Self-Regulation Program at Day Treatment

     This past spring, Baker Victory Services collaborated once again with the Occupational Therapy Department from SUNY at Buffalo to provide our youngest students at Day Treatment with an intensive program to boost their understanding of their emotions and provide them with sensory strategies specifically tailored to their needs to promote successful participation in school.

     SUNY @ Buffalo Occupational Therapy students began collaborating with Baker Victory Services on a similar project in the spring of 2016 at Baker Hall School working with students aged 12-18 years.   We wanted to offer a more intensive program to the younger students at Day Treatment with the goal of teaching them how to identify and manage their emotions at an earlier age.

     The materials provided to our students are based off of a program called the Zones of Regulation.  The author is Leah M. Kuypers, MAEd., OTR/L.  This is a curriculum that is designed to foster self-regulation and emotional control.  The curriculum was specifically designed for students who have neurobiological disorders, mental health disorders and/or a social-learning challenge.  So what is self-regulation?  This term can go by many names such as “self-control”, “self-management”, “anger control”, and “impulse control”.  These terms describe a person’s ability to adjust their level of alertness and how they display emotions through behaviors to attain goals in socially adaptive ways.  In other words, self-regulation is the ability to do what needs to be done to be in the optimal state for learning at school and interacting with teachers and peers.  This includes regulating one’s sensory needs, emotions and impulses to meet the demands of the environment, reach one’s goals and behave in a socially appropriate way. In order to self-regulate successfully three components need to be integrated: sensory processing, executive functioning and emotional regulation.

     The SUNY @ Buffalo OT students came in 1-2 times each week for a total of 8 visits to address the emotional regulation piece through fun activities that helped the students first identify emotions, and using visual aids, become proficient at identifying how they were feeling throughout the day.  The next step was to educate the students about all of their senses.  Students were able to select a variety of tangible sensory items to keep in their very own Sensory Toolbox to use when they identified that they were not in control of their emotions.  During our time with the OT students, our students were able to explore a variety of fun sensory activities through touch, movement, taste / smell, hearing and vision. 



This student is being given a deep pressure massage with the weight of the therapy ball to promote relaxation. 






These students are using resistive bands to “wake up” their joint receptors and muscles using the sense of proprioception. 


This student is working on dynamic balance which is regulated by the vestibular system.









This student is doing a balance maze attempting to move a ball to an end point.  This activity promotes concentration while balancing and shifting weight. 


This student is working on dynamic standing balance on a rocker board. 









This student is using resistive bands around his ankles while walking.  This activates joint receptors, and encourages the student to be mindful of walking so that he does not fall over. 




UB Group from left to right.  Advanced Clinical Students in their 5th year preparing to graduate this May.
Devin Bosch, David Griffo, Heather Telaak, Debbie Vokes, Clinical Supervisor, Occupational Therapist BVS, Joanna Gugluski, Jessica Silverman, Shelby Millen