Implementing the Alert Program(R) into a Kindergarten curriculum using the Response to Intervention (RtI) Method

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rebecca J. Buchanan (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Carol Lust

Abstract: Young children with sensory processing issues in the classroom can experience a feeling of disconnect in receiving sensory stimuli with which the child parent and teacher may not understand nor be able to cope. Such an issue could hinder early educational success. A joint research study between East Carolina University's Department of Occupation Therapy and The Oakwood School determined if children's sensory processing abilities could be enhanced to better attend and thereby improve academic and social functioning in the kindergarten classroom. Researchers implemented the Alert Program® for Self-Regulation by following tier one and tier two of the Response to Intervention model in two kindergarten classrooms. The Alert Program® was developed by two occupational therapists and is based on A. Jean Ayres sensory integration approach. The study was implemented for six months using weekly small group activities and daily center time activities. The study answered the following research questions: 1) will kindergarteners demonstrate improved function in the academic and social function in a kindergarten classroom than the control group kindergarteners who did not receive the RtI model with the Alert Program® for Self-Regulation as assessed by the School Function Assessment; and 2) will kindergarten students improve more in their ability to regulate their arousal state when shown how to use age appropriate Alert Program® for Self-Regulation activities and strategies than the control group as assessed by the Sensory Profile- Short Form and the Sensory Processing Measure - Home and Classroom Forms. A two group non-randomized controlled trial using a pre-test post-test design was used between kindergarten classes from two different schools. Scores were compared between the experimental and control groups using the three afore mentioned assessments. Statistical analysis demonstrated significant changes within the SFA-Part III Activity Performance Cognitive /Behavioral Tasks. The experimental group significantly improved in five of the nine areas and the control group had only one significant change that reflected a significant negative change in the post-test mean score. For the SPM-Classroom Form scores both the experimental and the control group made significant improvements in over half of the eight areas assessed. The SPM-Home Form indicated significant findings in three of the eight areas for the control group and one of the eight areas for the experimental group. The Sensory Profile - Short Form was used only by the experimental group and indicated significant changes in two of its eight areas. This study supports the fact that the Alert Program® can be used successfully within a kindergarten classroom to change classroom behaviors and increase appropriate arousal states. This study lays the foundation for further research in ways to regulate young students' levels of arousal for learning and basic functioning in the academic and social aspects of a classroom. 

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Date: 2011

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