Autism Center Grab and Go Resource Gallery of Interventions

Incredible 5-Point Scale

Explore the Incredible 5-Point Scale. Created by Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis (2003), the 5-Point Scale is used as a behavior support. This simple scale promotes self-management of behavior and emotional regulation by creating a simple scale that teaches social and emotional understanding. The Incredible 5-Point Scale allows abstract concepts and feelings to be made not only personal, but are presented visually, concretely, and remain unchanged. Once a behavior is identified, it is task analyzed or broken down into concrete parts. Each part is assigned a number and/or color. Then, in collaboration with the individual with ASD, these parts are assigned a label. The narrative about each level would be read with the youth, and the coping ideas in the last column would be taught. The scale can be used to help the person remember how to respond to each level of feelings. A picture of a related special interest can also be incorporated at each level to add motivation for using the scale.

For further information, visit the Incredible 5-Point Scale Autism Internet Module at


5-Point Scale On the Job 2021

5-Point Scale

5-Point Scale - Anxiety
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5-Point Scale - Blank Template with Feelings
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5-Point Scale - Blank Template with Visuals
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5-Point Scale - Cyberbullying
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5-Point Scale - Doing Math Assignments using Special Interests
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5-Point Scale - On the Job
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5-Point Scale - Voice Control at Home
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5-Point Scale - When Upset using Special Interests
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Incredible 5-Point Scale - ASD Strategies in Action

Incredible 5-Point Scale - InspirED

Book Suggestions

The Incredible 5-Point Scale

The Incredible 5-Point Scale: Assisting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Buron, K.D., & Curtis, M.

In this book, Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis, “two teachers from Minnesota,” share their successful use of the simple concept of 5-point scales to help students understand and control their emotional reactions to everyday events that might otherwise set in motion escalating reactions.

Whether it is inappropriate touching, obsessions, yelling, hitting or making hurtful statements to classmates, use of the scale helps break down a given behavior and, with the student’s active participation, develop a unique scale that identifies the problem and, just as important, suggests alternative, positive behaviors at each level of the scale.

5 Point Scale - Book Cover 2

Social Behavior and Self-Management: 5-Point Scales for Adolescents and Adults

Buron, Kari Dunn.

Building on the success of the legendary Incredible 5-Point Scale: Assisting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Understanding Social Interactions and Controlling Their Emotional Responses, by Buron and Curtis, this book also uses scales as a way of explaining social and emotional concepts to individuals who have difficulty understanding such information but have a relative strength in understanding systems. The 5-point scales can be used to increase communication between the person on the spectrum and their support person. It can increase self-management skills and, once learned, it can serve as an excelled self-advocacy tool. As such, it is invaluable at school, on the job and in the community.

A 5 Could Make Me Lose Control

A "5" Could Make Me Lose Control! Activity-based Method for Evaluating and Supporting Highly Anxious Students

Buron, K. D.

This kit consists of a colorful laminated trifold folder with 5 pockets, 85 stressor cards, 35 blank cards, and a 15-page instructor's manual.

This unique hands-on activity helps students who are highly anxious cope with their stress by systematizing social and emotional information. Using this self-contained product, the student literally sorts cards describing highly stressful situations into colorful pockets designating stress levels ranging from 5-1, as a first step in changing the way he thinks about and responds to emotions such as anxiety, sadness and anger. A laminated erasable page and blank cards enable parents and teachers to individualize this innovative program. Suggestions for how to include it as part of a functional behavior assessment and a problem-solving activity are included.

A 5 Is Against the Law - Social Boundaries

A 5 is Against the Law! Social Boundaries: Straight Up!

Buron, K. D.

Kari Dunn Buron has done it again. Building on her popular 5-point scale, A 5 Is Against the Law! takes a narrower look at challenging behavior with a particular focus on behaviors that can spell trouble for adolescents and young adults who have difficulty understanding and maintaining social boundaries. Using a direct and simple style with lots of examples and hands-on activities, A 5 Is Against the Law! speaks directly to adolescents and young adults. The notion behind the 5-point scale is to take an idea or behavior and break it into five parts to make it easier to understand the different degrees of behavior and, eventually, the consequences of one's behavior. A section is also devoted to anxiety and how to cope with this emotion before it begins to escalate, often leading to impulsive and unacceptable behavior. Throughout the book, the reader is encouraged to think about and create his own behavior and anxiety scale that applies to his particular emotions and situations.

Additional Resources

The Incredible 5-Point Scale