Westmead Feelings Program

The Westmead Feelings Program is an emotion-based learning program for children with autism and mild intellectual disability.

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can develop skills to understand and manage emotions such as anxiety and anger.

The Westmead Feelings Program 1 is a 15-month intervention program that teaches children with ASD emotion recognition, perspective taking, problem solving and emotion regulation skills.

Two types of courses are currently on offer for professionals: an online course, developed with the Australian Council for Educational Research, or the face-to-face course offered by The Children's Hospital at Westmead.

In 2018 the Westmead Feeling Program 2 will be offered which provides emotion-based learning for children with autism spectrum disorder and no accompanying intellectual impairment. WFP2 is aimed at children who have fluent speech, and who are able to read and write.

Download the list of certified practitioners

Westmead Feelings Program 1

The face-to-face workshop is a 2-day session for professional certification in the Westmead Feelings Program 1.

Conducted by Westmead Feelings Program authors, the workshop is designed for professionals with existing professional knowledge in education and/or allied health, who have prior professional experience in working with children with autism.

Email us for details about upcoming workshops

Workshop program

The 2-day face-to-face training and certification workshop consists of:

  • interactive role-play demonstrations of the Westmead Feelings Program
  • small group discussions around Westmead Feelings Program strategies
  • active learning and participation by workshop attendees across child, parent and teacher sessions of the Westmead Feelings Program, and
  • expert feedback at a personalised level on core skills and competencies developed by participants on Westmead Feelings Program delivery.  

With a maximum of 16 participants per workshop, attendees have the opportunity for personalised learning and feedback directly from Westmead Feelings Program authors and the clinical research team.

On successful completion of the course, participants will receive:

  • certification from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, enabling participants to facilitate the Westmead Feelings Program at gold-standard research reliability, with children, parents, and teachers
  • a digital certification badge for use on online platforms such as websites and social media
  • opportunity for inclusion as a certified practitioner with ACER and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the two-day workshop, participants will be able to:

  • understand the emotional-social needs of children with autism and intellectual disability,
  • demonstrate the ability to use Westmead Feelings Program 1 to teach emotional competence skills to children with autism, and teach parents and teachers to become ‘emotion coaches’ for the children they support,
  • understand and apply strategies to suit the learning needs of children with autism,
  • deliver the Program to a research-reliable standard of fidelity which is required to conduct Westmead Feelings Program intervention research.

Additional reading

Teaching social-emotional skills to school-aged children with autism

Ratcliffe, B., Wong, M., Dossetor, D., & Hayes, S. (2014). Teaching social-emotional skills to school-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A treatment versus control trial in 41 mainstream schools. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8(12), 1722-1733

Association between social skills and mental health in school-aged children with autism, with and without intellectual disability. (The final publication is available at link.springer.com)

Ratcliffe, Belinda, Wong, Michelle, Dossetor, David, & Hayes, Susan. (2015). The Association Between Social Skills and Mental Health in School-Aged Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, With and Without Intellectual Disability. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1-10. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2411-z

Developing emotion based skills in children with autism and intellectual disability

Mental health of children and adolescents with intellectual disability: a framework for professional practice. Melbourne, Australia: IP Communications.