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Anger Management Activities for Students with Autism

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

For your students with autism, managing their anger can be a challenge. Use these activities to help your students learn more about ways to manage their anger.

Your Students with Autism

Learning to manage anger can be important for all your students, but it will be especially important for those on the autism spectrum. As you teach anger management skills, it will be important for your students to learn skills that manage anger in the moment, as well as finding ways to prevent their anger from building up in the first place.

Use the following activities to help your students learn coping skills to manage their anger.

Identifying Triggers

Ask your students how they know if they're getting angry. They might struggle to name their warning signs, but you should suggest the following:

  • Face getting warm or hot
  • Hands clenched into fists
  • Heart beating faster and faster, while breath gets shallow

After your students have discussed the physical signs of anger, ask your students to draw a picture of what sort of things make them angry. If your students struggle identifying these, gently prompt them based on information you know about your students.

After discussing and drawing their triggers, help your students complete the following sentence starters: ''I feel angry when _____. I can tell I am angry because _____.'' Your students should illustrate their sentences with pictures of their physical responses and triggers.

Anger Color-Coding

Explain to your students that sometimes it can be difficult for other people to realize that you're getting angry before it's too late and it becomes a problem. Give your students three differently colored plastic cups: red, yellow, and green. Based on what your students know about physical signs of anger, discuss how your students might know that they're in the red, yellow, or green zone.

Ask your students to place a cup on their desk that can help other people know their current emotional state.

  • If they're feeling relaxed and calm, they can place the green cup on their desk.
  • If they're feeling agitated, they should place the yellow cup on their desk.
  • If they're feeling really angry, they should place the red cup on their desk.

Explain to your students that teachers and other classmates can be more respectful of their emotional state if they're more aware.

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