Part of our new routine is trying to teach Nathan how to understand emotions. He has very little understanding of his own or others' emotions. His awareness of the feelings of others is not accurate and other than very basic emotions, such as happy and sad and scared, he doesn't have an awareness of feeling.
One of the things we've been doing to help him, based on advice from a psychologist, is to use a chart like this one to help him identify facial expressions and the corresponding emotion. We have to do a lot of role playing to help him.
For example, if he does something that frustrates Stephen, Stephen needs to tell him, "Nathan, look at my face." "That makes me feel angry."
We also need to practice asking Nathan to identify how he is feeling. For example, "Nathan, you seem upset." "What are you feeling?"
This is going to take a lot of work! It's just something we have to incorporate into our daily responses with him. Most people develop an awareness of emotion and how to read others emotions fairly naturally. This is not something that has developed normally with Nathan and we definitely have our work cut out for us and it's something that affects us as a family.
So, now that we are coming to grips with Nathan's diagnosis and our new reality, we are rolling up our sleeves and getting to work!