Self Regulation

I’ve been thinking about self-regulation ever since I saw the Inside Out movie. I feel that in the last few years, this area has really taken off and as OT’s we have quickly embraced this area and made it our own. It’s great that it’s even starting to seep into the mainstream, like the movie Inside Out, and the Zones of Regulation being mentioned on The View. Or maybe it’s just my perception that it is new and taking off, since OT’s have been doing this since before the Alert Program was published in 1996.

Self-regulation is a natural area for us OT’s to address. It fits squarely into the occupation of social participation, and makes a great fit for us since we are using part of our (often neglected) mental health background.

The Alert Program was the pioneer program in this area, and we naturally gravitated towards it with the focus on using a cognitive approach to sensory modulation. I’ve always felt that there was a missing piece though. Although using the sensory strategies were often helpful, sometimes there was a need for something more. So when I first learned about the Zones of Regulation, I was excited about it. I was able to attend one of the workshops last schoolyear, and I loved it and thought it really filled a need to include emotional self-regulation into the equation.

Another OT resource that I thought was interesting was a book on Self-Regulation Interventions & Strategies. Has anyone read this book and can give us some feedback?

But are these approaches evidence-based?

Yes they are! The Alert Program already has quite a bit of research on it since it has been around much longer. It’s not a huge, double-blind RCT, but then again, that isn’t really realistic considering the program. The Zones of Regulation website doesn’t have many articles specifically on its effectiveness as an intervention, but it is “practice based on evidence” since it is based on research. (Sidenote: Is it nerdy of me to be excited that Leah Kuypers is sharing the lit review she did for the Zones on her website?) I’m sure the studies on the use of the Zones will be forthcoming in the years to come.

Next week, I’m going to be sharing a free printable for a Zones-friendly speedometer! (It’s the one you see in the photo on the top!)

Self Regulation and Occupational Therapy

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