For many of us, controlling our emotions and body comes fairly naturally. For others, this is not the case. Those with regulation difficulties lack this innate ability to think through and succeed in everyday situations. For them, emotional control and self-regulation must be learned and practiced.
Communication Works’ cutting-edge Zones of Regulation (Zones) therapy supports students with social and self-regulation challenges.
Based on the work of Leah Kuypers, M.A.Ed., OTR/L, The Zones of Regulation (2011) curriculum is a cognitive behavior management approach that emphasizes each client’s ability to self-regulate, given the appropriate tools and strategies.
The Zones curriculum includes learning activities to help clients recognize when they are in the different zones (moods and states of alertness) as well as lessons on how to use strategies or tools to regulate the zone they are in. Calming techniques and thinking strategies are explored along with sensory supports so students have a toolbox of strategies from which they can choose to help self-regulate.
To further explore the concept of self-regulation, clients gain an increased vocabulary of emotional terms, skills in reading facial expressions, perspective on how others see and react to their behavior, insight about events that trigger their behavior, and problem-solving skills. Executive functioning skills are addressed in order to increase flexible thinking, awareness of impulse control, and understanding the big picture.
The Zones of Regulation strategies are applicable to preschool students through adults in regular education and to all levels of special education students. The Zones program is geared toward clients who struggle with self-regulation, including anger management, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, flexibility, or self-control.
Zones groups and individual therapy are ongoing throughout the school year. Summer therapy is also available. Small groups with 2–4 students meet for 1 hour, 1–2 times a week. Weekly parent/caregiver training is provided.
The Zones Teaches Clients
- How to identify various levels of alertness, moods, and sensory needs
- Effective regulation strategies
- The impact of regulating strategies and how to use them independently
- Strategies for problem solving
- Perspective taking and understanding how one’s behavior impacts others
- Increased awareness of emotions and facial expressions
“Anyone can become angry, that is easy…but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way…this is not easy.”
“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” -Charles R. Swindoll
The Zones of Regulation (2011) by Leah M. Kuypers, Think Social Publishing