Program Contents: SEE BELOW
Copyright Date: 2008
The Cognitive Affective Training (CAT) kit is a program that consists of visual, interactive, and customizable communication elements for children and young adults. It is designed to help students become aware of how their thoughts, feelings and actions all interact and, in the process of using the various visual components, they share their insights with others. It is an easy and effective way to work with neurotypical children and young adults as well as with people with developmental disabilities.
Components of the CAT-kit includes:
(With the exception of the manual, all elements are laminated so they can be written on again and again with any dry-erase marker.) The Manual will walk you through the CAT-kit elements using easy-to-read, non technical language. The first part of the manual is a theoretical introduction to Cognitive Affective Training, while the second part is a practical introduction to each of the elements and how to effectively use them. The 50-page manual can be read in about 30 minutes, so you can begin using the kit immediately.
The CAT-organizer is a visual tool that helps to structure a meaningful conversation with a student about behavior. It breaks the conversation down into several parts in order to facilitate a high level of understanding for both student and adult. Conversations are usually prompted by an event that lends itself to a learning opportunity, where the student can describe their interpretation of what happened. The other elements in the CAT-kit are designed to support the different parts of the conversation.
Nine Basic Feelings are presented in the CAT-kit:
joy, sorrow, fear, love, anger, pride, shame, surprise, and safety. There are 10 more specific feelings under each basic feeling category, making 90 emotions available for students to choose from. There is a word piece and a face piece for each of the 90 emotions and they are all affixed with Velcro. They can be attached to The Measure tool to establish emotion intensity and The Day tool to establish time references. There are also blank pieces where students can write in other feelings or draw unique faces.
The Measure is similar to a thermometer and it is divided into intervals from 0 to 10. Circles of Velcro are affixed at each interval so that you can apply faces, feelings words and other visual symbols interactively. In this manner, the user can mark the intensity of feelings, thoughts, experiences and interests.
The Body is a simplified body figure used to facilitate conversations about the connections between thoughts/feelings and body/behavior. The student can identify where certain emotions affect them physically (e.g., perhaps a stomachache during anxiety, a headache during stress, etc.) and how they express those emotions with their body. This knowledge can then lead to better control and/or prevention of those reactions through self-awareness.
My Circles works as a visual model on which the student's relationships, friendships, and interests can be illustrated. The most elementary way of using My Circles is by writing the names of people who the student interacts with inside the five levels of centrality: Circle 1 – me; Circle 2 – family, Circle 3 – friends; Circle 4 – professionals; Circle 5 – Strangers. This is a great tool for teaching appropriate social skills! You can teach Theory of Mind skills by placing someone else in Circle 1 and defining what their social circles may be. It can also be used to rank interests, events, and other concepts in an infinite possibility of contexts.
Timetables help develop and support the concept of time. Using The Day, The Week and The Year tools, students can place events in order and associate different emotions to those events. This can help the child understand how a person can be very happy and feel comfortable in one situation and then a second later become angry or sad. As part of the child's description of what happened, the intensity of the feeling can be measured on the Measure and the duration of the feeling can be measured on the Day. These can also be used to present daily, weekly, or yearly schedules to students ahead of time in order to avoid stress in times of change.
Behavior Palettes are charts that contain written descriptions of different behaviors, starting with the thoughts and feelings behind behaviors, and working up to the effects the behaviors may have on other people. Four different types of behavior are presented within four colors: Red (outright aggressive), Yellow (passive aggressive), Grey (submissive) and Green (assertive). These tools promote understanding and help develop the student’s ability to self-regulate.
The Wheel is a visual personality organizer that promotes self-awareness. By using words, drawings, colors, or other symbols that work well for the student, you can help create a customized reflection of the student's personality. Using The Wheel as a sort of pie chart, each trait or characteristic is drawn in as a different “piece” and named according to the child's self-perception, externalizing internal traits. Different parts may have different sizes to symbolize that traits may be stronger or weaker according to how the student acts in different circumstances.
CAT-Book Labels are intended for the various do-it-yourself books that can be used in conjunction with the CAT-kit. A CAT-book may be a workbook, a notebook, a homemade book, or a binder with dividers and folders. There are two labelsfor each suggested book: a Feelings book, a Diary, a Success book and a book of Special Interests. These books are optional but are a great way to extend the effectiveness of the CAT-kit and allow the student to record ideas in unique ways.