Port Hope artist, Lee Higginson, is helping parents across North America in a big way with some smooth little stones from the shores of Lake Ontario.
What started as an art project, and a way to connect with her son who is diagnosed with autism, has turned into something so much more.
They’re called Stones of Regulation. And they are changing lives.
Here’s the story behind them, from the artist:
You might not be aware that one of the main reasons I started producing art was to support my son, who is diagnosed with autism. He is an artist, and I’ve always found it to be a great way to connect with him.
In my hundreds of hours of training over nine years since diagnosis, I have become quite knowledgeable on kids with special needs.
One of the tools that is used frequently, in both schools and therapy settings, is the Zones of Regulation program.
The program teaches kids about identifying emotions in four zones: green, yellow, red and blue.
It’s a great resource for self-identifying what someone might be feeling. It also helps open the discussion that all emotions are legitimate and that we can’t always be in the “green”.
My experience is that using a tool like this one, a new version of a set I developed last year, creates a new communication device that allows those who might not otherwise be able to say “how” they are feeling to select using easy to identify faces.
I developed the emotions seen on these stones with an ABA (applied behaviour analysis) trained therapist to represent a wide variety of feelings.
The backs are marked with the colour of each emotion, as described in the Zones program, so that the tool can be used as a quiz of sorts too.
Whether the children in your life are deemed “special needs” or not, helping children to identify and name their emotions is critical for their well-being and mental health.
Since sharing these Stones of Regulation on social media, the response has been incredible, with orders coming in from all across Canada and beyond. It’s amazing to see what happens when one person takes a step to make a difference.
This is an incredible project and with April being Autism Awareness Month, I’d love if you’d help spread the word by sharing this post with friends, teachers, parents, therapists, and anyone else who works with children.
You can purchase the Stones of Regulations directly from Lee via her Instagram here. Each set contains 12 faces (3 of each “zone”) and comes with a carrying bag. Check out her latest posts to see what craft shows she’ll be at in the future if you’d like to visit her in person.