My child, in his preschool special-ed class uses the engine self-regulation scale to talk about whether his body is running too fast, too slow or just right. Children of all ages can relate to cars and know at a relatively early age what fast, slow and just right are. Recently, his teacher sent this program home with him, and a cute tool to let him express how he thinks his engine is running. I would like to share this program with you as I think it has been particularly helpful. The following suggestions are ways to become aware of and implement or reinforce this program at home.
- Engine vocabulary is a great way to focus on the positive versus the negative. For example, a frustrated mother could say calmly to her child who appears hyperactive, “Your heart is beating very fast and you are breathing very fast. We have to slow them down, how about we go jump on the trampoline” versus “you’re not listening” or “you’re not paying attention”.
- Be a detective at home. Observe what sensorimotor strategies are helpful to your child then set up opportunities for your child to engage in this strategy and reinforce the outcome.
- Be aware that a child’s need for a sensory input can be misinterpreted as bad behavior.
- Monitor your childs behavior during the day and offer frequent periods of movement after times of concentration or when your child’s engine is running too fast or too slow.
- Continue to model the engine vocabulary in front of your child.
- You may notice that the time of day affects your child’s engine.
- Before teaching any skill, ask yourself “Is my child in a good place to learn right now”
Using a chart like this is helpful in helping your child identify if their engine is running too fast, too slow or just right.
This program was brought to me by my sons in-classroom therapist and I have to say, it works a lot of the time. When my son is all worked up and angry, sometimes he needs to come down a bit before we can talk about his engine, but if he’s just getting silly and excited to excess, this usually works pretty well, Give it a shot some time and let me know if you have any questions about how it works!