The Zones of Regulation

I came across and have reviewed this new self-regulation curriculum recently and am quite excited about it.

Synopsis from Odin Books:

This curriculum has lessons and activities designed to help students gain skills in the area of self-regulation. Students can learn to recognize when they are in the different Zones (states of alertness/moods) as well as learn how to use strategies (including sensory supports, calming techniques, and thinking strategies) to regulate the Zone they are in. Students can also increase their vocabulary of emotional terms, skills in reading facial expressions, perspective on how others see and react to their behavior, insight on events that trigger their behavior, calming and alerting strategies, and problem solving skills.

Author Leah M. Kuypers, MA Ed. OTR/L draws from the knowledge of many familiar people and incorporates/adapts many well used programs in her curriculum too. These include: Kari Dunn Buron & Mitzi Curtis’ “The Incredible 5-point Scale“, Michelle Garcia Winner’s “Social Behavior Mapping” and “SuperFlex“, Ross Greene’s “Collaborative Problem Solving” and Mary Sue Williams & Sherry Shellenberger’s “Alert Program” aka “How Does You Engine Run?“.

Social Responsibility Traffic Lights:

If you are already currently using the social responsibility traffic light model in your classroom or school, Kuyper’s curriculum shares many attributes. There is a discrepancy when it comes to the Blue Zone. In social responsibility, this colour signifies excellence or Blue Ribbon behaviour, while in The Zones of Regulation the Blue Zone is used top describe low states of alertness.

The Zones of Regulation: (Kuypers, 2011, p. 9)

The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness, such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or board

The Green Zone is used to describe a regulated state of alertness. This includes calm, happy, focused, or content.

The Yellow Zone is used to describe a heightened state of alertness, although the person still maintains some control. This may look like stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, nervousness, confusion or sensory seeking.

The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness ore very intense feelings. This may be anger, rage, explosive behaviour, panic or terror. This can be explained by not being in control of one’s body.

Who Can Benefit from this Curriculum?

  • Students with neurological and mental health disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Selective Mutism
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Everyone can benefit from The Zones of Regulation! – Think Universal Design for Learning.

Although the Zones can be taught and practiced with your entire class, The Zones for Regulation curriculum is intended to be delivered in a small group setting (2-4 students) or a group a larger group (8-10 students) with two facilitators.

Kuypers’ incorporates various literature, such as Janan Cain’s “The Way I Feel“, and digital media, like “Finding Nemo“, within her curriculum. Odin also sells a poster of the Zones (see left). The book also comes with a CD-ROM which includes colour and black/white copies of the PDF’s included in the book, as well as examples.

We are considering the creation of Zone Tubs which would be available to sign out from the Henry Grube Library. These would include The Zones of Regulation book, The Zones of Regulation poster, and literature and digital media found within the lesson plans. We would appreciate any feedback on this including your desire to use this curriculum. Please leave your comments below!


Self Regulation Resources

We have received a huge order of self regulation resources recently. We have had them catalouged in the Henry Grube Library and they are now available to sign out! Search the library database or come over and see what we have on the shelves!

Some examples of what you will find…

  • Timers
  • Pea Pods
  • Body Socks
  • Disco-seats
  • Weighted dogs/turtles
  • Sensory balls
  • Cooperative game – Comfort Zoomer
  • Vibrating snake
  • Mr. Bee massager
  • Rocking Rody Rider
  • Flying discs
  • Core disc spinner
  • Weighted Super Hero cape
  • Earphones
  • Loop Scissors
  • Fidgets – Squash it-Whisperer, sensory balls
  • Image captor
  • Stretchy pets
  • Yacker Tracker

A big thank you to Andrea Wallin and the Henry Grube Library for their generous contribution towards the purchase of these resources!

Fidgets Can Be a Good Thing

Below is a great blog post which explains a child’s need to fidget, why this should not be discouraged and how to teach respectful fidgeting.

Please remember, that like with all new situations, the expected behaviour needs to be directly taught. Take time to establish guidelines and rules around the appropriate use of fidgets before introducing them to your students. You may consider modelling for them the expected and unexpected behaviours and have them practice the former.

Feel free to leave a comment with stories and/or suggestions for fidgets and strategies you have used in your own classroom. Also, check out our new page in the Classroom Management section: Fidgets.


Forever Fidgeting

Do you have fidgeters in your family? These are the children the grandmas like to refer to as having ants in their pants. A fidgeting child can give you the feeling you are sitting in a vibrating massage chair when they sit and wiggle next to you. They are busy, busy, busy, and often don’t even seem to be aware of their activity until it is pointed out to them. They are doing what comes naturally, and that’s fidgeting.

When my son Josh was younger I tried to get him to sit still and be quiet when I was teaching him. I had to clear the surrounding area near Josh, or he would find something to pick up and fidget with in his hands or on his lap. Even if I thought I had all potential items out of reach, Josh would somehow find a stray rubber band or paper clip and would bend and stretch away until I took those items away, too. Once all the objects Josh could possibly fidget with were removed, I was dismayed to discover that Josh was undeterred. He just started picking at his clothes – drawstrings on sweatpants, buttons, sleeves, and loose threads all became substitutes for the fidgeting items he preferred.

Josh always insisted he was listening, even while he was wiggling away on his chair or the floor. I had a hard time believing it, because Josh sure didn’t look like he was paying any attention to anything but his fidgeting. I was spending too much time trying to eliminate the fidgeting, and we were both frustrated.

I decided to check Josh’s comprehension throughout the teaching time, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that he was actually following the conversation and taking in the information with good understanding, despite his relentless squirming and wiggling around.

I have since worked with many other children who fidget a lot, and I’ve found that they actually appear calmer and better able to attend when they are allowed to have something in their hands. I also know adults who feel better able to concentrate when they finger the keys or coins in their pockets or use other fidget items to help sustain focus.

Continue reading

Kids Do Well If They Can – Ross Greene

“Kids with behvioural challenges are not attention-seeking, manipulative, limit-testing, coercive or unmotivated. But they do lack the skills to behave appropriately.  Adults can help by recognizing what causes their difficult behaviour and teaching kids the skills they need.”

Check out the new page, Kids Do Well If They Can,  for more information, including a video, article and book links.

Making Connections Conference

Naomi and I attended the 14th annual Making Connections Conference last week. We will be adding new information and resources to the blog soon, so check back often!

In the meantime, watch this great video on self-regulation entitled The Marshmellow Test.



Dawn Reithaug

Dawn Reithaug has a new PURPLE book – Three Teirs of Positive Support and Intervention for Behaviour.

  • A 3 tiered system of assessment, positive support, and intervention to support each student’s behavioural needs
  • Based on Response to Intervention 
  • Over 250 cue cards and reproducibles (charts, graphs, assessments)

If you would like to preview a copy contact any of us or your School and Family Consultant.

To order contact or click here for her latest order form.


Welcome to our new blog. We are just getting started, but take a look around and keep checking back for more information, strategies, resources and ideas.