Monday, January 16, 2012

Self-regulation and The Classroom

Self-regulation means to bring order to one's self or by one's self. Not an easy task for a child with special needs in a classroom of 8-28 other children. Not an easy task for that child in any situation due to the difficulties in communication, sensory problems, attention issues, etc. that accompany most developmental delays and special needs.  How do we know that a child with special needs is having an issue with self-regulation in a classroom? Typically we can see the above difficulties lead to behavior problems that disrupt the class.

Often these behaviors are misinterpreted as intentional. Let's take a look at some of the behaviors you might see from a child with special needs in the classroom and the possible strategies to try.  These strategies may be very helpful in ending/preventing behavior problems all together in some cases. 

Child can not sit still: self-regulation issue is the child is overstimulated and cannot calm themselves.
  • Provide frequent breaks
  • More ideas here.
  • Have student sit on a barrel seat so they can move with out disturbing others. See Example below.

Child shows aggressive behavior: self-regulation issue is the child may not be able to control actions and/or emotions.
  • Use social stories to help the child understand the cause and effect of their actions. See example below.

Child appears unmotivated: self-regulation issue is the child has problem sustaining consistent energy output.
  • Provide consistent feedback.
  • Use genuine praise.
  • More ideas here.

Child appears defiant: self-regulation issue is inefficient intake and sustaining attention causing poor understanding.
  • Maintain predictable work schedule. See example below.

Child is impulsive: self-regulation issue is the child can not inhibit responses and has in-the-moment thinking.
  • Teach student to count to 10 before making a response.
  • Use a schedule to maintain consistent daily routine to limit the impulsive actions. See example below.

Child appears uncaring: self-regulation issue is that the child lacks awareness of cause and effect reasoning.
  • Practice role playing games to teach appropriate social skills.
  • Try using the Feelings game to demonstrate facial expressions.
  • More ideas here.

Children with poor self-regulation can interrupt an entire classroom. They can be overly sensitive to change and transitions, inattentive or physically hyperactive. The good news is these children benefit from structure and predictability!  

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