Emotional Regulation in Children

I was shocked to see Will Smith slap Chris Rock at the Oscars last night. Whether Chris Rock “deserved” it or not, one thing is certain. We expect more emotional regulation from our children. 

According to his Instagram, Will Smith is a big fan of practising mindfulness.  But it seems this wasn’t enough to help him manage his anger. Similarly, research shows that teaching mindfulness to primary school does not significantly improve their emotional regulation.

As speech language pathologists, what can we do?

At University, we didn’t get taught much about emotional regulation. All children need to learn how regulate their emotions. Autistic children, as well as children with ADHD and dyslexia often present with heightened emotional responses that affect their learning.  Furthermore, research shows that children with DLD are at higher risk for socio-emotional problems than their peers.

Surely you must agree that we need to know about and upskill in this!

Therapy Approaches

Here are some evidence-based programs that we train and deliver.

A multidisciplinary approach is best practice. One study showed promising preliminary results of the Play and Language Approach. The speech pathologist worked with a play therapist to help target early language development in young children with challenging behaviours.  It’s a child-led approach. The speech pathologist focussed on recasts  and being “present” with the child.

Occupational Therapists (OT) often work with children with sensory integration difficulties. One approach that showed promising results is The Alert Program. It is an evidence-based program that focuses on sensory integration and sensory diets to help children achieve a regulated sensory system.  Speech Language Pathologists also train in this online program.  

Similarly, for children aged four years and older, you can use The Social Thinking Program. It is another evidence-based program that focuses on self-regulation, problem-solving, and more. There are stacks of free webinars and paid online courses on the website so you can learn more about it. Speech language pathologists can implement the therapy program into therapy sessions to  address their client’s emotional goals.

Thirdly, the Zones of Regulation program is something we use a lot in our TalkHQ clinics. We find it generalises across to the home and school environments because so many schools have adopted this program as a whole-school approach to promoting optimal learning states.

Finally, you must check out the SuperFlex Curriculum Package, another favourite of the TalkHQ team! We love the digital storybooks, the emotional regulation games and social awareness activities.

If you have found this blog useful, bookmark our learning hub for speech pathologists where we will be adding more like this!

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