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The Cognitive Domain: supporting self-regulation across the five domains

Shanker Self-Reg® helps us consider self-regulation and stress across five interrelated domains: biological, emotion, cognitive, social and prosocial. In this blog we are going to explore the Cognitive Domain.

Stress in this domain is caused by difficulty processing certain kinds of information. Stressors in the Cognitive Domain often interact with and multiply stressors in the other four domains of Self-Reg. Some stressors that can impact this domain include organizing thoughts, learning something new, making decisions, boredom, and more.

Let’s explore The Cognitive Domain further:

  • Various play-based techniques can help us address the roots of attention; but above all can help us work on the child’s self-regulation.
  • A child’s distraction, impulsivity, inability to listen, low frustration tolerance and other challenging behaviors are all a consequence of hyperarousal.
  • The more stressed a child becomes the less they can attend to what they are looking at or feeling and anticipate what is going to happen next, which increases their stress and renders them even more inattentive.
  • Shutting down and hyper-focusing on something are ways of blocking out the stress.
  • Self-Reg enables us to break the “arousal cycle” by keeping a child’s stress load within a manageable window so we can teach the child how to manage this on their own.
  • The better the child learns how to identify and reduce the stressors that render them inattentive, the better they will be able to recognize patterns in what hitherto has been a “blooming, buzzing confusion.”

Examples of Stressors in the Cognitive Domain:

Stressors in the Cognitive Domain, an illustration by Kristin Wiens. Graphic includes stressors such as organizing thoughts, time pressure, difficult or not age appropriate task, tests, learning something new, boredom, making decisions, concentrating, pattern recognition and slow processing speed.
Stressors in the Cognitive Domain, an illustration by Kristin Wiens

Continue the Self-Reg Learning:

Self-Reg Foundations Certificate Program

Self-Reg Framework 101 (individual access)

Previous Blog in Series: The Self-Reg Framework: The Emotion Domain

Next Blog in Series: The Self-Reg Framework: The Social Domain