You Will Not “Zone-out” With This Great Self Regulation Program

April 4, 2012

The Zones of Regulation Curriculum was designed to help children become more successful in school, at home, and in the community by independently controlling maladaptive behaviors through the process of self regulation and emotional control. Self regulation is the ability to be in the best state to successfully engage in a particular activity. When exposed to a frustrating activity, an individual with self regulation difficulties may find coping challenging and will likely demonstrate maladaptive behaviors such as physically escaping the situation or lashing out.

Through the Zones of Regulation program, students will learn how to categorize their emotions and states of alertness into four  color categorized zones.

  1. The Blue Zone: A low state of alertness. For example, when one feels sick, tired, or bored.
  2. The Green Zone: A regulated state of alertness. Characterized when one is focused, calm and content.
  3. The Yellow Zone: A heightened state of alertness. For example, when one experiences feeling of frustration, silliness, or confusion.
  4. The Red Zone: An extremely heightened state of alertness. When one feels intense emotions such as rage, panic, or terror.

The Zones of Regulation curriculum teaches children which zones are expected for given circumstances. For example, right before a championship sports event, it is okay for one’s body to be in the Yellow Zone as a heightened state of alertness may boost athletic performance. In contrast, a heightened state of alertness is not appropriate when one is sitting in math class. If a child is in a zone that does not match the demands of the environment, the Zones curriculum teaches children tools that help them move between zones; this helps a child get their body in a “just right” place to do what is expected of them. A child’s toolbox of self regulation strategies consists of a variety of calming techniques, cognitive strategies, and sensory supports.

The Zones of Regulation curriculum is appropriate for any child, even as young as preschool years, that struggles with self regulation. However, some children with the following conditions frequently have difficulty self regulating: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or Anxiety Disorders.

For more information about the Zones of Regulation program, please ask your CSLOT occupational therapist.

-Rosie Commons M.S. OTR/L


Kuypers, L.M. (2011). The Zones of Regulation: A Curriculum Deisgned to Foster Self-Regulation and Emotional Control. San Jose, CA: Think Social Publishing, Inc.


SCERTS. It makes for a catchy acronym, and rolls of the tongue easily, but what does it stand for?

January 9, 2012

Speech and occupational therapists from all three CSLOT offices, along with over 100 fellow therapists, administrators, parents, and educators, spent October 25th and 26th in South San Francisco, discovering what SCERTS was all about and how to implement this model—a model developed for individuals who have autism spectrum or related disorders—into their practice.

We began by briefly reviewing that SCERTS refers to social communication (SC), emotional regulation (ER), and transactional support (TS), after which we jumped right into the main attraction—learning how to put SCERTS into action!

We all had our handouts and pens ready, and our eye and minds wide open as we listened to and learned from our wonderfully enlightened presenters, Emily Rubin and Barry Prizant. If you’ve never heard this duo speak, you must sign up for their next speaking engagement right now! I must say that they are certainly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to public speaking. No question about that!

Emily and Barry presented videos and shared detailed power-point notes, worksheets, and case-studies, while answering questions, and supplying us with useful tools like lists of “frequently used objectives and supports” to help all of us better understand how we can take this knowledge and these tools and implement them into our practice.

Our presenters repeatedly told us that they would change our way of thinking from “sure, I think I can do this” to “yes! I know I can do this,” and I believe most of us left this 2-day institute feeling empowered with new knowledge and new skills to work with individuals who have ASD and their families; we left feeling like we’ve been challenged; we left feeling like we know we can!

So, I’ll finish with another acronym. FYI: I felt incredibly lucky to get the chance to learn about the implementation of this comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach, and be in the presence of two incredible collaborators who were able to teach me so much in just a short time.

-Diana Pritsker, M.S., CF-SLP