Westmead Feelings Program

Westmead Feelings Program is a  15-month intervention program teaching children with autism spectrum disorder about emotional understanding and social awareness, in close collaboration with parents, teachers and facilitators. Available for two different ability levels, with the program for 6-8 year old children who have Autism to be run at the practice.

Not just clinic-based, the Westmead Feelings Program develops parents’ and teachers’ emotion coaching skills, supporting children to understand emotions, solve problems and ultimately manage their feelings in everyday settings.

Research and Evidence

The Westmead Feelings Program (WFP) has a strong research basis and has been studied in more than eight research studies evaluating teaching content, teaching materials and outcome measures in a range of settings (including hospital outpatient department and school settings) and by a range of WFP facilitators (including psychologists, school counsellors and special educators). WFP has consistently demonstrated clinically significant treatment benefits, resulting in improved emotional competence, social skills and mental health for children with autism spectrum disorder and their families.

Results of WFP research have been presented by the authors of the program at national and international conferences and studies of WFP (formerly known as Emotion-Based Social Skills Training, or EBSST) have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

  • WFP in schools significantly improves teacher-reported emotional competence in children with autism spectrum disorder and mild intellectual disability, comparing treatment to a control group.
  • There are clinically significant improvements in mental health for treatment compared to control groups in children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder.
  • Completing WFP results in positive trends for parent-reported emotional competence, parent- and teacher-reported social skills and parent mental health.
  • For facilitators who have completed WFP facilitator training and accreditation, there is a high level of skills and competence acquired relating to WFP delivery so that no further professional support is required for successful implementation. 

Module 2 Beginning Term 1 2021

MODULE 2-Problem Solving and Perspective Taking (with Modules 3 in Term 2 and the Booster session in later terms)

Fridays 8am-9am
February: Exact dates to be confirmed

Parents attend 2 parent sessions (potentially over ZOOM due to current COVID restrictions)
2 x 60-90 minute sessions
Time TBA
COST: $800

What Does Westmead Cover?

Understanding emotions

Module 1 for children

Facilitator introduces children to four primary emotions – happy, sad, worried and angry – and explains that there are different intensities of feelings. Children learn this concept with help of the Feelings Strength Bar.

  • How to use the Feelings Strength Bar to rate intensities of their feelings
  • How to recognise happy, sad, worried and angry facial features
  • How different people can have different feelings in the same situation

Module 1 for parents and teachers

Facilitator works closely with parents and teachers to ensure the best possible outcome for each child. Parents and teachers are introduced to their role as ‘emotion coaches’, and learn about how to support children to talk about their emotions.

  • What is the Westmead Feelings Program?
  • The emotional and social challenges of children with ASD
  • How children with ASD communicate
  • How to be an emotion coach
  • How to use the Feelings Strength Bar
  • How to use visual cueing
  • How to use the communications book

Problem solving and perspective taking

Module 2 for children

Children learn about feelings in themselves and in others, to foster a greater understanding of the causes of and influences on people’s emotional experiences and behaviour. They also learn specifically tailored cognitive-behavioural therapy strategies.

  • How to solve problems, using structured visual tools
  • Reading emotional body signs in faces, bodies and voices
  • Perspective taking, or how different people can have different feelings in the same situation

Module 2 for parents and teachers

Parents and teachers continue to fine-tune their emotion-coaching skills, and learn about problem solving and perspective taking.

  • How to solve problems, using structured visual tools
  • Reading emotional body signs in faces, bodies and voices
  • Perspective taking, or how different people can have different feelings in the same situation
  • Putting problem solving and perspective taking together

Managing emotions

Module 3 for children

Children learn a range of strategies for dealing with difficult or unpleasant emotions to feel more in control and accepting of their emotions, enabling them to react more appropriately and in more socially positive ways.

  • Management of not-so-good feelings
  • How to use the Feelings Control Kit strategies
  • Recap of previously learned skills and strategies

Module 3 for parents and teachers

Parents and teachers learn ways by which they can support children’s emotions management skills.

  • Troubleshooting skills from Modules 1 and 2
  • How to use the Feelings Control Kit strategies
  • Effective use and promotion of emotion regulation skills

Please contact us to express your interest in your child being a part of this group, as there will only be places for 10 children available.e