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.
- The Blue Zone: A low state of alertness. For example, when one feels sick, tired, or bored.
- The Green Zone: A regulated state of alertness. Characterized when one is focused, calm and content.
- The Yellow Zone: A heightened state of alertness. For example, when one experiences feeling of frustration, silliness, or confusion.
- 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.