Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

December 15, 2014

How Does Your Engine Run?- Just Right Speed


The Williams and Shellenberger Engine Program describes 3 different engine speeds: High, Just Right and Low.

The Just Right engine speed is the goal. 

Below are some activities a child can do to change their engine speeds to the Just Right alertness level from either high or low levels. Some activities can be used for both but the intensity and amount may vary.


Going from High to Just Right:

• Heavy work- pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying heavy objects

• Providing deep pressure- steam rolling- rolling over child’s body with foam bolsters or therapy balls, “squishing” child’s body between with pillows, blankets, etc; bear hugs

• Wearing a weighted vest

• Calming music while doing activities

• Slow rhythmic swinging

• Dim lights, calm music

• Obstacle course including heavy work tasks, propelling self on scooter board, going through tunnels

‚Ä¢ Eating crunchy and/or chewy foods

• Petting a soft animal

• Playing in a ball pit (providing child with deep pressure)

• Wheelbarrow walking

• Yoga

• Brushing

• Jumping on trampoline at a steady pace


Going from Low to Just Right:

• Animal walks- Examples:

• Slither on the ground like a snake

• Jump up and down like a kangaroo or rabbit

‚Ä¢ Run in place as fast as you can like a cheetah

• Crouch down and jump up like a frog

• Flap arms like a bird

• Keep both arms down stiff at your sides and waddle like a penguin

• Walk like a crab

• Run like a bear

• Playing follow the leader game- have them jump up and down, walk backwards, spin in circles, hop on one foot, etc

• Clapping game:

• Clap your hands

• Then clap fast, faster, fastest

• Then clap slow, slower, slowest

• Then clap high, high and fast, high and slow

• Then clap low, low and fast, low and slow

• Obstacle course- slides, jumping, fast swinging

• Jumping on trampoline to fast music

• Red light/Green light game, Simon Says game, Hot potato game

• Variety of swings in fast motions, changing from back and forth, side to side, & circular

• Knocking/kicking down bolsters

• Crunchy foods

• Jumping jacks, running in place

The website,, offers more information. 

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