autism, outlining some of the specialist approaches to improving emotional wellbeing.

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Top 5 tips

Improving emotional wellbeing and mental health

  1. Let the young person know every day, and throughout the day, that they are cared for, loved and valued.
  2. Directly teach about, model and normalise emotions.
  3. Teach a range of relaxation skills and support their routine practice.
  4. Develop friendship/contact groups both within the school and the wider community.
  5. Teach children to ‘look on the bright side of life’, encouraging helpful and optimistic thinking.

These top tips are meant only as a very general guide to what to think about. You can find further information on this subject below.

Further reading:

Emotional wellbeing and mental health in young people with ASD

Interactive Connections

Author: Dr Caroline Smith

Date added: 13 September 2015




Thu, 18/08/2016 - 13:28

When the focus is on wellbeing, it is often from a negative perspective, namely the lack of wellbeing and quality of life in autism. A lot of research has been done to explore mental health issues in autism and these studies have indeed shown that being autistic involves an increased risk for developing mental health issues, mainly stress, anxiety and depression.first and most important step in promoting happiness in autistic people, is to develop autism-friendly ways of assessing their positive feelings.

We should avoiding forcing autistic people into a neurotypical concept of happiness: happiness is a personal and subjective construct and the things that make an autistic person happy do not necessarily mirror those that make a neurotypical person happy.

Traditional questions about emotional wellbeing such as “do you usually wake up feeling fresh and rested”, can be quite confusing for a brain that is inclined towards literal understanding of words and sentences.