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Self Regulation

Download this Tip Sheet

Download Change in Routine Card Tip Sheet

visual script to reduce stresssquare breathingPower Card Example I need help cardI need a break cardI need a break cardchange in routine cardcalm down visual 3 stepcalm down visualbreak card

Self-regulation is what helps adults control their own behaviour. It has two primary components:

  • Ability to control our impulses and to stop doing something
  • Capacity to do something even if we do not want to do it

Examples of these might be:

  • Staying calm enough to stay in the room for a planning meeting
  • Ability to express your opinion when asked to make a choice and speak in front of a group of people

Introducing Visuals to Assist in Self-Regulation


  • Photographs, drawings, clip art, board maker, or written words


  • Strategies are based on the concept of positive reinforcement of learning to use visual supports
  • Individual is provided with opportunities to practice the appropriate skills repeatedly


  • Identify a situation that is currently difficult for the individual (eg. changes in routine)
  • Investigate the many self-regulation strategies that are available (Powercards, relaxation techniques, scripts, cognitive picture rehearsal, help cards, change in routine cards, etc.) and select the appropriate strategy
  • Customize the strategy you select to the particular needs of the individual


  • Introduce in a positive and safe environment
  • Practice and rehearse just before the difficult situation is likely to occur
  • Reinforce attempts by the individual to use the strategy