Supporting Parents to Promote Emotion Regulation Abilities in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A SCERTS Model Perspective

  • Amy C. LaurentEmail author
  • Barry M. Prizant
  • Kathleen S. Gorman
Part of the Autism and Child Psychopathology Series book series (ACPS)


Emotional regulation is a key developmental capacity concerned with the regulation of physiological arousal, emotion, and attention. Effective emotional regulation is associated with social success, academic readiness, and pro-social behaviors. Young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have documented emotional regulatory challenges. These difficulties include challenges in managing emotions, focusing attention, inhibiting reactions, delaying gratification, and seeking comfort in conventional ways. Some of these difficulties are associated with neurological differences and cognitive learning style differences, which are associated with an ASD diagnosis. Other challenges may be associated with ASD-related social learning differences, which impact the nature and effectiveness of parent/child interactions that are geared toward expanding a young child’s emotional regulatory abilities. An emotional regulation approach to intervention represents a relatively new focus in intervention for young children diagnosed with ASD and holds the promise of supporting active engagement in everyday activities resulting in more emotionally satisfying social interactions between children and their caregivers. A brief framework for assessment of young children’s emotional regulatory abilities and selection of developmentally appropriate emotional regulatory objectives utilizing the SCERTS® Model is presented. Parent coaching, embedding teaching opportunities within natural routines, and modeling are discussed as developmentally appropriate intervention techniques for young children at presymbolic and symbolic levels of communication.


Emotional regulation Regulation strategies Transactional Developmental Parent coaching Self-regulation Mutual regulation SCERTS Emotion Physiological arousal Attention Challenging behavior 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy C. Laurent
    • 1
    Email author
  • Barry M. Prizant
    • 2
  • Kathleen S. Gorman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA
  2. 2.Artists and Scientists as Partners, Department of Theatre Arts and Performance StudiesBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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