Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

PSYCHOTHERAPY BEYOND THE FRINGE, continued
To find out how she was feeling inside, Felicity asked her to think of the situation in her life where she felt the most upset, scared and anxious she had ever felt, and to assign the value or number 100 to that degree of feeling anxious. Then he asked her to think about that situation in her life where she felt the most comfortable, calm and at ease she had ever felt, and to assign the value or number of 0 to the good feeling she had then. On that scale of 100 Subjective Units of Discomfort, or SUDs, he asked her to say how she felt right now. Her answer, 90, sounded about right to him since he had instructed her about SUDs when she had just arrived from the Unit for a session.
He then wanted to use the SUDs scale to help him monitor how she was feeling while she was looking at the slides and sitting still. The first time he asked her to say what her SUDs level was while she was looking at a slide, he was reassured when she said she was at 20. About thirty seconds later he asked her again. She now said she was at 140. There was no apparent difference in the outward signs of distress so he thought he must have heard her incorrectly. He asked her again about a minute later, and she said she was at 0. A minute later, when asked again, she reported being at 520. This time Felicity had heard her correctly. He tried for several sessions to explain the SUDs scale and to get Sally to estimate her distress on it more accurately. He was unable to get any more reliable or meaningful estimates. Perhaps this was just another illustration that they were not talking the same language.

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