Sarah Allen

Emotional Development Resources

Hi, I’m Sarah Allen

I am a 36 year old Occupational Therapist (OT), Play Therapist and Community Art Counsellor, and I work mainly with pre-primary and primary school aged children.

Responding to Trauma

I’m originally from Liverpool, England, UK but I’ve been volunteering in Gauteng, South Africa for several years now mainly working with children who have experienced trauma (sexual, psychological, physical abuse, loss, bereavement etc) in underprivileged communities and child care centres.

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Helping Children

It’s hard, but I love to see the light come back in a child’s eyes or to have a breakthrough developmentally. 

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Equipping Parents and Carers

I’m passionate about emotional development and I love to share what I have learnt and continue to learn.

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Creating Resources

I wrote and illustrated ‘Sometimes I feel…’ initially for my own practise but I’ve been amazed at how other people wanted it and how it’s begun to take off.

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The story behind Sometimes I Feel …

I have to be honest, Sometimes I Feel happened almost by accident. I was working with children in South Africa and I wanted to explore feelings and emotions with them. However, I couldn’t find a book that helped children learn about different kinds of emotions and how to express them, that was also multi ethnic and culturally appropriate to Africa. So I created my own.

I took feedback from the children I was working with and used how they described different feelings, I then drew pictures that I felt fitted in with what was being said and the book was born, initially for use in my own practise but then people started asking me where I got it from and how they could get a copy. I realised that it wasn’t just me having this difficulty but other people were too, so I turned my book into a resource for educators, counsellors and parents to use with their children.

I started with the book to use for discussion and exploration. I then felt that the flash cards would really assist in having a display on the wall, to use as a tool for checking in and being a tangible object for children to take to their adult to express how they are feeling.

After such positive feedback and how much I enjoyed creating it, I am starting to produce other products that I could use in my work, that would assist children to learn about and express their feeling and that would be beneficial to other therapists, parents, educators as well…and that is how Sometimes I Feel started and is still my main objective going forward.

Clearly there is a need to a resource like this to help adults discuss emotions with children and for children to be able to express how they are feeling at any given point.
I can’t change the world but I can change the world for that one child…and I believe you can too!
I’d also love to hear your experiences, things that have worked for you or things that you are struggling with and I will help where I can. 

What People Say

Sarie Nel, social worker
‘I have used mine already in helping a child deal with a sexual abuse matter and it was so amazing using the book during the exploration of the feelings.’

‘Many times we have needs that we are not aware of, and we only realise it when the sales person approaches us. The first time we were shown this book I was felt the need for it, it expresses emotions we never think of, and because of it I did introspection and realised I only expose children to four emotions when there is so much. It helped my children with vocabulary improvement and understanding and expressing their emotions. Sometimes  feel is a must have also for adults to pause and identify how they feel.’

Maiski Seatekamotlhokathari, principal and preschool teacher.

” I’ve been reading Sarah’s book to my kids for the past few weeks, especially on days when I think something is bothering them and ultimately they start talking about it.
The book allows me to engage with my 3 children in different ways according to their age.
It enables me to find out what makes them happy, sad or any other emotion in a non intrusive environment and opens the lines of communication so they are free to reveal more.”

Dani Shekel, parent

‘I love the Sometimes I feel… book and the cards. I’ve used them a lot in my play therapy with kids. I think they are beautifully illustrated and the kids relate to them. They are colourful and relevant to all South Africans which makes this book special.
It helps the children with their language and vocabulary.
I love the fact that the pages are thick and can’t be torn.
Everyone I’ve shown them too loves them and they are a very good tool to help children express those emotions.
I highly recommend them.’

Esther Rubin, play therapist and speech and language therapist

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    Sometimes I Feel ...