One of the big misconceptions about kids with autism (and many children with sensory issues) is that they lack the ability to feel and have difficulty expressing emotion. My seven-year old son, Norrin, has autism and he has a wide range of feelings and expresses emotion every single day. However, Norrin needs to be taught to read other people’s emotions. And he needs to understand why people feel what they feel. We discuss our feelings and emotions all the time with Norrin.
So when offered the opportunity to review the Fun Fridge Magnets for Kids Moods and Parents Moods, I jumped at the chance. Norrin has always loved magnets and I was really excited to introduce him to the Mood Magnets. I knew it would be a way for him to have fun while learning.
The first thing we did was put the magnets in Norrin’s room (he has his own magnetic board). I figured this would be the best place (aside from the kitchen fridge) since he spends a lot of time in his room – especially when working with therapists. Then we went through all of the feelings. What I like about the mood magnets is that they offer a wide range of emotion – not just the obvious like “happy” or “sad.” I also like that the feelings are specific for kids and parents. The Kids Moods have “grossed out” – Norrin gets a kick out of that one. While parents have “overwhelmed” and “exhausted” because well, aren’t we?
We use the magnets throughout the day. Since we keep the magnets in a central location we can refer to them immediately. I like teaching Norrin about emotions while we are in the moment. So if Norrin is being tickled and he’s laughing – I will ask him how he feels. But instead of him telling me, I ask him to show me. He knows to go over to the board and look for his emotion. If he points to “happy,” I ask him for something else like “silly” or “excited.” I want him to understand that there are several different ways a person can feel.
Norrin is always asking how I feel. Before the magnets, I would just tell him. Now, whenever he asks we walk over to the magnets. And I ask him, how he thinks I feel. He’ll choose one emotion – if he’s right, I tell him so. If he’s not, then I show him how I’m feeling.
We have been talking and teaching Norrin about feelings for the last few years – the magnets have really made a difference. I love that the mood magnets allow us to talk about our feelings and that the magnets create an additional visual for Norrin to understand.
Editor’s Note: Lisa Quinones-Fontanez writes about her son Norrin and their adventures together at AutismWonderland.com. She received a free set of magnets for the purposes of this review but was not compensated otherwise. The review reflects the writer’s own experience with the product and does not represent an endorsement of this product by the SPD Blogger Network.