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Behavioral and Emotional Regulation


Behavioral and emotional regulation are essential to sustain attention to an activity, learn new skills, interact with others, and play independently or socially. Difficulties with behavior and emotional regulation can socially isolate children and their parents, and also contribute to learning difficulties.

Occupational Therapists specialize in helping children develop effective sensory reactions and strategies to support appropriate behavior and attention. Both Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists help children develop play skills (independent and social) including turn-taking, planning play, and interacting with others.

Children who struggle with behavior and emotional regulation can have difficulties with:

  • Concentration and sustained attention to an activity (even an enjoyable one)

  • Behaving in a way that is consistently appropriate to the situation or task

  • Self-regulating their physical activity, emotional state, or thoughts to match the situation or task

  • Appropriate sensory reactions to stimuli and events

  • Engaging in sedentary activities for extended periods of time

  • Age-appropriate learning in general

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