When young people don’t know how to control or release what they are feeling in a healthy way, it’s easier for them to make emotion-based decisions.
Social behaviour mapping is a thinking strategy explaining how we react to each other based on our actions that are expected or unexpected in that situation. According to Michelle Garcia Winner, author of The Zones of Regulation, define the unexpected behaviours first as they are easier to observe; the expected behaviours should be the opposite of the listed unexpected behaviours. Expected behaviors should always be in a positive voice. Avoid listing “what not to do” in the expected column.
Zones of Regulation teaches how to categorize all feelings and states of alertness we experience into 4 concrete (color-coded) zones. This helps students become aware of their emotions and impulses, manage their sensory needs, and improve their ability to problem solve.
Zones check-in (see sample images below) includes vocabulary of emotions and behaviours. Be careful not to label any zone as a BAD zone. Use “expected” and “unexpected.” For example, discuss expected behaviours and link it to the goal of “Staying in Green Zone”
Explore tools which include sensory supports, calming techniques, and thinking strategies to help the child get back or stay in the green zone.
Sensory support tools help develop self-regulation by providing the sensation the child naturally seeks to help organize different types of information in the brain detected by one’s senses (e.g. taste, sight, hearing, touch, smell, movement, gravity or position). Processing all these types of information forms the underlying foundation for academic learning and social behaviour. Some examples of sensory tools that can be introduced are below:
Calming techniques include the following:
Thinking strategies include the following:
Prepare the materials and combine the social behaviour map, the zones, and the tools:
Remember to get to know your child such as the triggers for meltdowns or outbursts, source of motivation, and sensorial behaviours and patterns.
Introduce the zones and the corresponding behaviours and emotions. Reorient “expected” and “unexpected” behaviours. Lastly, facilitate identification of zones expected in different settings and events.
Winner, Michelle Garcia. Thinking about You, Thinking about Me. San Jose, CA: Think Social 2007. Print.
Kuypers, Leah M., and Michelle Winner Garcia. The Zones of Regulation: A Curriculum Designed to Forster Self-regulation and Emotional Control, San Jose. CA: Think Social Pub.,2011. Print