Emotional Regulation

Students with autism may struggle with managing their emotional responses to situations that may occur in school. The ability to manage and control emotional responses is generally referred to as emotional regulation or self-regulation. The Autism Committee has researched strategies for supporting students with emotional regulation concerns. A leading author on the topic, Kari Dunn Buron, has produced several resources. She defines Emotional Regulation "as the ability to separate your emotional responses to a problem from the thinking you must perform to resolve the problem."

Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis have authored three resources designed to assist educators in teaching highly anxious students. All three are available through the .

  • Buron, K.D. (2007). A "5" could Make Me Lose Control!
  • Buron, K.D. (2007). A 5 is Against the Law! Social Boundaries: Straight Up!
  • Buron, K.D. & Cutis, M. (2003). The Incredible 5-Point Scale
Book overviews and purposes
Book Overview Purpose
A "5" Could Make me Lose Control! An interactive and visually based activity (between adult and student) designed to assess the level of stress a student experiences in a variety of situations.

Can be used to gather a student's perspective when conducting a Functional Behavior Assessment or as a problem-solving activity when trying to analyze why a particular situation is stressful.

An assessment tool or springboard for discussion with students between the ages of 4-18.
The Incredible 5-Point Scale A resource for educators or parents that provides illustrations of how to use a 5-point scale for various situations.

Provides ideas, including visual charts and stories, about how to break-down a variety of behaviors into concrete parts to assist them in understanding social contexts.

Examples include: voice volume, obsessions, meeting/greeting others, control, and anxiety.

Provide examples of how to apply a number scale to various situations.
Examples are provided for a range of ages (young child to adolescent).
A 5 is Against the Law! Social Boundaries: Straight Up! A book written for teens to provide them guidance and instruction on how to see "grays" or "degrees" of actions. Chapters discuss various topics (What is a 5-Point Scale? Different People See and Think About Things Differently. When Things Seem to Get out of Control) and include an activity for each point. Visual charts are also provided to assist students in "seeing" the degrees of their emotions.