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Diagnoses, Stress Cycles & Parenting: My Family's Self-Reg Journey

My name is Lynn and I have two boys ages 8 and 12 years old. Both my sons and I share diagnoses of autism and ADHD. With conflicting sensory challenges, executive functioning struggles, physical and mental health challenges, genetic disorders, traumatic experiences and so on, our family has lived in an intensely stressful situation for many, many years.

My older son has been impacted the most by these stressors and used to be extremely dysregulated much of the day. He struggled with anxiety and intense aggressive meltdowns, after which he would be completely devastated. He would cry and apologize and would express how much he hated himself. No one could comfort him. Then the cycle would repeat. The rest of the family would get stuck in similar stress cycles with all of us being influenced by one another’s dysregulation.

We saw countless professionals and were told to use behavioural approaches that only made things so much worse. Fortunately, we hired a new autism consultant five years ago who introduced us to Self-Reg, and that’s when things started to improve for the first time. We were able to make changes that have had an incredible, life-changing impact. I started to reframe my children’s behaviour and remove stressors. I shared everything I was learning in my course with my sons and they started being able to reframe their own behaviour and identify stressors. My older son started to feel like he was finally understood. He started to see himself differently and now for the first time in many years he doesn’t seem depressed or talk about wishing he didn’t exist. It’s amazing when he asks me to take away his devices for a time, or avoids eating sugar or processed foods because he understands how they affect his regulation. He has made himself schedules with regulating activities planned throughout the day. He has made booklets to help us learn what his stressors are, what the signs are that he is stressed and what helps to calm him. We learned things about him that we had no idea were stressors for him. He is so determined to feel better and Self-Reg has given him the tools and encouragement.

Once we saw a course for teens was available, he really wanted to take it. He has never been able to tolerate online lessons before this Self-Reg course. We decided to give it a try anyway and he ended up completing and really enjoying it. My son was so grateful for the course and Self-Reg in general that he wrote a letter to thank everyone at MEHRIT. With his permission, I wanted to share part of what he wrote:

This self-regulation course has been very helpful. Before I completed this course, I would sometimes struggle with strong emotions, anxiety and anger and after completing it I have many strategies to cope with these emotions. I still sometimes have problems but I handle them much better now. Also, I now have a better perspective on myself and others. I really find this course amazing and I would recommend it for anyone like myself. Now I have my epic calming techniques like push-ups! Thank you to everyone who helped establish this course; it really changed some things for me.

With Self-Reg, we have been able to reframe so many things and see ourselves and each other completely differently. It has changed how we parent, how we teach our children, how we see ourselves and even how we see the world. Self-Reg has given us the tools and the hope to hopefully change all of our trajectories.

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Thank you so much for sharing your story. I shared it with a mom who could relate. She is excited to check out Self-Reg. 😊


Aviva Dunsiger
Aviva Dunsiger
Jun 17, 2021

Lynn, thank you so much for sharing your story here. After learning about Self-Reg, my teaching partner and I also re-considered our approaches for a kindergarten child with autism. It made a big difference. Do you have any insights that you might share for educators grappling with what this Self-Reg approach might look like for children with autism in a classroom setting? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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