The Zones of Regulation – A Practical Approach to Self Control

The Zones of Regulation – A Practical Approach to Self Control
8-week group at Pediatric Therapeutics begins February 17

Emotions affect what we do and how we do it. What we do affects our emotions. Emotionality is a dimension of self -regulation, as is arousal, activity level, attention and organization. The relationship between self-regulation, emotionality and behavior is very real for all of us and has the potential to make a tremendous difference in daily life when practically addressed.

Self-regulation, emotionality and behavior
When, in this past day did you notice yourself feeling happy? What were you doing at that time? Did you feel anxious at all yesterday? How did that feeling affect what you were doing? Any burst of anger? What was that all about? And what did you do to avoid a full-blown grown up tantrum? Or, perhaps you had that tantrum, and for a while there you were way off track…how’d you come back? And how long did it take? What about your kids? Did any body come home giving you some insight into why they thought they had a good afternoon, or did reporting the “good” afternoon suffice? Any of them “lose it” yesterday? Why? And then what happened?

As adults, we have learned and pass on a variety of lessons about controlling our emotions and ourselves. Suitable behavior is often taken for granted as something that comes naturally. Many of our self- control “lessons” were/are provided upon the actual occurrence of a less than desirable behavior. For some of us, the instruction was basically “control yourself”; and miraculously we did what we needed to do. Or maybe not. How/why did we change what we were doing? Or why not? What did we learn? And what about our feelings, after all?

We, as adults, can help our kids (and ourselves!) recognize and acknowledge physiologic and emotional states, understand the feelings and actions that come about when we’re “off”, and know what to do to feel better…good…our personal best. That’s where The Zones of Regulation comes in!

Emotional control begins with awareness and helps us remain at or move toward a place of feeling good (aka “the green zone”). For an individual with insufficient self- regulation, the inconsistent effects of sensory stimulation on the individual make self- awareness and appropriate responses to everyday situations and demands especially difficult. In these cases, developing awareness and providing strategies is especially worthwhile.

What is The Zones of Regulation?
Does your child
-have difficulty recognizing his emotional state?
-have controlling her emotions and impulses?
-experience challenges with regulating himself through the course of the day or in response to life’s daily events?

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The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum designed to foster self-regulation and emotional control. In a small group format, children become familiar with four different “zones” or states of self- regulation/emotionality. Participants learn to recognize when they are in each state. They acquire calming and cognitively-based strategies, and sensory supports for their own use in controlling their actions, increasing self-control, and skillfully solving problems. First published in 2011, The Zones of Regulation is successfully used in schools and clinics internationally. To find out more about the curriculum go to

Upcoming Zones of Regulation Group at Pediatric Therapeutics
Pediatric Therapeutics “Zones” groups began in 2013. Since then, groups have been run for children of various ages from kindergarten through early teens. Led by Liz Duffy, OTR and Missy Briody, MS, OTR, the upcoming session is being planned for 6-8 year olds. Beginning February 17, 2016, the group will run for eight consecutive weeks, 5:30-6:30pm, through April 6. Liz and Missy incorporate a variety of sensory-motor and relationship-based activities into the Zones curriculum, and include daily life experiences of the participants and their families in their child/family-centered approach. They recognize the value of learning about the Zones with others and within a comfortable, supportive context that best suits integration, followed up with application in daily life. Along with participants’ behavioral and social improvements over the course of the group, Missy and Liz observe the development of new friendships as the sessions progress. Regular weekly homework is provided to encourage children and their parents to carryover the group work when they are together at home and in the community.

Contact Liz ( or Missy (, 973-635-0202, for additional information or to sign up.

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