Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Human Development & Family Science


The focal topic for this project is emotional learning in high school students in special education programs. Social emotional learning is focused on emotions, recognizing emotions, and expression of emotions in connection to interacting with others. This is important in any stage of development because it creates the foundation of children’s future social interactions and how they deal with emotions in adulthood. Students with special needs sometimes lack the ability to recognize their own intense emotions and enact appropriate ways to express them. For these students, it can be difficult to process and express emotions in a social setting, like school, with many other students who do not learn and think the same as they do. Children with special needs may have difficulty maintaining and creating relationships because of this lack of regulation. Given SPED students’ emotion skills challenges, it is important to incorporate social emotional skills into their regular academic curriculum. This project provided the students with opportunities to practice recognizing other people’s emotions, appropriately expressing their own emotions, and using coping strategies for dealing with difficult emotions. I provided three activities on three separate days that give students a fun way to learn emotion strategies and skills that can help them through adolescence and young adulthood. For my target group, I focused on high school students in the SPED program at Hollister High School. The students’ ages ranged from 14-18 years old, and the population in the school is majority Latinx.