S.M.A.R.T. Model

The S.M.A.R.T. (Sensory regulation, Motor skills, Academic skills, Recreational activities, and Technology) Model is an enrichment program developed by It's a Sensory World! Program directors Angela Stephens and  Priya Patel. This exciting new program maximizes a child's potential by ensuring that overall developmental goals are met through the S.M.A.R.T. sequence.

For some children with language, communication, and processing disorders, academic learning can be quite stressful and difficult. S.M.A.R.T. classes and tutoring intend to find the individualized curriculum that most appropriately suits their needs. The philosophy behind the model that ensures that our students are ready to learn is simple.

Sensory Regulation: When a child has proper sensory input prior to and during the learning process, their nervous system is better equipped to receive incoming information, process sensory stimuli, and block out irrelevant information, giving them the ability to attend to learning tasks. When a child's sensory system is "regulated," improvements will be seen within the areas of attention to task, transitions, focus, emotional responses and behavior. They will also be able to tolerate the stimulation that comes with recreational activities better. http://www.pediatricdevelopmentcenter.com/sp_SensoryProcessing.asp

Motor Skills: Extensively researched and an important piece of our S.M.A.R.T. Model, Sensory Motor Development is all about improving a child's sensory, large (gross motor) and fine motor skills, and in turn, their academic skills. When motor skills are more developed, they are also able to engage in physical play more successfully. Ability to imitate and sequence large motor movement is necessary before a child can imitate speech and do basic academic and self-care skills like pointing to objects, holding a crayon or feeding self with a spoon.

Academics: The S.M.A.R.T. Model intends to meet children at their individual developmental level, be it early cognitive concepts or grade level academic work. Some students might be in the process of building an important foundation of early academic skills, while others may require help to fill the gaps in areas where they have some splinter skills. Cognitive concepts learnt via academics are essential for building advanced language skills and to prepare the children for future classroom settings.

Recreation: Recreational activities are meant to be fun, care free, and enjoyable. However, for many children, recreational activities such as recess, birthday parties, play dates, sports, or even summer camps can be a stressful, sometimes terrifying experience. We intend to give children the opportunity to build confidence in recreational and social activities with peers, through teaching them the art of play.

Technology: Many of our students are digital learners. They may find it easy to learn new information on a tablet or computer. For some students, this new tablet technology has given them new ways to communicate to teachers and parents how much they DO know! A way of taking in information and a tool to respond, tablets have given many a voice.

At our center, we plan to help our students use these technological tools as a pathway to greater learning. We may use apps and games to introduce or carry-over new concepts and to encourage children to engage in an activity. Most importantly, we use it as a means of communication for our non-verbal children, so they may engage in group activities and express their needs appropriately and without frustration. Currently, we use proloqo2go, an app for the iPad to assist with academic instruction, and the SVO Power curriculum developed by Dr. Julie Ray. Please visit www.thespeechlife.com for more information on SVO Power.

Often, when young children with special needs are enrolled in a pre-school program, there is a noticeable difference to their ability to cope with the expectations and demands of a pre-school program. This can frequently lead to isolation from a group, inability to communicate, lack of attending during circle time and other teacher-directed activities, frustration and behavior.