“My Energy” is the third support in the Autism Level UP! Regulation Suite of Tools. This support is designed to help autistic individuals, their families and/or their educational teams identify how an autistic individual experiences the continuum of energy (arousal) states. To do this, individuals and teams are encouraged to discuss and achieve consensus about what observable behaviors the individual engages in at each state/energy level, as well as what each state feels like to the individual. The accurate identification of the unique and specific ways a person experiences each Energy Level is critical to recognizing and supporting their regulatory needs and abilities (because sometimes things look different than you expect)! This support includes a second worksheet version as well as a “completed” (i.e., generic) version to assist teams in considering possibilities and working through the process.
For me, and for many autistic people, it isn’t only about not having the words to communicate a state or emotion. It is also our other forms of expression, which can look different and be misinterpreted by those around us, that can contribute to not being able to access support and help when needed. For example, whenever I experience a very intense emotion, no matter what it is, I tend to smile… unless I am deeply fascinated by or enjoying something…then I may look serious or even what some would describe as “angry.” In order for someone to support me, it is very important they know that, for me, a smile may not mean I am content and happy and that it may mean I am overwhelmed by the energy or emotion I am feeling at the time. It is so critical to identify these differences, and to acknowledge them as valid forms of communication and expression. Many strategies aim to teach autistic people how they should react or what they should call what they are feeling in order to access help. I love that this support is all about identifying and validating our different forms of expression and making it known that they are the norm for that individual for various emotional states and energy levels. This method goes much further in building understanding, respecting and validating the autistic experience and truly providing authentic support. ~J. Fede
SR 4.5 Identifies and reflects on strategies to support regulation
MR 4.5(d) Shares intentions for joint attention- expresses feelings and opinions
IS 1.6 Provides information or assistance to regulate state
IS 5.3 Provides guidance and and feedback as needed for success in activities
LS 2.4 Uses augmentative communication support to enhance child’s emotional regulation
Free Visual Support: My Energy (PDF)