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Researchers at the Children’s Hospital Westmead, Sydney have developed the Westmead Feelings Program (WFP) which aims to improve emotion-based social skills among children on the autism spectrum. Previous research has shown that when delivered by school counsellors, WFP has resulted in improved emotional competence, social skills and mental health for children with autism spectrum disorder and their families.

Will this program also work if it’s delivered by teachers in Aspect’s specialist autism schools?

The research

The study is investigating if WFP, when delivered by teachers in eight Aspect schools, is acceptable and feasible from the perspective of children, parents and teachers, and whether the program has resulted in improvements in child emotional competence, social skills, and mental health symptoms post-treatment and at three-month follow-up. The research study is also examining:

  • teacher confidence and competence in delivering an emotion skills curriculum
  • the impact of the program on the mental health of the parents of those children taking part in the program
  • any association between child mental health, social skills, emotion regulation, and parental mental health.

Making a difference

The findings of this study will indicate if WFP is an effective and feasible way to help children in specialist autism schools to improve their emotional competence, social skills, and mental health symptoms.

Research team

Vicki Gibbs, ARCAP

Westmead Feelings Program, Children’s Hospital Westmead






Westmead Feelings Program, Children’s Hospital Westmead and Aspect

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