Emotional Regulation for Higher Functioning Individuals on the Autism Spectrum – Part 3

In part one of this series, we discussed the challenges for teaching emotional regulation strategies for higher functioning individuals on the autism spectrum.  In part two, we looked at research and learned thinking patterns defined by Temple Grandin. Below, we’ll discuss resources and strategies for emotional regulation based on those thinking patterns.

Research has found that simply being aware of body sensations, such as heart rate, tiredness, muscle tension, etc., improves self-awareness, empathy, and calming emotions during a challenging situation.

When a child is emotionally regulated, they are more likely to be open to engaging with others and learning. Children are less likely during these times to become frustrated quickly. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy. It is important to find useful coping strategies that fit their thinking patterns and strengths.

These strategies do not replace the value of speech, OT, or behavior therapies commonly used with individuals on the spectrum, but are meant to address emotional needs. Find the links below to match the right strategies for your loved one on the spectrum:


  1. The Wheel Of Awareness + video
  2. Hand Brain Model
  3. Zones of Awareness + worksheet
  4. 5 senses relaxation
  5. Leaves on a stream for younger and older individuals


  1. Linking thoughts and emotions puzzle or pattern
  2. Emotion Calendar Log
  3. Behavior Chain Analysis Worksheet
  4. Box/ Tactical Breathing
  5. Listen to calming sounds or music


  1. Journaling about emotions
  2. Labeling emotions or Name It To Tame It
  3. Growth Mindset Printables
  4. List of Coping Thoughts
  5. Words of Affirmation

Written by: Dustin Ellis