How do we help our own self-regulation?


Gee….it is hard to believe that we are back at school after Winter Break.  The students seemed to get through the first day back with minimal difficulties.  The end of the day was a challenge for some,  but wasn’t it for most of us!!  I was caught yawning often and needed a sensory break when I got home.  Walking on the treadmill helped me.  How does everyone else keep themselves together mentally and physically?

One of the great strategies that I have found it using what we have found in my circle of friends at school (therapy, teachers etc.) is what is referred to as the

 ” 5 Point Scale”.  It is a way of identifying your feelings, emotions, level of alertness, silliness etc……..

Kari Dunn Buron developed this model and had written  books on the subject. 

A few of her books include:   The Incredible 5 Point Scale            

                                                         A 5 is against the Law                        

                                                        When My Worries Get Too Big

Here is an example of a Five Point Scale: 

If I was going to label the pictures for ME, I would rate the “1” as calm   “2” as annoyed   “3” as anxious   “4” as mad    and “5” as out of control











I was so impressed today when many of our students were able to identify where they were on the 5 Point Scale.  Even when on the outside an individual may look calm, they can identify themselves as a “5”.  They are indicating that they are feeling out of control.  I feel that I need to honor their ability to identify their feelings even if they do not look like what “I” think that number represents.  I honor it, provide them strategies that will assist in their ability to regain a more functional level of self-regulation and then check back in with them on how they rate themselves.  Don’t many of us do this on a regular basis.  Some of us might say to someone ” Just leave me alone, I need to be left alone, or might even say “Get out of my face, give me my space”.  So, when an individual that I work with who has significant sensory issues as well as communication difficulties indicated their level on the scale,  I get really excited. How gratifying when they are able to identify, process,  use strategies and then regain their abilities to participate in the  school function that was requested of them.  WAY TO GO FRIENDS!!

Can you see yourself using this scale?  Do you think it would  be helpful? 

A great website to find out more information is:

Let’s help eachother stay calm and self-regulated!!   ~Pam

About pamot

My name is Pam and I am new to this blogging stuff. Trying to find a great way to share thoughts, ideas and lots of fun "activities" to use in my Occupational Therapy practice. I hope you enjoy!

One response »

  1. The five point scale can be such a wonderful tool for individuals otherwise unable to verbally express how they are feeling. Whether it’s the complexity of that vocabulary or the inability to get words out when our bodies are “out of sync”….whatever it may be, pointing to a scale is managable and hopefully, through repeated use of the 5 point scale those feelings words may be more easily associated with emotions, and soon, be able to be said with ease and comfort.

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