A Natural Self-Regger With A Passion For Spreading The Science Of Self-Reg
Originally written in 2019
Teacher and Autism Specialist Erika Wainwright uses the science of Dr. Stuart Shanker’s Self-Reg to continually learn, share, and advocate for students and colleagues.
Self-Reg gave me the why behind everything that I believed. Self-Reg gave the supporting science and provided resources to share with the schools that would help me guide them through the process of supporting a student who is struggling. Having research support beyond just my words was helpful to support the schools in feeling they were making the right choice.
Our team has a common Self-Reg language and lens that we look through when we are supporting schools, children and families. It has made us so much more effective at our jobs. I feel that we are just at the beginning of this journey and I can’t wait to see how far it goes.
Process at this Point
We started with a book study among any interested teachers and clinicians utilizing the Calm, Alert, and Learning book guide provided by the MEHRIT Centre. We also started learning lunches and would watch the Foundations courses you could purchase through The MEHRIT Centre and TMC YouTube videos.
We planned a Self-Reg 2-day conference with The MEHRIT Centre for our division and other divisions within the province of Manitoba. I have also been providing PD sessions to school teams, divisions or organizations across the province interested in starting to learn about Self-Reg.
The Winnipeg School Division and MATC (Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre) have also made Self-Reg one of the foundational learning supports that are going to be offered to parents and teachers. Winnipeg School Division has set aside two days for Self-Reg learning for teachers and is starting to train the behaviour support team. MATC is in the process of creating a session that will be offered throughout the entire city to parents about Self-Reg and supporting their child through the lens.
When I first started working with individual school teams and providing PD on Self-Reg, people really struggled with the paradigm shift away from the self-control mindset. In my first year I had numerous people tell me I was full of crap; they did not believe anything I was saying and said that some kids are just bad. The strategy I used to help work through this was to recognize that the adults in this situation were displaying stress behaviour.
Once I viewed the adult as stressed, I was able to focus on reducing the entire team’s stress, which in turn gave the adults more capacity and energy to support the child. It is just as important to look at the adults with soft eyes as the children. Looking at the challenges I am dealing with as stress behaviour also reduces my own stress in supporting a team. One of the best lessons I have learned from Self-Reg is to see every challenge as an opportunity to learn.
I laugh about how everyone always teases me about how obsessed I am with Self-Reg and sharing it with everyone I know. I obsessively read the research and share the information with anyone who is willing to listen.
Every Self-Reg journey I have done with a child and their school team has been a breakthrough. When you see a team that is working together and attuned to their and the student’s energy/tension states it is a beautiful thing. The child always blows you away with what they are able to do within their own trajectory.
My biggest personal breakthrough was in how I started to look at myself differently. I saw the impact that my own stress can have on others, and I began to be more aware of what I need to self-regulate. Now I see everything through a Self-Reg lens.
Self-Reg changed the teacher’s view of the child, and ultimately, the child’s trajectory.