Regulation for success!

Levels of Arousal play a large role in a child’s state of regulation. In an article written by Jessie Ginsburg, she discusses ways to adjust ones actions in order encourage the optimal level of arousal during sessions. Children with high levels of arousal appear to have high energy and can move quickly around the room. Children with low levels of arousal seem passive and have decreased energy. In order to achieve the optimal level of arousal, ask yourself several questions to help find the most accurate path.
The first question  is ‘what arousal level is the child coming in with?’. We need to gauge their current level of arousal (i.e. high to low) to determine if we need to decrease or increase it. Typically, we want to lower the level of high arousal children and increase the level of low arousal children.
The next question is,  ‘What is my current level of arousal?’. This is important to ask since it is easy for people to feed off each others energy. For example, having a friend excited about a new opportunity results in you getting excited too.
The last question is, ‘How can I change what I am doing to help optimize the child’s arousal state?’. Below are some examples provided within the article:
-If the child has low arousal:
  • Try new activities or engage with items in new ways
  • Play games with unpredictable movement.
  • Vary speech during movement
  • Provide increased input (i.e. spinning, jumping, or tickles)
-If the child has high arousal:
  • Engage in a familiar game with slow, smooth, rhythmic movement.
  • Speak with a soft voice.
  • Decrease the stimulation in the room or less stimulating activities.
  • Calming input (i.e. rocking back and forth and squeezes)
Ginsburg, J. (2021, November 3). Metering Arousal-Yours and Your Clients-to Optimize Treatment. ASHA Leader. Retrieved January 31, 2022, from

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