CAT-kit: The new Cognitive Affective Training program for improving communication!
Author(s): Tony Attwood, Kirsten Callesen, Annette Møller Nielsen
World-renowned expert on Asperger's Syndrome Dr. Tony Attwood has teamed up with Dr. Kirsten Callesen and Dr. Annette Moller Nielsen of Denmark to create a powerful yet user-friendly tool that gets straight to the core of the thoughts and emotions behind behavior. The CAT-kit offers an easy, hands-on way for young people to communicate with adults, and each other.
Years in the making, 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.
The CAT-kit has been proven valuable in a variety of environments:
- Parents report that the materials are excellent resources in conflict resolution among siblings, and for clarifying differing perspectives between age groups. The uncomplicated design and situation-specific uses of the kit will simplify day-to-day conversation and allow parents to deal with displays of emotion or misconceptions that ordinarily would be difficult to manage.
- Teachers and counselors appreciate the CAT-kit for its visual and concrete design. The kit attracts students’ attention and encourages them to talk about their thoughts and emotions in a non-defensive manner. Children are able to communicate their attitudes and emotions by means of the visual aids and are not inhibited by their lack of exact wordings.
- Therapists and other professionals consider the CAT-kit an easy, hands-on adaptation of the cognitive-behavioral strategies they are already familiar with. The kit allows professionals to obtain valuable information regarding the thoughts and feelings that exist behind students’ behaviors, while providing a non-stressful environment where professionals can work on students’ self-awareness and self-control. The CAT-kit elements can easily be integrated into comprehensive CBT programs.
Future Horizons (www.fhautism.com) contribution and history:
Future Horizons was founded in 1996 in the belief that dissemination of information about autism and Asperger’s Syndrome through books, conferences, and other media would beneficially impact those who live and work with the condition, personally and professionally. Devoted entirely to supporting and fostering such works and programs, Future Horizons has grown to be a world leader in publications and conferences on autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.
- The Manual. An easy-to-understand guidebook. Read it in about 30 minutes!
- The CAT-organizer. A visual tool to structure conversations about behavior.
- Feelings words and faces. 90 different faces expressing different emotions along with 90 words to associate with them, all with Velcro for use with The Measure.
- The Measure. Similar to a thermometer, divided into intervals. Teach and understand intensity of feelings, interests, emotions.
- The Body. Use it to show the connection between thoughts, feelings, and body behavior.
- My Circles. Explore different levels of relationships, and the who/what/when/where of words, behaviors, and social skills.
- Timetables. Useful not just for schedules, but understanding shifting emotions and evolving perspectives.
- Behavior Palettes. Explore the thoughts and feelings behind behaviors, and their resultant effect on others.
- The Wheel. A visual representation of a person’s multi-faceted personality. Promotes self-awareness and builds self-esteem.
CAT-Book Labels. Used to create customized books for each student.