Self regulation

So a whole bunch of stuff has been GOING ON. I’ve been attending Back to Front Maths PD with Tierney Kennedy, I’ve learned about assessment with Dr Michelle Cafini and the IB. Our class list has gone from 27 to 28 again. It’s report time. I’ve started bullet journalling. And today I learned about self regulation strategies. Cos I ain’t got enough going’ on, right? Did I mention reports are due? Today?

Why not write a blog post? That seems like appropriate use of my non-existent time. Sure.

In truth, I’m writing these blog posts non-stop in my head. I can’t help it, once a blogger, always a blogger. Somehow I’m just not getting fingers to the keys much these days. Huh.

I picked up a lot of strategies at this Learning 4 All conference today with Jo Buttfield. That lady sure does know some stuff! Jo is an OT with Kid Sense – a private provider of Occupational Therapy And Speech Pathology based in Adelaide, Australia.

I want to write a post about my learning today, just so I can get these ideas straight in my head. Here goes…

(for the record, I am NO expert on self regulation, I am simply sharing what I have learned on the subject after one day of PD!)

What is self regulation anyway?

little people big emotions

  • Self regulation is kind of like an air conditioner. It’s set to a certain temperature but that’s no easy task – it’s constantly working to make sure the room achieves and maintain that temperature.
  • Most of us have our own self regulation strategies for achieving the cognitive, sensory and emotional states we need to be functioning in the world.
  • Some people aren’t able to regulate themselves successfully and need support to do so.

Why do educators need to know about self regulation?

  • if a student is not able to self regulate then they are not ready to learn. They are too busy trying to manage their emotional, sensory, cognitive issues or physiological to tune into what you’re teaching them.
  • regulation impacts on student’s ability to make conscious choices. What may look like ‘naughty’ behaviour is a child fulfilling a self regulation NEED.
  • there’s no quick fix. Students need constant sensory input to maintain regulation. That looks different for each student.
  • while many students may have self regulation issues it is usually only a concern if it is impacting on their functional ability to learn and behave.
  • students who struggle to self regulate may be disengaged, angry, apathetic, have a poor self perception or in their own world.
  • they may also have poor memory, attention and concentration, difficulty with problem solving and sequencing, difficulty applying skills to others areas, have poor language skills and be unable to learn from mistakes.
  • before considering intervention for attention, behaviour or learning, we need make sure that children have self regulation strategies.

How do I know if  student in my class has self regulation issues?

  • Students with sensory self regulation issues may be:
    • fidgeting
    • mouthing
    • non-responsive
    • rocking
    • falling off their chair
    • spinning
    • humming
    • making sounds to drown out noise around them
  • Students with cognitive self regulation issues may be:
    • wanting to do things their way
    • using things in inappropriate ways
    • missing information
    • demonstrating poor impulse control
    • rigid/stubborn
    • inconsistent
  • Students with emotional self regulation issues may be:
    • use avoidance tactics
    • complaining
    • frustrated
    • showing separation anxiety
    • unable to listen to others perspectives or negotiate
    • saying ‘no’
    • throwing/hitting
    • aggressive
    • screaming
  • Students with physiological self regulation issues may be:
    • sick
    • tired
    • too hot or cold
    • needing to toilet
    • needing to eat
    • medically unstable
    • ADD/ADHD

And guess what? Students might have self regulation issues from one or more of the sensory, cognitive, emotional or physiological areas. Fun, huh?

Jo taught us a LOT about the ins and outs of the different self regulation areas and how they manifest for different children. I highly recommend attending her sessions via Learning 4 All or checking in with her at Kid Sense to learn more.

I already knew I have students in my class who NEEDED support with their self regulation. I was on message. So now what? Aha, that’s when we get to the good stuff…

… and that’s gonna have to wait until another blog post! Stay tuned.

How do YOU support student’s self regulation needs?

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