Teachers need the Alert Program® to...
- spend less time managing “behaviors,”
- gain time for teaching academic content, and
- support students’ ability to attend, focus, and learn easily.
We help you…
Engage with your students.
Wouldn’t it be nice to spend less time managing your classroom and more time on teaching? Whether you are educating preschoolers, elementary students, or middle/high schoolers, the Alert Program® makes your teaching easier!
We’ve done the work for you. Our classroom-ready program provides a step-by-step approach with songs, games, and books to help you incorporate self-regulation strategies into your lesson plans.
Bring teaching to the forefront of your classroom again.
Learn about this evidence-based program and find out how you can incorporate the Alert Program® into your classroom, school, or district.
You might want to start by taking Your Best Self Online Course. It’s six hours of engaging videos in short, 2-10 minute segments created for those with busy schedules — developed so you can watch or listen almost anywhere and almost at any time (while exercising, commuting to work, or doing tasks around the house, etc.).
Challenges you see…
- poor attention span,
- easily distractible,
- rarely focused,
- can’t complete tasks,
- high or low activity level.
Alert Program® is for...
- autism, ADD, and FASD,
- other learning challenges,
- home schooling,
- General Education,
- Special Education.
Research shows improved…
- coping with sensory challenges,
- focus and ability to transition,
- executive functioning.
Learn Online from the Authors
Partnering with educators for 35+ years
Don’t miss our online courses.
Your Best Self Online Course includes…
Easy ways for you to be alert, energized, productive, and balanced,
Lifetime access to watch almost anywhere and almost anytime,
Countless ideas to support your self-care,
As well as improving your ability to observe and support your students (and your family).
Classroom materials for you.
Fun games and songs.
Group and individual options.
Effective and simple tips!
We have excellent books, games, and songs with all kinds of self-regulation solutions!
Can the Alert Program® help my students?
Yes, and we can show you how easily you can support attention for those who are in General or Special Education through low-budget activities in our books, songs, and games!
In our Take Five! book, you’ll find lots of practical activities that have been kid-tested and teacher-approved; “we’ve been there, done it” for decades. So, we know the concerns of classroom teachers and we provide you with self-regulation activities for individual students, small groups, or your whole class.
Your students will love learning about the Alert Program® vocabulary and strategies through the Test Drive (book and digital songs). It couldn’t be easier: This book and its engaging songs lay it all out for you, explaining what to say to your students and how to keep them alert for learning.
We’ve adapted the classic games Go Fish and Bingo to be economical and fun for your classroom. Your students will enjoy them so much, they won’t even know they are learning concepts to make school easier.
And you can teach the entire Alert Program® to your students using the Leader’s Guide’s step-by-step activities, and 50+ pages of reproducibles, so your students can learn how to be independent in changing how alert they feel.
All of our books, games, and songs were developed to be easily implemented by teachers (General and Special Education), so you’ll want to check out our list of Alert Program® materials to learn more.
What evidence supports the use of the Alert Program® in my classroom?
The Alert Program® has been helping students of all ages and ability levels since 1990 and research has demonstrated its effectiveness.
Many teachers print out the 20+ pages of our “Alert Program® Literature and Research” document to share with parents, school administrators, or other team members to show the excellence in evidence-based practice. Want more ideas of how to get administrative support in your setting? Click here or browse answers to common questions in the Need Support section of our footer.
How can I explain the Alert Program® to parents?
Our complimentary, one page handout helps you pave the way in explaining to parents (team members or administrators) how the Alert Program® supports your classroom curriculum. Click here to print the “What’s All This Talk About Engines?” free handout.
Also, many teachers have our Introductory Booklets on hand for parents (team members or administrators) who want to learn the basics of the Alert Program®. Or you may want to direct them to our website’s New to the Alert Program® page, Blog articles, or Free Resources to learn more.
Why the engine analogy?
The Alert Program® uses an engine analogy because many children can relate and learn quickly about self-regulation when talking about their “engine” going into high, low, or just right gears. The engine analogy is just one way, but by no means the only way, to describe how alert one feels. We search for words that have meaning to the child or adult client (we typically would not talk about engines when working with older students or adult clients). Any descriptor that conveys the person’s inner experience of self-regulation can be used, such as:
- Colors (red for high, yellow for low, green or blue for just right)
- Animals (maybe a cheetah for high, a turtle for low, and a bear for just right)
- Winnie the Pooh (Tigger for high, Eeyore for low, and Pooh for just right)
- Use the child’s special interest, especially if on the autism spectrum. (For example, if the child loves to talk about a certain movie then use characters from that movie.)
- Or adults might use the words, “high alert, low alert, and just right for _________” (fill in the blank for any activity. For example, are you in an optimal state right now while reading this webpage? If so, you could say, “I’m just right for reading.”)
Learn more in our Blog article, “Engine Analogy? One Metaphor Does not fit All!”
But what if the individual doesn’t talk at all or the engine analogy is too abstract?
If a child, student, or adult client is non-verbal or currently uses a limited vocabulary, then the abstract concept of an engine may not be helpful, and could even be irritating as one boy exclaimed, “I don’t have an engine!” He knew he was a boy and not an engine (and wondered if we’d lost our minds). Those children who are more concrete thinkers might do better with actual photos taken when they are in high, low, or just right states of alertness. Then, instead, of using words, they can point to the photo that best indicates their level of alertness.
And for those children, students, or adult clients who are not yet capable of pointing to a photo of themselves in different alert states, then the adults in their lives can use the vocabulary (without the individual identifying their level of alertness). For example, parents might comment to each other at breakfast, “This morning when I helped John get out of bed, his engine seemed really low and groggy. So, I asked him to play some tug-of-war with a towel (heavy work to his muscles). After giggling in our tug-of-war game, his engine got into a just right gear. Then he got dressed much more quickly and cooperatively.” In this way, the parents are not using the engine vocabulary with the child but using the analogy with each other to better problem solve.
To learn more about how to be a “detective” and how to support self-regulation in homes, schools, therapy clinics, and other settings, check out our Alert Program® Online Course. To learn more about how important self-regulation is to all of us and how to become better observers and supporters of ourselves and others, check out Your Best Self Online Course. And to learn about low-budget activities to support self-regulation, even when children can’t talk about or use the engine analogy, check out the Take Five! book.
Can I use the Alert Program® with an individual who has autism?
Yes. For those children, students, or adult clients on the autism spectrum who are verbally interactive, they can choose what analogy they want to use. If a child loves dinosaurs, then raptors could be high, brontosauruses could be low, and stegosauruses could be just right. Whatever descriptors have meaning for the child can be used.
Some children and adult clients on the spectrum, who are at a more basic level of communicating and interacting, will need the adults in their lives to understand what types of self-regulation strategies will support their regulation.
For example, after a teacher learns the Alert Program® information, she may offer the child two choices when he comes in from the bus at the beginning of the school day. Upon entering the classroom, she may observe that the child’s engine is not in an optimal state for learning. She might think, “Hmmm, his engine looks high after the bus ride.” Rather than ask the child about his engine level, she would just offer a self-regulation strategy and say, “Let’s get ready for circle time. Would you like to help me carry this box of books or push the basket of blocks to our circle area?” In this way, the child gets the heavy muscle work he needs to help his engine get in a just right place for listening at circle time (but he is not talking about his engine. The adult is guiding his self-regulation choices).
You can find more heavy work and other simple, practical activities in the Take Five! book. And you can learn how to adapt the program for a variety of ages, populations, and settings in our full Alert Program® Online Course. Or you may find it helpful to learn how to support an individual with autism by learning how to set up your own nervous system for success, how to insert self-regulation strategies throughout the day, and how to be a better observer of yourself and other’s nervous system by viewing Your Best Self Online Course.
Where can I learn more about the program?
The Alert Program® has several books, songs, and games. Click here to learn more. Also, we suggest you browse the Free Resources in our footer. You’ll find articles, radio interviews, and other website links. If you would like to print our one page handout (available in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish), click here.
You can take our full Alert Program® Online Course, where you can learn all you’ll need to know to easily implement the program in your setting. Or, you might want to start with our shorter Your Best Self Online Course where you’ll learn how to better observe and support yourself and others at home, at work, and in all your relationships.
How do I help my students attend and be focused in my classroom?
The Alert Program® online course has received rave reviews from teachers and administrators who feel empowered to implement self-regulation strategies in their classrooms, schools, or school districts. Learn how implementing a few self-regulation ideas into your lesson plans can yield positive results, in a relatively short amount of time! See our Alert Program® Online Course.
I’m totally new to the Alert Program®. Where should I begin?
Many folks who are new to the Alert Program® like to start with our Your Best Self Online Course to get the flavor and scope of the power of self-regulation strategies. Or you may want to begin by reading some of the articles in our Blog or listening to a radio show interview in our Free Resources. Browse our products to learn more about our Alert Program® books, songs, and games. Click here to read a brief summary of our Alert Program® materials.
And here’s a quick overview to help you get started:
If the child is verbal…
and if the child understands the abstract concept of an engine (and you would like to implement the whole program), then we would suggest using the activities in the Leader’s Guide to teach the child how to:
- Identify alert levels (Stage One)
- Explore methods to change alert levels (Stage Two)
- Learn to regulate alert levels (Stage Three)
One of the fastest ways to teach about self-regulation is explained in the Test Drive! (book and digital songs). Also, the Alert Program® games, Alert: Go Fish!, Alert Bingo, and Keeping on Track Board Game can be used to reinforce the self-regulation concepts. Our games correlate with the three stages of the Leader’s Guide.
If the child is not yet verbal…
and if the child will not understand the abstract concept of an engine, then we’d suggest the Take Five! book, that offers lots of practical, low-budget activities that support self-regulation. This is a great place to start, especially for those who will not be teaching the engine analogy but want self-regulation activities for home and school.
The Alert Program® Digital Songs are great for children who are not yet using words to communicate. These songs do not have the word “engine” in them but they are coded to indicate which songs are calming and which ones are alerting. These are effective songs to use with all types learning styles (abstract or concrete thinkers) since the music will help children to self-regulate whether or not they can identify their own levels of alertness.
We are happy to support you to find ways to help your students. You may have more questions and we’ve got answers! Click here to learn more about the Alert Program®.