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Zones of Regulation™

Zones of Regulation™

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The Zones of Regulation™ is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem solving skills for kids with difficulty controlling impulsive behaviors.

The curriculum includes learning activities to help clients recognize when they are in the different zones (states of arousal) as well as lessons on how to use self-regulation strategies or tools to regulate the zone they are in.

Calming techniques and thinking strategies are explored along with sensory diet supports so students have a toolbox of strategies from which they can choose to help self-regulate.

To further explore the concept of self-regulation, clients gain an increased vocabulary of emotional terms, skills in reading facial expressions, perspective on how others see and react to their behavior, insight about events that trigger their behavior, and problem-solving skills. Executive functioning skills are addressed in order to increase flexible thinking, awareness of impulse control, and understanding the big picture.

Emotional Self-Regulation Help

For many of us, controlling our emotions and body comes fairly naturally. For others, this is not the case. Those with regulation difficulties lack this innate ability to think through and succeed in everyday stressful situations. For them, emotional control and self-regulation must be learned and practiced.

Zones of Regulation™ therapy supports students with social and self-regulation challenges.

For more information regarding the Zones of Regulation™ and techniques for teaching self-regulation, check out this interview with Leah Kuypers on

The Four Zones: Our Feelings & States Determine Our Zone

The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions. A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, explosive behavior, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone.

The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions; however, one has some control when they are in the Yellow Zone. A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.

The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zone. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.

The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings, such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.

The Zones can be compared to traffic signs. When given a green light or in the Green Zone, one is “good to go”. A yellow sign means be aware or take caution, which applies to the Yellow Zone. A red light or stop sign means stop, and when one is the Red Zone, this often is the case. The Blue Zone can be compared to the rest area signs where one goes to rest or re-energize. All of the zones are expected at one time or another, but the curriculum focuses on teaching students how to manage their Zone based on the environment and people around them. For example, when playing on the playground or in an active/competitive game, no one would think twice about one being in the Yellow Zone but that would not be same in the library.

Who Can Benefit?

The Zones of Regulation™ strategies are applicable to preschool to college age students in regular education and to all levels of special education students. The Zones program is geared toward clients who struggle with self-regulation, including anger management, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, flexibility, or self-control.

Teaches Clients:

  • How to identify their level of arousal and sensory needs
  • Which regulating strategies work for them
  • The impact of regulating strategies and when to use them independently
  • Strategies for problem solving
  • Perspective taking and understanding how one's behavior impacts others
  • Increased awareness of emotions and facial expressions

Impulse Control Disorder Treatment

Zones of Regulation is a cognitive behavioral approach designed to help children with impulsive behavior disorder. Kids with ADHD impulse control issues are provided tools that develop more self-confidence and self-regulation.

If you have concerns about your child’s development, please contact us online, send us an email or call us at (609) 924-7080 to set up a consultation in our office. When appropriate, we will conduct an individualized evaluation of your child to determine the most appropriate therapy and recommendations.

(L. Kuypers, 2011, Think Social Publishing


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