The Alert Program for Self-Regulation

This program is designed to increase awareness of how one feels.

Self-regulation is ability to attain, maintain, and change arousal appropriately for a task or situation.  When children experience problems with attention, motor coordination, impulse control, activity level, or inability to experience, learn, and interact with the environment or others (output) we must consider their perception and registration of sensorimotor information:  what the child sees, hears, touches, tastes, and smells, and how movement and gravity are experienced (input)

Unfortunately for some children what they see, hear, and feel is not making sense to them.   It is our job to give you strategies to assist with play/learning at home and in school.  We are with your children for a maximum of 1 – 2 hours a week, therefore, you as parents play a vital role in your child’s success.

The Alert Program gives strategies for higher-level cognitive skills for problem solving, self motoring, recognition of need for state change or maintenance, language for organization, planning, sustained attention, working memory, organization of spaces, time, tasks, and environments, choices of goals, intention, and the formation, execution, and evaluation of strategies.  AP uses 3rd order awareness of first order state using 2nd order strategies.

There are 3 stages of the Alert Program
  1. Identify Engine Speeds
  2. Experimenting with Methods to Change Engine Speeds
  3. Regulating Engine Speeds — Some children may not reach this stage (autistic and young children)

Our goal is for you and/or your child to identify his engine speed, experiment with methods to change his engine speed and to eventually regulate his engine speed.

After each session you should have an idea of what works and what does not work for your child for that category.   Remember children need time to explore every strategy and the novelty must wear off before it can be determined if a strategy is successful or not.   Change and adapt activities to ensure the feeling of success with kids.   Abandon your own goals, if necessary. You may want to keep a log of your child’s preferences and hypersensitivities.

A child’s engine may appear to be running in high speed when actually the nervous system is in a states of low arousal and the child is demonstrating “hyperactive” behaviors in an attempt to self regulate.

* These ideas are based on the “How does you engine run?” program by Mary Sue Williams and Sherry Shellenberger. Therapy Works, Inc. 4901 Butte Place N.W., Albuquerque, NM, 87120; (505) 897-3478

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