How Does Your Engine Run?

“How Does Your Engine Run” is an alert program for self-regulation.

What is it?
This program consists of lessons and fun activities that help children (and adults) learn to recognize, monitor and change their level of alertness appropriate to a given situation.  One measures the success of the program with increased success in school and home life. It should also show decreased incidences of emotional outbursts and out-of-control behavior.

The ability to regulate one’s level of arousal so that it is not too “high” or too “low.” Arousal can be described as a state of the nervous system describing how alert one feels. In order to attend, concentrate, and perform tasks, one’s nervous system must be in an optimal alert state.

This program is designed to teach self-awareness, confidence, and self-esteem through learning to notice one’s own level of alertness (“Engine”). Sensory-motor techniques, and their applications, are taught which allow an individual to self regulate their “engine” during daily activities.

Who can benefit from this program?
This program is suited to the child with attention difficulties or learning disabilities; including those with ADHD, Sensory Integration, Asperger’s, and high functioning autism. The best age group to introduce this program is 7-11 year olds. However, we have introduced a new program geared towards children as young as 4. 

What type of setting is needed to run the program?
A clinician in any quiet setting can teach this program.  It can be used to address an individual child’s needs and it can also be tailored to focus on small group of 4-6 children.

What are the typical treatment techniques?
One can use overlays, worksheets, collages, movement activities with stop action, and home program activities for parent and child.

Is there any literature?
“The Out of Sync Child” & “The Out of Sync Child Has Fun” by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A. is a great resource.

 “How Does Your Engine Run?”, the Alert Program for Self Regulation by Mary Sue Williams and Sherry Shellenberger

 You can purchase other resources on this  subject from Therapro.  Therapro is an excellent local (Framingham, MA) resource for families and professionals seeking sensory integration resources for fine motor, gross motor, strengthening, publications etc.  Their website is

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