As part of our learning at school both staff and students are undergoing training in the Alert program. This program will be taught explicitly to the students about giving the tools to students and staff to help with regulation of alertness to allow optimal learning. In an ever increasingly complex world that is requiring greater and more difficult decision making, heightened anxiety and emotional support, this program is one way that St Mary of the Cross is helping the students in our care.
The alert program was created by occupational therapists to teach children how to change how alert they feel and to teach adults how to support learning, attending and positive behaviours. By using a car engine analogy, children learn “if your body is like a car engine, sometimes it runs on high, sometimes it runs on low, and sometimes it runs just right.”
The alert program teaches children a wide range of simple and activities that can be incorporated easily into school and home routines. Heavy work activities are recommended most often in the program because heavy work (pushing, pulling, tugging, towing and/or carrying heavy objects) works when engines are in high or low gear. The alert program teaches children how to self-regulate – how to attain, maintain, or change how alert one feels appropriately for a task or situation. When we are in an optimal state for learning (alert, attentive and focused) we are much more likely to succeed and we are less likely to see behavioural outbursts.
Further information will later be available from Sylvana Spina, the occupational therapist running the program at school however, if you want an early look at the program, follow the link.