Executive functioning: Emotional regulation

Executive functioning skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions and juggle multiple tasks successfully. They are essential for learning, behaviour, and development.

The videos and tip sheet below provide valuable insight into the lived experience and feelings of young Autistic people, as well as practical strategies young people can use to build their executive functioning skills.

The resources focus on emotional regulation. These resources would be useful for Autistic students, teachers, and parents.  

These resources were developed with input from Autistic people, an occupational therapist and education professionals. The creation of these resources was proudly funded by the Victorian Department of Education.

Emotional regulation: Tips for autistic teens tip sheet

Emotional regulation is how we name and manage our feelings. It is a skill that we learn as we grow and develop. Emotional regulation is a form of executive functioning.

Sometimes we may lose control of our emotions when we don’t yet have the skills to cope with the demands on us. This happens to everyone at times and that’s okay.  Like all skills, learning to regulate big emotions takes practice. When we build these skills, we start to feel like we can manage stress or challenges in a healthy way.

Read the information sheet for more tips and advice.


Emotional regulation videos

Video 1: Chloe Hayden, Autistic advocate

Chloe talks about: 

  • Scheduling and taking breaks
  • The importance of hobbies and passions
  • How hobbies can be a way to connect with others

Video 2: Jackie, Occupational Therapist  

Jackie talks about: 

  • Self- regulation – managing our bodies, thoughts, emotions and behaviours  
  • Flight, fight, and freeze 
  • Self-awareness of emotions 
  • Recharging your emotions 
  • Speaking to trusted adults 
  • Working out what you find tricky

Video 3: Shadia Hancock, Autistic advocate  

Shadia talks about: 

  • Their learning style 
  • The sensory impacts of different environments 
  • Masking emotions 
  • Their strategies, including communication cards 
  • Self-advocacy 

Video 4: Ida, Teacher  

Ida talks about:  

  • Tricky situations in secondary school 
  • How teachers can help 
  • Brain breaks and other classroom strategies 
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