Occupational Therapy Month: Self-Regulation for Kids

is a smart, spunky kindergartener who loves learning about animals and the
environment. Nathan was getting into trouble at school for not keeping his
hands to himself, interrupting the teacher and having difficulty remaining on
task and staying seated. He began receiving occupational therapy about a year
ago at TherapyWorks. While he had made some progress, his therapist recently
implemented the How Does Your Engine Run?© Alert Program© to help improve self-regulation in order
to decrease hyperactivity.

Alert Program© was developed by occupational therapists Mary Sue Williams and Sherry
Shellenberger in 1991, in order to create a shared language for
students, parents, teachers, therapists and other professionals to use when improving
self regulation and attention. According to their website, www.alertprogram.com,
their mission is, “developing practical ways to teach people of all ages how to
incorporate sensory integration theory into everyday living… and how
understanding self-regulation can enrich the lives of children.”

Alert Program© uses the analogy that your body is like a car engine;
it can run too fast, too slow, or just right. For example, your engine is
automatically running too fast if you are angry or are overly excited during

that Nathan can accurately identify the engine level in himself and others, he
has begun to learn different tools to use in order to change his engine speed. It is often a
challenge to choose an appropriate activity to slow his engine and not simply pick
a favorite activity!

is currently experimenting with changing his engine speed. He has learned body
movement tools such as swinging, jumping, crashing, and climbing, used within a
sensory diet for home and school, in order to calm and organize his engine to
the “just right” level. Next, he learned mouth tools such as resistive sucking
through a straw (i.e. pudding or applesauce). Finally, hand tools, such
as using a fidget toy or fabric fastener under the desk, keep his hands busy
and his mind focused while learning.

mother, Kimberly, has been very pleased with his progress in OT and using the
Alert Program©. She explains, “In the past year, since beginning at
TherapyWorks, Nathan has improved in so many areas, including self-regulation,
social skills, attention and listening, behavior, coping skills, and so much
more. He is now attending full days at school, whereas last year he was limited
to half days. Nathan has always been an amazing, bright little boy, but he
seems much happier and more confident now than when we first started at
TherapyWorks. As a family we are so much better able to be successful and enjoy
each other. We are truly grateful to all of the amazing staff at TherapyWorks.”

– Amanda Masters,

How Does Your Engine Run?® and Alert Program® are registered trademarks of TherapyWorks, Inc.

TherapyWorks, Inc. 7200 Montgomery NE, Ste B9 Box 397, Albuquerque, NM 87109

Phone: (877) 897-3478; Fax: (505) 899-4071 Email: manager@AlertProgram.com  Website: www.AlertProgram.com