Developing emotional skills with the Westmead Feelings Program

A 15-month intervention program teaching children with autism spectrum disorder and mild intellectual disability about emotional understanding and social awareness, in close collaboration with parents, teachers and facilitators.

Not just clinic-based, the Westmead Feelings Program helps parents and teachers become emotion coaches, supporting children to manage their feelings in everyday settings.

Understanding and recognising emotions

Understanding and recognising emotions
through a wide range of activities and videos

Expressing intensities of emotions

Expressing intensities of emotions
with the Feelings Strength Bar

Promoting emotional skills

Promoting emotional skills at home and school
by upskilling parents and teachers to emotion coaches

Westmead Feelings Program 1 Room Tour

Find out more about the program activities and materials

Watch video

Program structure

Understanding emotions

Module 1 for children

Facilitator introduces children to four primary emotions – happy, sad, worried and angry – and explains that there are different intensities of feelings. Children learn this concept with help of the Feelings Strength Bar.

  • How to use the Feelings Strength Bar to rate intensities of their feelings
  • How to recognise happy, sad, worried and angry facial features
  • How different people can have different feelings in the same situation

Module 1 for parents and teachers

Facilitator works closely with parents and teachers to ensure the best possible outcome for each child. Parents and teachers are introduced to their role as ‘emotion coaches’, and learn about how to support children to talk about their emotions.

  • What is the Westmead Feelings Program?
  • The emotional and social challenges of children with ASD
  • How children with ASD communicate
  • How to be an emotion coach
  • How to use the Feelings Strength Bar
  • How to use visual cueing
  • How to use the communications book

Problem solving and perspective taking

Module 2 for children

Children learn about feelings in themselves and in others, to foster a greater understanding of the causes of and influences on people’s emotional experiences and behaviour. They also learn specifically tailored cognitive-behavioural therapy strategies.

  • How to solve problems, using structured visual tools
  • Reading emotional body signs in faces, bodies and voices
  • Perspective taking, or how different people can have different feelings in the same situation

Module 2 for parents and teachers

Parents and teachers continue to fine-tune their emotion-coaching skills, and learn about problem solving and perspective taking.

  • How to solve problems, using structured visual tools
  • Reading emotional body signs in faces, bodies and voices
  • Perspective taking, or how different people can have different feelings in the same situation
  • Putting problem solving and perspective taking together

Managing emotions

Module 3 for children

Children learn a range of strategies for dealing with difficult or unpleasant emotions to feel more in control and accepting of their emotions, enabling them to react more appropriately and in more socially positive ways.

  • Management of not-so-good feelings
  • How to use the Feelings Control Kit strategies
  • Recap of previously learned skills and strategies

Module 3 for parents and teachers

Parents and teachers learn ways by which they can support children's emotions management skills.

  • Troubleshooting skills from Modules 1 and 2
  • How to use the Feelings Control Kit strategies
  • Effective use and promotion of emotion regulation skills

Booster Session

The Boosters comprise one session each for children, teachers and parents approximately six months after completion of Module 3.

  • Revision of all WFP skills
  • Troubleshooting and skill refinement based on parent and teacher feedback

10 years of research and clinical trials

The Westmead Feelings Program has been proven to significantly improve emotional competence in children with both ASD and mild intellectual disability

Read the research 

Westmead Feelings Program 1
(Professional learning + resources)

$1500

Emotion-based learning for children with autism spectrum disorder and mild intellectual disability.

Westmead Feelings Program 1 is aimed at verbal children, who may or may not read, can draw simple pictures or write a few keys words and can pay attention for at least a few minutes at a time.


Facilitator Certification Course
  •  Facilitated online training
  •  Login details to secure online platform
  •  Access to online facilitator
  •  ACER Certificate
  •  ACER Facilitator Certification badge
  •  Accreditation of 20 hours of professional development for registered psychologists and educational professionals
Resources
  •  All Westmead Feelings Program 1 resources

Westmead Feelings Program 1
(Resources only)

$600

Emotion-based learning for children with autism spectrum disorder and mild intellectual disability.

Westmead Feelings Program 1 is aimed at verbal children, who may or may not read, can draw simple pictures or write a few keys words and can pay attention for at least a few minutes at a time.


Includes

Westmead Feelings Program 2

Coming 2018

Emotion-based learning for children with autism spectrum disorder and no accompanying intellectual impairment.

Westmead Feelings Program 2 is aimed at children who have fluent speech, and who are able to read and write.


Purchase of the WFP specimen set is restricted to psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, special educators, school counsellors and allied health professionals. It is recommended that practitioners complete WFP training to become accredited facilitators before running the program.

The program works