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Hand-Brain Rhyme

This rhyme is a helpful tool to promote self-regulation in students who have difficulties controlling their emotions.

By Linda Hagood


Katrina is an 18-year-old student who has very low vision due to Leber Congenital Amaurosis, and also has high functioning autism.


Katrina will practice activities to support self regulation.

Introducing the Hand-Brain Rhyme

During a break from the school track meet, which was quite stressful for Katrina, I taught her to use a little rhyme that was developed by another student in our program, based on the “Hand Brain” model developed by neuroscientist Daniel Siegel.  In this model, the thumb and palm of the hand represent the limbic system, with the thumb as the amygdala. The four fingers folding over the thumb represent the frontal cortex that is used to regulate our feelings. The original, student written “rap” that accompanied this had a catchy beat:

(Begin with fisted hand, thumb/amygdala covered with fingers/ cortex)

Every now and then, I flip my lid (hand springs open)
I didn’t mean to, but I just did,
But it’s OK, I can tuck my feelings in (tuck thumb under fingers, as before)
After all, flipping my lid’s no sin!

She liked it right away, and I recorded her rendition of it here.

Download the transcript.

Reflection on Instruction:  Hand-Brain Rhyme

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