YouCue Feelings: Oh the Places You Go!

I am very fortunate in my life - I love the work I do. After (so) many years of working, I realize that not everyone else does. Sure, there are days when I feel I can barely clean up another mess of toys, or plan out more visual supports, but the majority of my days are challenging and fulfilling. My work is exciting and fun. Lots of room to grow, lots of ideas to try, lots of conversations to have with social learners. 

When I work with groups of students, I never know quite what direction discussions might go. I have a plan and organized materials, but I'm ready to follow important impromptu discussions - and get them back on track before they go too far afield! This is the ad-lib part of what we do. A student may come wanting to talk about a problem on the blacktop, and other students may have some suggestions - great opportunity to work on empathic listening and sharing feelings. There may be a holiday coming up, and excitement levels may be a bit high - let's review regulating activities and what's expected in group. A board game activity turns unpleasant when allegations of cheating are voiced - okay, let's discuss.....  

At first, I was wary of using YouTube videos as part of therapy; it reminded me of how intimidated I first felt when the iPad and apps came into the therapy room! I wan't sure how watching videos would fit into my sessions. But now I appreciate YouTube for the great material it provides. YouTube videos bring social relationships into my office in a non-threatening way, providing a springboard for discussions and learning.  

In the box below, there's an excerpt of a YouCue Activity from my book. It's followed by a sequence of activities that resulted in the illustrations above. Interested in seeing more YouCue Activities and sample student illustrations so you can start using YouTube videos in your work? It's really no more difficult that using that iPad! If you are interested, here's a link to the book where you can "look inside":

A great YouTube video that works well with this Inner Voice Level 1 activity is: Pixar - Lifted. Check it out - it's great material for working on feelings, perseverance, the learning process, etc. Enjoy!Excerpt YouCue Activity from YouCue Feelings (p.36-37) Inner Voice Level 1

Introduce the idea that sometimes we talk to ourselves in our heads. Give some examples from your life. Include both supportive comments (e.g.,“I can do it!”) as well as somewhat critical ones (e.g., “I can’t believe I did that!”). Watch a YouTube video all the way through. Then re-watch, pausing at times when you think the character might be hearing his or her “inner voice.” Write down possible comments, supporting students in thinking about contextual information and feeling state. Discuss the tone of the inner voices. Were some positive or helpful? Were some critical and upsetting? What feeling state did they reflect? Use several different videos because this is an important concept.  (copyrighted material)

Here's the three session sequence that led to the student illustrations at the top of this newsletter. The students in this group tend to show extreme reactions (very upset, cry, claim it "wasn't fair", leave the game) when they aren't doing well in competitive board games, sports at school, etc.


1. After the introductory talk about inner voice, we watched a YouTube that demonstrated perseverance.    2.  As we watched a second time, I paused occasionally so students could come up with examples of what the character's inner voice may have been saying. We discussed how some were helpful, but others might have been overly critical, and less encouraging.   3. Students condensed the list to the three supportive thought bubbles and the single sign (that's the top row of illustrations). We talked about how those thoughts might be useful in many different situations.  SESSION TWO 1. We reviewed our previous work. We watched a second YouTube video and found that our list of thought bubbles applied to characters in that story also. 2. In preparation for playing a board game, students listed feelings they might experience. We modified our three talk bubbles just a tiny bit (bottom left illustration), and started playing. When a student got a bad roll, or had to go back to the beginning of the game, I cued them "Do you need to think a thought bubble?" Each student was observed to do so at least twice in a 15 minute game. There were no outbursts during the game as there often were.

SESSION THREE 1. We reviewed our previous work. Students were asked to sketch an example of when they could use one of the three thought bubbles at school. We added Kimochis feelings as another visual support (bottom right illustration). We discussed how effective a thought can be in helping us feel better. We also talked about (1) how it is hard to remember to think these thought bubbles when we are upset and (2) how such a thought bubble might help a little, and that we still might be feeling an uncomfortable feeling. It's important to be realistic!

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Thought bubbles with student ideas of helpful self-talk for a YouTube video character.

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