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An exploration of emotional regulation in neurodivergent brains

Written by: Laura Juniper
5 min read
LAURA JUNIPER, SENDCo, THE REACH FREE SCHOOL, UK We all experience intense emotional responses throughout our lives: the quickening of our heartbeat, the rapid breathing and racing thoughts. Often, this is an adaptive and normal response to a threatening event. Our body is preparing itself for the fight or flight response. We choose our response to tackle the threat head-on or to escape and avoid it, depending upon which is in line with our goals or the constraints of the situation.  Emotional regulation is a prevalent issue in schools; however, much of the discussion focuses on the expression of emotion or the triggers of emotional dysregulation. It fails to give adequate weight to understanding the mechanics of the brain that lead to dysregulation. What are emotions?  According to Schachter (1964), emotion is the perception of stimuli arousing the autonomic nervous system (our fight or flight response) and is labelled according to the available cognitive (schemas generated fr

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