If verbal expression is difficult, Gefühlsmonster® cards can help. It is advisable to be open to the fact that the meaning of a particular monster for the autistic person may be different from that of the person accompanying him/her. To find this meaning can greatly promote communication in the family, at school or at work. People with autism sometimes have strong colour preferences or aversions that can cause certain cards not to be selected. Then it is important to know which monster represents joy, fear, anger etc. for the individual, so that the person accompanying him/her or family members do not misattribute the meaning of a card.
With Gefühlsmonster® cards, children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder may:
- nonverbally show their feelings to their environment
- show their attitude towards certain events or places, for example by selecting a Gefühlsmonster for a photo of their school, their playground, the supermarket
- select a Gefühlsmonster for themselves and for the people with whom they have to do
- practice postures belonging to different feelings
- estimate the feelings of the person accompanying them
We developed a special “autism” set in cooperation with Inez Maus, a famous German author of autism books. It contains all the necessary information and materials to work with an autistic child, adolescent, or adult, and to find “signals” for difficult or enjoyable situations and make them visible for the family or caregivers. The signal monster cards are particularly useful to signal intolerable levels of stress and to communicate effectively and non-verbally in difficult situations. The individual choice of the signals results in a high acceptance by the autistic person.
How the Monsters are feeling …
“Dieter is 7 1/2-years-old, and naturally, he considers himself a “big boy” now. In 2012/13, after extensive examinations, he was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder with hyperactive tendencies and low-level Asperger’s. This condition can emerge and manifest itself in a number of ways, but my son often shows character traits that seem inappropriate or unfitting for the given situation or his age.”
For more user feedback on this particular area of application, try the tag cloud on the right.
If you would like to get acquainted with and try the Gefühlsmonster® cards for yourself before working with them, below you will find instructions (PDF) for you to download free of charge.
What is autism?
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder whose symptoms manifest in early childhood. Difficulties arise in the field of communication and social behaviour. Additionally, repetitive actions characterize appearance. According to the current state of scientific knowledge, autism is congenital and incurable. Autistic symptoms can be relieved to some extent with appropriate therapies.
The diagnosis of autism is a summation of diagnoses, that is, a certain number of anomalies from the symptom fields mentioned above must be observed to make the diagnosis. This results in a wide variation ranging from severe autistic symptoms (early childhood autism; also called Kanner syndrome) to mild autistic symptoms (Asperger syndrome). Many people with Asperger syndrome experience a high level of distress, they experience their form of autism not at all as “mild”. Autism is often accompanied by cognitive disorders that can affect all areas of perception. Since a clear separation of forms of autism is not possible, the term autism spectrum disorder has prevailed.
Difficulties in communication and social behaviour relate to, among other things, the perception, recognition and expression of feelings. Just as one’s own feelings, the feelings of others are often insufficiently recognized and interpreted, which can lead to inappropriate reactions.
(Summary by Inez Maus)
Here is an excerpt from a presentation given by Ms Inez Maus, author of “Mami, ich habe eine Anguckallergie” and “Anguckallergie and Assoziationsketterasseln”, which she kindly provided to us.