This part of the SCERTS® Model is the ability for each child to maintain a well-regulated emotional state so they may learn and interact at their optimal level. Each of us has an optimal level for our Emotional State where we each learn and converse the best. This is the same for our children. The difference is, is that we as adults know how to control our emotional state without thinking. For example, when we are tired we may drink a cup of coffee or an energy drink; when we are overwhelmed we may watch our favorite television show or go to the gym for a quick work out; or when we are too excited we may tap our foot or pencil to help exert that extra energy. As adults we are each controlling our emotional state throughout the day mostly without thinking. Our children can’t do this so the SCERTS® Model helps our children learn how to recover from extreme dysregulation as well as move from mutual regulation (the adult and the child together) to self regulation (the child only). It is important to note that all these skills will be easiest for a child to master within the hierarchy of: a familiar adult, an unfamiliar adult, a familiar child and an unfamiliar child.
At KidSpeak, LLC our first goal is to determine the optimal level learning level of each child and where their arousal level is naturally (i.e.: high, low or just right). Next we focus on what are the child centered activities that increase or decrease their arousal level such as: playing with letters, art activities, playing with certain toys and more. Then we focus on what are the sensory related objects that help them reach an optimal level of arousal such as: sensory cushions, sensory boxes, weighted items, chewy tubes and more. Next we focus on how to place/use these items throughout their session and then their natural day to help keep them at their optimal arousal level. Keeping them at this level is important for TWO reasons. If they are not at this level 1) they are not able to take in what the teachers/therapists/parents are attempting to teach and 2) they are not able to show what they know.
The following is just a little glimpse of how the SCERTS® Model helps with Emotional Regulation:
1) Decreasing Time to Recover from Extreme Dysregulation: Within this goal the focus is to decrease your child’s time to recover from 10 minutes to 5 minutes. This is a goal that you may always work on because children constantly change. At the beginning you may use your words to help them recover and then later you may work on the same goal with your child using their words to recover.
2) Responding to Assistance Offered by Communication Partner: Here the goal is for your child to respond to words such as “waiting” in a variety of situations such as waiting in line at the movies, waiting his turn to play, waiting her turn to wash her hands, and more.
3) Responding to Regulatory Emotion Words: Within this goal we focus on mutual regulation where we want the child to respond to regulatory emotion words such as “mad”, “sad”, “happy” and more.
4) Using Regulatory Emotion Words: Within this goal we focus on self regulation where we want the child to use their specific regulatory emotion words
5) Responding to Specific Physical Aids to Facilitate Emotional Regulation: Here the goal is focused once again on mutual regulation where we work on the child responding to specific physical aids to facilitate their emotional state such as moving their chair away from the situation or stepping back from the situation.
6) Initiating Specific Physical Aids to Facilitate Emotional Regulation: Here the goal is focused once again on self regulation where we work on the child initiating specific physical aids to facilitate their emotional state.
7) Understanding Others Feelings: Mommy is happy
8) Understanding that others words/actions affect our feelings and that your words/actions affect others feelings
Within each of the above goals it is important to stay child centered: using the most appropriate social communication and transactional supports to help your child.
If you would like to discuss Emotional Regulation in more length, how it relates to your child and how we as a team can help your child with this process please feel free to contact your KidSpeak, LLC therapist to set up a time to discuss this at an additional charge.