Integrating regulation into real situations

The details that exist and that are time dependent or environmentally dependent can have a huge impact on an individuals ability to regulate themselves. Gaining additional information through interacting with others to help yourself is expected.

Being able to grade the levels or types of challenges that are put in front of you depends on your ability to control parts of what is happening and how safe you can make yourself. Others can make environments or interactions incredibly unsafe by not attending to details or by demanding that their ‘rules’ or ways of doing something be adhered to regardless of other pieces of information being presented to them.

Being able to walk away from something that is distressing or unsafe requires ‘active control’ over your time and resources and physical environment. Students may be able to walk away to another part of the playground to remove themselves and attempt to ignore others challenging behaviours towards them but what happens if those others keep coming back. The types of strategies that need to be used depend on what is happening in measurable terms? Is this happening every day? How many times a day? How many individuals are involved? What has been the progression and level of intensity of what is being directed at you? Have you been able to ‘document’ by discussing with others in detail what has been happening? How frequently? What happens to that relationship in terms of how much help you are getting because that changes what you need to do to protect yourself? For example repeated directions to ignore or walk away do not work when you are being physically targeted or targeted with words that impact on how ‘others’ interact with you which then means you get or don’t get something that you would normally have access to which changes entirely how you interact with your day.

Being able to regulate yourself also requires that you can manage yourself when others are dysregulated. Not only in terms of being able to keep on doing your own ‘jobs’ whilst they are experiencing challenges but also in terms of how you manage yourself when they are interacting with you e.g. within the same room, same playground, same car. It also impacts on how you manage yourself when you can see others with high needs. Students in support units or special needs schools are around others with academic and health needs. Individuals can be very aware. of how others attempts at their own regulation is working or not, and can negate using something as a strategy when asked to simply because they’ve seen it not work in some settings before.