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Enhancing Emotional Intelligence in ASD Children: 7 Engaging Exercises

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in a child's overall development, fostering better communication, social skills, and self-awareness. For ASD children, who may face challenges in understanding and expressing emotions, cultivating emotional intelligence is particularly important. In this article, we will explore seven exercises designed to enhance emotional intelligence in ASD children, fostering a supportive environment for their emotional growth. Additionally, if you're searching for specialized assistance, consider looking for ABA therapy near you to provide tailored support for your child's emotional development.

Emotion Charades

Additionally, incorporating props or simple narratives can enhance the effectiveness of emotion charades for ASD children. Utilizing objects or short stories related to specific emotions can provide context and make the learning experience more immersive. For instance, you can introduce a stuffed animal to represent a character experiencing joy or a puzzle piece to symbolize solving a problem, linking tangible elements to emotional concepts.

Moreover, involving peers or family members in the game fosters social interaction and communication skills. Partnering with others encourages the children to not only express emotions but also understand them in different contexts. This collaborative aspect helps develop essential social skills, such as turn-taking, cooperation, and empathy.

Emotion Cards

Enhance emotional awareness and communication skills in ASD children with this set of emotion cards. Each card features a visually engaging image or drawing depicting a specific emotion, accompanied by a brief description to aid in comprehension. This resource empowers children to identify and communicate their feelings effectively, fostering emotional vocabulary development.


Description: The feeling of joy and contentment, often expressed with a smiling face and bright eyes.


Description: An emotion associated with unhappiness or disappointment, recognized by a downturned mouth and, possibly, teary eyes.


Description: The emotion of frustration, irritation, or displeasure, typically shown through a furrowed brow or clenched fists.


Description: A reaction to unexpected events, often displayed with widened eyes and an open mouth.


Description: The feeling of being scared or anxious, usually depicted with wide eyes, raised eyebrows, and a slightly open mouth.


Description: Expressing dislike or revulsion, commonly shown through a wrinkled nose or a turned-away face.


Description: A high-energy positive emotion, often accompanied by wide eyes, an open mouth, and animated gestures.


Description: A state of tranquility and relaxation, displayed with a neutral expression and relaxed posture.


Emotional Intelligence

Description: The feeling of being puzzled or uncertain, often shown through a tilted head or a furrowed brow.


Description: Deep affection and care for someone or something, demonstrated with a warm expression and possibly hugging oneself.

Feelings Journal

Introduce the empowering practice of a feelings journal to ASD children as a constructive and personalized activity. This journal serves as a daily or weekly outlet for them to articulate their emotions through drawings, writing, or a combination of both. By engaging in this reflective process, children can enhance self-awareness and develop valuable skills in emotional regulation.

Encourage children to express themselves freely within the pages of their feelings journal. They can use colors, words, or a combination of both to capture the nuances of their emotions. This creative approach allows them to communicate their feelings in a way that feels most comfortable and authentic to them.

The feelings journal becomes a private space for self-reflection, enabling children to explore and understand their emotional experiences. It provides an opportunity for them to identify patterns, triggers, and coping mechanisms, fostering a deeper connection with their emotional landscape.

Social Storytelling

Harness the power of social stories to facilitate the learning of ASD children about social situations and appropriate emotional responses. Craft simple narratives that spotlight different emotions and the corresponding behaviors in specific contexts. Reading and discussing these stories with the children can significantly enhance their understanding of social cues, promoting effective navigation of various social interactions.

Creating Engaging Narratives:

Develop short stories that focus on specific social scenarios, incorporating relatable characters and situations. Highlight emotions such as happiness, frustration, excitement, or confusion within the context of everyday experiences.

Illustrating Social Cues:

Use visuals or images to accompany the narratives, providing a visual representation of facial expressions, body language, and other social cues associated with different emotions. This visual support reinforces the understanding of emotional responses in various situations.

Mindfulness and Breathing Exercises

Integrate mindfulness and breathing exercises into the daily routine as powerful tools for promoting emotional self-regulation in ASD children. By teaching simple yet effective techniques, you empower them to stay calm, focused, and better equipped to handle various situations. Explore practices such as deep breathing, guided visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation to contribute to emotional well-being.

Deep Breathing:

Teach children the practice of deep breathing to instill a sense of calm. Instruct them to take slow, deep breaths, filling their lungs with air, and then exhaling slowly. This technique helps regulate the autonomic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress.

Guided Visualization:

Incorporate guided visualization exercises where children can create mental images that evoke positive emotions. Guide them through imagining peaceful scenes or engaging in activities they enjoy. Visualization encourages a shift in focus, providing a mental escape and promoting emotional balance.

Emotion Regulation Board

Develop an emotion regulation board with visual representations of various coping strategies. ASD children can use this board to identify and choose appropriate techniques when experiencing intense emotions. Include activities such as receptive breaks, deep pressure exercises, or taking a quiet space. The board serves as a tangible tool for children to actively participate in managing their emotions.

Role-Playing Social Scenarios

Involve ASD children in dynamic role-playing activities designed to simulate real-life social scenarios. Craft scenarios that focus on essential social skills such as sharing, taking turns, or expressing disagreement. These interactive exercises provide a controlled environment for children to practice appropriate emotional responses, fostering confidence and enhancing their social skills. Positive reinforcement and constructive feedback are crucial elements to reinforce desired behaviors.

Sharing Scenarios:

Role-play situations where sharing is necessary, such as playing with toys or participating in group activities. Guide the children through taking turns and sharing with peers, emphasizing positive communication and cooperation.

Taking Turns:

Create scenarios that require turn-taking, such as playing a game or engaging in a group activity. Encourage the children to practice waiting for their turn patiently and acknowledging others' contributions. Reinforce positive behavior with praise and acknowledgment.

Expressing Disagreement:

Develop scenarios that involve expressing disagreement in a respectful manner. Provide opportunities for children to practice using clear communication to convey their feelings or opinions while being considerate of others' perspectives. Reinforce the use of polite language and active listening.

Emotional Intelligence


Enhancing emotional intelligence in ASD children is a valuable investment in their overall well-being and development. The exercises outlined above provide interactive and supportive ways to cultivate emotional awareness, expression, and regulation. By incorporating these activities into daily routines, caregivers and educators can contribute to the emotional growth of ASD children, helping them build essential skills for successful social interactions and a fulfilling life.

Looking for more than just ABA therapy for your child on the Autism spectrum? Innovate ABA fosters a collaborative community. Here, therapists and parents work hand-in-hand to craft personalized treatment plans, prioritizing both effectiveness and compassion. Their mission? To empower parents and ensure every child receives the respect, patience, and understanding they deserve. Innovate ABA specializes in ABA therapy for children aged 1-6, with experienced therapists committed to exceeding expectations and delivering transformative care. Join them in building a brighter future for your child.


What is emotional intelligence, and why is it important for ASD children?

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand, manage, and express emotions effectively. For ASD children, developing emotional intelligence is crucial for improved communication, social skills, and self-awareness, fostering overall development.

How does Emotion Charades benefit ASD children in enhancing emotional intelligence?

Emotion Charades is an interactive game that helps ASD children express and understand emotions. By incorporating props or narratives, it provides context, making the learning experience more immersive. Involving peers or family members also promotes social interaction and communication skills.

What are Emotion Cards, and how do they enhance emotional awareness in ASD children?

Emotion Cards feature visually engaging images with descriptions of specific emotions. This resource empowers ASD children to identify and communicate their feelings effectively, fostering the development of emotional vocabulary.

How does a Feelings Journal contribute to enhancing emotional intelligence in ASD children?

A Feelings Journal is a constructive and personalized activity that serves as a daily or weekly outlet for ASD children to articulate their emotions through drawings or writing. It enhances self-awareness, helps identify patterns, triggers, and coping mechanisms, fostering a deeper connection with their emotional landscape.

What is the role of Social Storytelling in facilitating emotional understanding in ASD children?

Social Storytelling involves crafting simple narratives highlighting different emotions and corresponding behaviors in specific social contexts. Reading and discussing these stories significantly enhance ASD children's understanding of social cues, aiding effective navigation of various social interactions.

How can Mindfulness and Breathing Exercises benefit emotional self-regulation in ASD children?

Integrating mindfulness and breathing exercises into the daily routine empowers ASD children to stay calm and focused. Techniques such as deep breathing and guided visualization promote relaxation, reduce stress, and contribute to emotional well-being.

What is an Emotion Regulation Board, and how does it assist ASD children in managing emotions?

An Emotion Regulation Board includes visual representations of coping strategies. ASD children can use this board to identify and choose appropriate techniques when experiencing intense emotions, actively participating in managing their emotions.


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