What is Self-Regulation?
Self-regulation is the ability to monitor and adjust one’s emotions and behaviours in response to a situation. In order to do this, an individual must be able to regulate their sensory needs, emotions, thoughts and impulses. For some individuals, the ability to self-regulate, especially in particularly difficult situations, is a skill that needs to be broken down and taught as well as practiced.
Why is Self-Regulation Important?
Learning how to manage our emotions, thoughts, and needs are essential skills for any individual to master however self-regulation has been associated with academic success, communication, focus, peer relationships and self-esteem.
How does the Zones of Regulation Program Help Teach Self-Regulation?
The Zones of Regulation is a framework that uses a systematic, cognitive behavioural approach to teach self-regulation in three main stages:
Stage One – Recognize and Label Feelings
A large part of the curriculum focuses on identifying and describing feelings such as happy, relaxed, frustrated, silly, bored, etc.
Stage Two – Identifying how you feel using Four Zones
The Zones are broken down into blue, green, yellow, and red with each colour corresponding to a sense of alertness and state of being. There are no “good” or “bad” zones and all zones are important – it is never about preventing feelings but how to manage them!
Stage Three – Building our Tools
Identifying or creating a set of adaptive strategies to help move through the various zones when presented with different demands of situations are essential to self-regulation. These “tools” are taught and practiced throughout the program.
The Zones Program at ABA Connections
At ABA Connections we have developed a program that utilizes the Zones of Regulation Curriculum while also incorporating the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Our programming emphasizes individual needs, interests, and motivation while creating a strong therapeutic rapport and safe environment. All clients in our Zones Program work 1:1 with a trained therapist at a pace that best meets their needs and together work to identify and define what their emotions, zones, and strategic tools are.
Our Zones Program doesn’t end once the session is over!
Parents, teachers, and other individuals in a clients life are encouraged to participate alongside the program. Handouts, lesson summaries, visuals, and other resources are available throughout the program as well as training on the Zones Programming and individual consultations to help incorporate the curriculum into everyday life.