Self Regulation

Self regulation

Self regulation refers to the “ability to attain, maintain, and change arousal (state of the nervous system relating to level of ‘alertness’) appropriately for a task or situation.

Difficulties with self-regulation results primarily presents in two forms:

  1. High alertness - individual may be seen as ‘hyper’, finds it difficult to settle in class etc.

  2. Low alertness - individual may be seen as ‘lazy’, appears lethargic and has difficulty engaging with school work

Unsurprisingly, this can have significant impacts upon a child’s ability to complete and enjoy everyday living tasks such as going to school and play. Therapists at EarlyLinks utilise the principles of the ALERT program as part of their intervention for children with self-regulation challenges. Recent research by Gill, Thompson & Rasumussen in 2018, note strong evidence for use of this program in helping children address self-regulation difficulties.

Further information:



Williams, M. S., & Shellenberger, S. (1996). An introduction to "how does your engine run?": The alert program for self-regulation (Rev. ed.). Albuquerque, NM: TherapyWorks, Inc.

Gill, K., Thompson-Hodgetts, S., & Rasmussen, C. (2018). A critical review of research on the alert program. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 11(2), 212-228. doi:10.1080/19411243.2018.1432445