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Misinterpreting emotions on faces is not just something that kids and adults with ASD (autistic spectrum disorder,) have trouble with. Children and teenagers wrestle with it too. There are numerous emotion/nonverbal communication and social apps and computer programs designed to teach individuals with autism the facial expressions of emotions. Its not only facial expressions that they have trouble with, it is also judging whole social situations. Interpreting situations that they find troubling are challenging to individuals on the autistic spectrum. They may just ignore their feelings, rather than analyzing the situation to come up with a more plausible conclusion. This is the piece of social interaction that needs to be dealt with and taught instead of endlessly quizzing your child on other's expressions or to constantly remind them to make eye contact.
|The Four Forms of Reappraisal|
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"Notes on Your Brain at Work"
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Reappraisal is important because you work through the possibilities of the problem to get to an acceptably plausible answer. If your friend doesn't acknowledge you when you greet them, it can be perceived as a snub, and then you suppress your hurt feelings, or you can reappraise the situation as maybe they were distracted or busy or didn't notice you said something. More often the ASD individual will attribute it to the negative interpretation and stuff hurt feelings rather than working through the social possibilities and coming up with the more socially and emotionally comfortable answer that the friend may have been busy and not noticed the greeting.
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If the goal is to teach useful skills for life, putting the emphasis on reappraisal rather than recognizing facial expressions may be the most beneficial way to go. Teaching emotions is important, especially to help your child label their own emotions and have some idea of how others feel. Teaching possibilities, and flexible thinking is even more important.
interview with Deborah Yurgelun-Todd