Alert programmes & social skills
At Sensory Kidzone we offer a 10 week programme that combines concepts of The Alert Program® and social skills. Children with different dysfunctions for example sensory modulation, praxis, and ADHD often struggle in social settings. They need a safe nurturing environment in which to learn through experience how to develop self-awareness and social skills. The aims of the groups vary according to the need of the group. Generally it is to develop the child’s awareness of their own sensory system and behaviour and how it affects other people. Mostly the groups are only for children from Grade 1 upwards and they also need to have at least 3 individual sessions at the practice.
What is the Alert Program
How Does Your Engine Run?” – The Alert Program® for Self-Regulation was developed by two occupational therapists, Mary Sue Williams and Sherry Shellenberger. The Alert Program® is a specific intervention program that consists of a series of lessons and activities that incorporate sensory integration techniques with cognitive approaches. The primary focus of the program is to help children to learn to monitor, maintain and adjust their level of alertness so that it is appropriate to a situation or task. To be able to attend, concentrate and perform tasks one must be in an optimal state of arousal for that task. When difficulties in self-regulation occur the individual may have difficulty in changing their levels of alertness which compromises their ability to function. The program is designed to improve awareness of self-regulation through charts, worksheets and activities. Children and parents learn how to recognize arousal states as they relate to attention, learning and behaviour as it provides a framework and vocabulary to help understand it. “If your body is like a car engine, sometimes it runs on high, sometimes it runs on low, and sometimes it runs just right.” There are five ways to change how alert one feels: put something in the mouth; move; touch; look or listen. The Alert Program® is a step by step method by which adults and children learn to determine which strategies they can use to support their optimal performance and identify hyper-sensitivities which hamper performance. It helps parents and therapists understand that behaviour may reflect both on the current level of organization of the nervous system and the child’s best attempt to respond adaptively and efficiently to the demands of a situation. In the social skills aspect children learn about turn taking, solving a problem amongst themselves, personal space, complimenting one another and any other aspects that the therapist identifies the group needs.