"If your body is like a car engine, sometimes it runs on high, sometimes
it runs on low, and sometimes it runs just right."
When teachers, therapists, or parents use these simple
words to begin the Alert Program, they enter an exciting adventure with children. The journey unfolds easily with the Alert
Program's clearly defined steps for teaching self-regulation awareness.
The Alert Program (AP) assists students
in understanding the basic theory of sensory integration related to arousal states. The primary focus is to help children
learn to monitor, maintain and change their level of alertness so that it is appropriate to a situation or task.
The Alert Program (AP) introducessupports for children, teachers, parents, and therapists
assisting them with choosing appropriate strategies to change or maintain states of alertness. Students learn what they
can do before a spelling test or homework time to attain an optimal state of alertness for their tasks. Teachers learn what
they can do after lunch, when their adult nervous systems are in a low alert state and their students are in a high alert
state. Parents learn what they can do to help their toddler's nervous system change from a high alert state to a more
appropriate low state at bedtime.
Adults may discover that it is normal for a person's engine to
vary at different times of the day. For example, before work they may drink coffee, take a brisk walk, or listen to
jazzy music to get their engine up and going for the day. Or others may find that they drink hot chocolate, rock in a rocking
chair, or watch the glow of a fireplace to get their engine slowed down after a busy day. For children with sensory issues
this type of self-regulation is much more difficult. What comes easy and automatically for those with neuro-typical systems
must be taught to children with sensory and/or self-regulation issues, through examples, narration and experimentation.
Bringing to awareness what most people do automatically in their daily routines, fosters the understanding of how
important self-regulation is for children, family and the child's educational team.
the Alert Program initially was intended for children with attention and learning difficulties, ages 8-12, it has been adapted
for preschool through adult and for a variety of disabilities. If children are intellectually challenged or developmentally
younger than the age of eight, the program's concepts can be utilized by staff to develop sensory diets (Wilbarger &
Wilbarger, 1991) to enhance learning.
Leaps & Bounds PT utiliizes the Alert Program (AP) daily, for more information
about this program from the author and developer of (AP) click on this link. www.alertprogram.com
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