“Mommy I feel scared. I am in my yellow zone.”
“Mommy is in her red zone. I shouldn’t have done that because now Mommy is upset.”
“Princess is in her blue zone. She is sad. I don’t want her to be sad.”
What does this mean? It is a means of helping a child identify how he or she is feeling and give them a visual to relate to by using a cognitive behaviour methodology. Some methods involved relating a child to a train engine if they are really keen on trains. Johnny really likes the idea of colours and learning to match the moods and feelings to a face and interpreting. Then he has been learning how to move himself out of a “red zone” or a “blue zone” so that he can be in this “green zone.”
Green zone is his happy “I’m okay Mommy.”
Sensory Regulation or Emotional Regulation is very important for all children to learn so that they can handle all the big feelings that they have to deal with that are only going to get more intense once academic stakes are raised and hormones are added to the mix. We were introduced to this concept by Johnny’s private OT last Spring and I immediately thought this would be a huge thing to teach him. Especially since the maxium effectectiveness of a sensory diet is when the child is in charge of their own sensory regulatory needs and not the teacher or the professional. I still can’t believe I have had to sit in a meeting and hear a special education teacher tell everyone at the table that all children are too immature at 5 years old to identify these feelings. I grew up watching Sesame Street and watching the Cookie Monster cry over eating the last cookie so I beg to differ. Especially when my daughter was 2 and would get upset and get up, walk way across the room and sit down on a little chair and say “I’m mad” very loudly and turn her back to us. Then after a few minutes she would suddenly say I’m better now. She was clearly paying attention while she was doing her sticker book during Johnny’s OT therapy sessions.
So now Johnny is easily able to tell us how he is feeling and then tell us or show us what he needs to do to feel better.
Here is a link to where you can learn more http://www.socialthinking.com/books-products/products-by-age-range/k-2nd-grade/zones-of-regulation-the-detail by Leah Kuypers, MA, OT Autism Specialist
*credit http://www.zonesofregulation.com ~Think Social Publishing