The Importance Of Self-Regulation In Education

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Self-regulation is a skill integral to a child’s development, but one of the facets of learning that children struggle with the most. Self-regulation is defined as “the ability to focus attention on a task, to delay more immediate gratification in pursuing a longer term goal” (Sparks, 2013, p. 1). Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) struggle even more with the ability to self regulate than their peers, particularly when it comes to behavioral self-regulation and cognitive self-regulation. In this paper, I will delve into my observations of an autistic student at Magnolia Speech School in Jackson, MS and what I know from personal experiences about self-regulation. I have a brother that is severely autistic and is unable to function …show more content…
He, like my brother, struggles immensely with self-regulating. He has to be specifically prompted when doing a worksheet or a test to answer a question, and if called on he will look to his assistant teacher to help him answer the question. The assistant teacher also always sits with him and helps him with every task in the classroom. In addition to the extra help from the assistant, the teacher uses a behavior chart for all of the students to monitor their behavior. If a student answers a question, they get to move their clip up. If they answer incorrectly, they must move their clip down. For a student with ASD, or any student for that matter, the extra help and the behavior charts can be problematic. This practice is called external regulation, and occurs when a parent or teacher tells a child what to do and regulates behavior for the child, instead of allowing them to work on their own. External regulation is important for infants, as “caregivers initially act as external regulators of the infant’s rhythms and affect, gradually facilitating the child’s increasing capacity to self-regulate” but as the child develops, their self-regulatory skills should continue to develop (Bernier, Carlson, & Whipple, 2010, p. 326). The student in my class has been told what to do and corrected by someone else for so long that he now depends on that person to do simple tasks. There is no effort to teach him to self-regulate. The goal is to make sure he keeps up with the rest of the class, but too much help and he won’t be able to learn to self-regulate, knowing that the assistant will always be there to tell him what to do. It is important that the student follow along in class and stay on top of his work, but if that is taking away from his ability to learn to self-regulate, how helpful to him is it that he

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