/Peter Batten

About Peter Batten

Ah, a describe yourself box. I have many "labels", a therapist, an educator, a husband, a father, a business person... but I don't believe in defining people by labels, let alone myself! How’s this... I’ve always been intrigued by the role key people play in the course of our life, especially the way they shape our beliefs and values. Significant relationships change you and change the way you relate to others. Well they have me. A few significant relationships in my life have encouraged me to believe, that despite my flaws, I’m at my best, when I encourage others to be the best they can be, to learn from their setbacks and to seize their opportunities. Having a positive impact on the lives of others, that to me is a legacy worth striving for, and after all, it’s my legacy that will define me.

The Zones of Regulation Training – Online “Live” with Leah Kuypers


NEWS FALSH!  On 9 March 2021 we will be offering a three hour “intensive” for those who missed out on the training in October. That will be followed on 11 March 2021 by the much anticipated three hour School Wide Implementation workshop. Details and early release discounts coming soon.

Did you miss it?  Leah Kuypers recently presented her popular Zones of Regulation Training online and “live” at a time that suited those of us living in the Southern Hemisphere. So you don’t miss out on information about the next one, join our mailing list via the slot towards the bottom of our Home page.



The Zones of Regulation Training – Online “Live” with Leah Kuypers2020-11-22T09:54:06+11:00

Australia Post explains delays


Dear Peter,

At Australia Post, we are doing everything possible to keep delivering during the coronavirus pandemic. Almost all of our Post Offices are still open, while our posties and drivers are working to get parcels delivered to your customers.

With our business adapting to the challenges the current pandemic presents, our normal practice of delivery has been impacted. We are experiencing significant delivery delays due to limited flights, hygiene and social distancing requirements in our network (such as one person unloading a loose load trailer which halves productivity) and an increase in parcel volumes as more people shop online.

We appreciate the current delays are causing frustration and increased customer enquiries for both you and our contact centre. We have made some important changes to some of our tracking notifications to provide your customers with more information about the progress of their delivery.

We have a new notification – “We’ve got your delivery details” – which will now be the first notification sent to consumers when Australia Post has confirmed receipt of the manifest. We have also updated the “It’s on its way” notification to include information about delivery delays and refer customers to find out more detail on our website. Click here to see the enhanced notification experience and suggested messaging for your use to explain the delays.

You will be aware the Federal Government has announced it will soon implement changes to allow Australia Post to operate under relaxed regulatory requirements, including removing the Priority Mail letter product, delivering letters every second business day in metropolitan areas (with no change to delivery frequency in rural or remote areas), and extending the delivery times for regular intrastate letters to five days after the day of posting.

For Priority Mail, we will honour any customer orders and/or known lodgements and will support and keep you updated as we continue to work through the detail on these changes.

For those of you who use pre-purchased retail packaging, the Express Post guarantee of next day delivery with the Express Post network has been temporarily suspended due to the significant reduction of domestic passenger flights (which carry parcels), social distancing and hygiene requirements in our network, and the increase in volumes. Express Post is still available, but parcels may not be delivered next business day every time.

As a reminder, for information about changes to the letter service, up to date details on delays and impacts including any Post Office closures, please visit our website.

Our people continue to work tirelessly under difficult circumstances to support you and your customers so we appreciate your ongoing support in treating them with the courtesy and respect they deserve.

Thank you very much for your understanding and stay safe.

Kind regards,

Gary Starr
Executive General Manager
Business and Government

Australia Post explains delays2020-04-24T21:33:13+10:00

Keep Calm and Structure On: How to manage emotions and build structure at home during COVID-19


“I’m scared of getting sick and I miss my friends” -5 year old
“I’m scared you are going to get sick and papa (grandparent)” -16 year old
“It’s only Day 2 of home school and we are already going crazy!” -Parent of child with special needs

During this unprecedented time of school closures, social distancing, and fears of the coronavirus, parents are scrambling for ways to support their children’s social and emotional health.

As a parent, you may be wondering “How do I support my child, calm her fears, and maintain some sense of normalcy during a highly abnormal time?”

If you are a parent of a child with special needs, you may be concerned about managing your child’s social-emotional and behavioural reactions to the big change in their routine.

All kids (and adults!) profit from structure, predictability, and routines during times of uncertainty. Younger children, children with special needs, and children experiencing high levels of situational anxiety during this time may need structure even more.

As co-creators of Make it Stick Parenting, we help parents teach their children social-emotional and behavioural self regulation through everyday activities at home. We are offering up this short free three-video series on how to set the stage for a more calm, supportive home environment during school closures.

We invite you to listen, download the tools, and tailor to your personal situation. If something resonates and you want to try it, great! If something doesn’t seem to fit for your family or situation, then adapt as needed. Everyone’s situation is unique and there is no “one right way” to parent in this time. There are some basic guiding principles, however that may help you keep calm, support your child where they are and make the most of this time with your children.

Download all the Free PDF Tools we mention in our videos by submitting your email below:

1-Four different schedules to print and use.
2-Steps for how to check-in with your child on a daily basis.
3-Calming menus for you and your child.
4-Mindfulness resource guide.


You can subscribe to Elizabeth and Rebecca’s mailing list to get free tools to help create calming strategies, family schedules, and more HERE.

Click the video links below to watch the videos on YouTube.  They are great and I personally recommend them to all parents/carers (Peter).

Video One: Keep Calm and Schedule On Here’s a 12-minute video on the importance of keeping a routine during school closures and how to use the free schedule tool we created for you.

Other resources we talked about: – Free Internet: To enroll for Charter Internet’s service,  go to www.internetessentials.com. – List of free subscriptions to educational websites

Video Two: The Need for Daily Check-Ins Here’s a 9-minute video on using morning meetings/check-ins and evening debriefs to manage big feelings that may arise during this time. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this blog to get the free morning meetings and evening debrief tool.

Other resources we talked about: – https://www.emotionalabcs.com/

Video Three: Emotional Regulation In this 13-minute video, we talk about the importance of having a plan for managing big feelings and behaviors that are likely to arise during stressful or dysregulating times. It’s expected for you and your children to have heightened emotions and there are strategies that can help. We have included a strategy for using a “calming menu” for you and your child and several of our favorite mindfulness activities for kids.

Other resources we talked about: – Social-Emotional Lessons/videos: https://www.gonoodle.com/

Keep Calm and Structure On: How to manage emotions and build structure at home during COVID-192020-04-21T10:45:30+10:00

All the Zones are OK! Tips for Managing the Zones You’re In by Leah Kuypers


by Leah Kuypers, author of The Zones of Regulation – www.thezonesofregulation.com

Feelings are innate; they make us human and are part of the fabric of life. Our feelings are windows into the thoughts and perspectives we hold toward a situation, a person, or an event. As a mom and therapist, I catch myself from time to time telling someone, “Don’t worry…” or “Don’t be sad…” only to remind myself “It’s too late, the other person is already worried or sad.” Rather than offering support in the form of telling others not to feel this way or that, we can help people manage the feelings they are experiencing in an adaptive and prosocial way.

I created The Zones of Regulation (The Zones) to help us do just that: support people in managing all the feelings they experience, without passing judgment on what people are feeling or how they are behaving. The Zones framework was turned into a curriculum and published by Social Thinking in 2011, titled The Zones of Regulation: A Curriculum Designed to Foster Self-Regulation and Emotional ControlSince that time I have expanded it into two apps, The Zones of Regulation and The Zones of Regulation: Exploring Emotions..

The core focus of Zones is to positively support the acquisition of self-regulation skills, especially in school-age children as they learn to work together as a group. Yet, some people are using The Zones in a way that may appear as a disciplinary tool or to project shame on others for their lack of regulation skills. This is not how The Zones is designed to be taught! It is vital to understand ALL THE ZONES ARE OK! There are no good or bad Zones. The Zone we are in is determined by how we feel on the inside, not the behavior on the outside.

When self-evaluating what Zone we are in, we consider our emotions as well as our sensory state (e.g., “Is our arousal level low or high?”). Given the internal fluctuations in our feelings and states we experience over the course of a day, it is natural and quite possible that we are going to experience all of the Zones. At some point we may feel tired in the Blue Zone, calm in the Green Zone, worried in the Yellow Zone and possibly furious or elated in the Red Zone. Our brains are wired to send out internal messages that spark the feelings and shifts in arousal levels that we experience. That’s all happening on the inside. And, we can work to regulate those internal feelings and states so they are expressed in ways (on the outside) that meet our personal goals as well as the social demands of the context we are in. We all feel angry or sad or lethargic from time to time; it’s just part of being human. Likewise, we will all be in each of the four Zones from time to time. That’s to be expected. Let’s consider the following scenario.

You get a text message that makes you feel irate and in an instant you’re in the Red Zone while in a classroom full of people. Your instinct is to slam down the phone and grunt but you’re aware of the social context (i.e., you’re using your social thinking). You understand that this behavior would be unexpected (Winner & Crooke, 2008) in the classroom and will likely create uncomfortable feelings in the people around you. In addition, you realize fueling the emotion may distract you from the learning you are motivated to do. Therefore, you manage your zone using your self-regulation tools. For instance, you might take a deep breath and use your inner coach (positive self-talk) to figure out the size of the problem and tell yourself this is a small problem and you can handle it. Inside you are boiling in the Red Zone, but on the outside, others see you as in control and possibly a slight bit distracted. Some others may even still see you as being in the Green Zone.

Let’s take that same scenario of receiving a text message that makes you irate and change the context by having you be home alone in your kitchen. In both scenarios, the text triggers you into the Red Zone and you’re feeling irate. However, in this context, you manage your Red Zone differently and vocalize your frustration by grunting and slamming your phone down. You may use less effort to control your Red Zone when alone (the social demands are low) and there is not a high-stakes task you are trying to accomplish.

It seems that some people can get confused in using The Zones when they mistakenly classify someone in a Zone based on his or her external behavior rather than the person’s internal feelings. It’s worth repeating: our behavior DOES NOT determine the Zone! Our behavior is a by-product of how we manage our Zone. The Zones curriculum teaches individuals to become aware of their feelings and provides tools people can use to regulate those feelings rather than being at the mercy of their feelings. When we MANAGE our Zone, it is expressed in a way (our behaviours) that is adaptive and prosocial given the current situation.

To help us (as well as our students and clients) figure out how to manage a Zone, context comes into play.  Context is all around us and is ever changing. Peter Vermeulen, an international author, expert, and speaker in the area of context and autism explains, “Context helps us to understand what we see, hear, feel, smell, etc.…” (pg. 29, Autism as Context Blindness, 2012). Some people mistakenly consider the context of the environment and assume that a behavior(s) consistent with one of the Zones is the norm and that a certain Zone is expected in that context; for instance “the Green Zone is expected in the classroom.” This assumption may be based on the overall behaviours of the majority of people in that environment (students are remaining quiet and listening) or it may stem from considering the internal state that allows us to efficiently execute the tasks that are required of us in that context. But again, those are behavioral expectations and The Zones is about regulating what goes on inside – our feeling states. Viewing context this way becomes a problem when we set an expectation for the context that includes not just behaviours but feelings too, such as “We need to be in the Green Zone in the classroom” and some of our students are not feeling calm, organized or happy in that context.

Rather than pressuring our students or clients to be in a certain Zone based on the behavior expectations of a context, we need to be using context to help us determine how to help them manage whatever Zone they are in at the moment. Context does not define what we should feel or the Zone we should be in. As Peter Vermeulen suggests, context gives us more understanding of our feelings. Let’s look at the following situation to illustrate this idea further.

Theo witnesses his parents fighting during breakfast and hears his father threaten to move out (the trigger to his feelings). Theo is feeling sad (feeling) and has a low level of arousal (his state), which puts him in the Blue Zone. This feeling and state stays with him as he enters his classroom that morning (context changes). It’s not as if we can tell Theo he can’t feel that way because “it’s expected to be in the Green Zone in the classroom.” Rather, we need to allow Theo his feelings and meet him where he is to help him self-regulate within the context he is now in. For instance, the teacher might check-in with Theo, empathise, and support him in thinking about what Zone he is in, whether he needs to manage his Zone, and reviewing tool options to help him care for his Blue Zone. This is in stark contrast to a teacher who is incorrectly teaching Zones by making a threat and expecting a student to be in the Green Zone or incur a consequence. Not only does this approach dismisses Theo’s feelings, it also projects shame and is a missed opportunity to build a relationship, establish trust and support Theo in developing self-regulation skills. Helping Theo find a tool such as talk to an adult or look at his Book of Joy (a homemade book filled with images/text of things that bring him joy) allows him to manage his Blue Zone so he can meet the classroom demands.

We have an incredible responsibility and opportunity to foster self-regulation skills in the populations we serve in a positive and prosocial way and The Zones of Regulation can help do just that. When implementing The Zones, it is important to keep these four basic principles in mind:

  1. It is natural to experience all of the Zones; there is no bad zone.
  2. Our Zone is defined by the feelings and internal states we experience on the inside.
  3. Our behavior is a byproduct of how we manage our Zone; therefore, consequences should not be tied to a Zone.
  4. The context we are in helps us figure out how to manage our Zone so our behavior meets the demands of the social environment, and in doing so we are able to achieve the tasks we are trying to accomplish and/or the social goals we’ve set for ourselves in that situation.

When we respect our students and the feelings they have, we can approach teaching self-regulation through the perspective of understanding, compassion, and assistance, rather than behavior expectations, rewards, and consequences. In the end, we’ll do more to help them learn to self-regulate their thoughts, feelings, and internal states so they can co-exist with others and accomplish the goals, both big and small, they hope to achieve no matter what Zone they are in and whatever context they find themselves.

About the Author

Leah Kuypers earned a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Master of Arts in Education with a Graduate Certificate in Autism from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. She is an OT/autism specialist in school and clinical settings, specialising in self-regulation and social learning, and has worked with students of all ages and challenges, including anxiety, ADHD, and ASD. Leah created The Zones of Regulation®, a framework designed to teach self-regulation, and is the author of a book and two apps by same name (2011, Social Thinking Publishing, Inc.; 2013, 2016, Selosoft, Inc.). In addition to working with students, she provides trainings and consultation to parents and professionals on self-regulation and challenging behavior, and conducts workshops on the Zones to groups across North America. She resides in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, son, daughter, and dog.

Training in “The Zones”

Leah kuypers will be training in Australia in October 2020.  Information in our Workshops Calendar.  You can also participate in Webinars run by Leah, information on Leah’s website here.


Kuypers, L. (2011). The Zones of Regulation: A Curriculum Designed to Foster Self-Regulation and Emotional Control. San Jose, CA: Think Social Publishing, Inc.

Vermeulen, P. (2012). Autism as Context Blindness. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger’s Publishing Company.

Winner, M.G. & Crooke, P. (2008). You are a Social Detective: Explaining Social Thinking to Kids. San Jose, CA: Think Social Publishing, Inc.

All the Zones are OK! Tips for Managing the Zones You’re In by Leah Kuypers2020-05-04T09:56:50+10:00

Rewards and Punishments vs Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems


If you work with kids or have kids of your own, then you know it’s a jungle out there for kids with social, emotional, and behavioural challenges.  And it’s not a walk in the park for parents, educators, mental health professionals, staff in facilities, or law enforcement professionals either. Working with kids who have behaviour challenges is tough.

Punitive practices are counterproductive

Punitive practices such as detentions, suspensions, expulsions, restraint and seclusion are counterproductive, and with some kids those practices can propel them down the very costly and unnecessary pipeline to prison.

Experience shows that “rewards and punishments” have little impact on long term behaviour change. Educators, professionals and parents need better options to influence long term and lasting changes in behaviour.

We need to change our approach to challenging behaviour and end the counterproductive REDSS practices in schools (Restraint, Expulsion Detention, Suspension, and Seclusion). These interventions solve no problems and teach no skills.

We want to suggest 4 things you can do, now.

1. Challenge the view that: “kids do well if they want to do well”

Challenge the view that Kids do well if they want to do well: that notion isn’t supported by the research that has accumulated on behaviourally challenging kids over the past 40-50 years. This view of behaviour characterises kids as:

  • Attention-seeking
  • Manipulative
  • Coercive
  • Unmotivated
  • Limit-testing
  • “He’s yanking my chain”
  • “He’s pushing my buttons”
  • “He’s going to have to hit rock bottom before he learns how to swim”
  • “He needs to learn who’s boss

Those characterisations, simply lead to interventions aimed at making kids want to do well and modifying their behaviour, primarily through rewarding and punishing.  It doesn’t work.

2. Change your view to: “kids do well if they can do well”

Under this view of behaviour if the kid could do well, he or she would do well…so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with what the research tells us is really getting in the way: lagging skills and unsolved problems. A link to the research is here.

We help kids a whole lot better when we focus on solving those problems and teaching those skills than when we focus primarily on modifying the behaviours that those problems and lagging skills are causing.

Many popular interventions neither solve problems nor teach skills, including stickers, time-out, privilege loss, detention, suspension, expulsion, spanking, restraint, and seclusion.

3. Familiarise yourself with non-punitive, non-adversarial interventions

Instead, familiarise yourself with the many non-punitive, non-adversarial interventions that focus on relationship-building, communication, skill-enhancement, and collaboration.

You’ll find extensive resources on one approach called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) here. Other non-punitive, non-adversarial approaches, including Social Thinking, are listed here.

4. Attend training

The founder of Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS), Dr Ross Greene, was training in Australia in June/July 2019.

You can view photos of Ross’s 2019 Australia tour on our Facebook page here.

Ross will be back for a tour of both Australia and New Zealand in 2020.  Join our mailing list via the slot towards the bottom of our Home page and we’ll keep you posted.

Dr Greene’s not for profit Lives in Balance has a lot of free training resources on their website.

All the CPS paperwork, including an editable version of the ALSUP, can be found here.
A range of podcasts about CPS to support your learning, can be found here.
Information about further training in CPS, can be found here.  

Contact us if you have any questions  (02) 5105 5262 or email peter@socialmind.com.au

Our thanks to Lives In The Balance and Dr Ross Greene.

Rewards and Punishments vs Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems2020-05-04T09:57:59+10:00

‘Bus Trip’ a film about standing up for what’s right, despite the odds


It’s also about the long-term, and often life-long, support provided by parents.

Our 11 year old son, Elijah, was recently cast in a film that was entered in the Focus on Ability Short Film Film Festival.  Elijah’s involvement aside, it’s a great film starring Peter Rosini and directed by Sebastian Chan.

Bus Trip is a film with a message, both on the screen and behind the scenes.  On screen it’s a film that demonstrates just what people with a disability can do with the right support.  Behind the scenes this film is a tribute to the long-term, and often life-long, support provided to people with a disability, by their parents.

We’d love you to see the film, there’s a link to the film here and below.  It’s only a short film.

The film Bus Trip, tells the story of a man with a disability who, with the support of others on the bus, stands up for what is right.  It focuses attention on his abilities, rather than his disability.

“I was motivated by videos I had seen on social media of people being harassed on buses and their fellow patrons standing up for them,” said the film’s Director, Sebastian Chan.

The film was produced by Maria Rosini, mother of the lead actor Peter Rosini.  Peter is an actor with a disability and Maria has actively supported and encouraged Peter to pursue his interests and develop his talent.  Their story is in every sense, a focus on ability.  Maria is a strong advocate for the film’s message and steadfastly supports Peter’s passion for acting.

Our son Elijah attends drama lessons run by the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art, it’s one of those Friday after school things.  He’s interested in acting and when the casting opportunity came up, he asked me to help him put together a CV.  He’s 11 right.  I threw something together and took his portrait with my phone.  He was lucky enough to be cast as the younger version of the main character, Peter, and appears in the flashback scene.  In Elijah’s scene, Peter is remembering a time when he unsuccessfully tried to stand up to a bully in the school playground, nobody supported him.  Undeterred by past failures, Peter tries again to stand up for what is right, this time he gets the support of those around him.  That scene alone is a powerful message for us all, but wow, what an amazing film for your first acting gig.

We hope you find the film inspiring, on many levels.  Here’s the link to the film.

  • You can find out more about Peter Rosini here, scroll to the end of the page in the link, Peter’s Bio is the last one, his film “Beautiful” is also there.
  • If you are interested in other films entered in the Focus on Ability Film Festival, here’s another link What it feels like – focus on Autism

If you care to, after you watch the film tell me what you think, peter@socialmind.com.au

‘Bus Trip’ a film about standing up for what’s right, despite the odds2020-05-04T09:55:32+10:00